What is Shakti and how ‘she’ changed my life?

Shakti

‘Shakti’ and ‘Kundalini’ are words from the ancient Sanskrit language, yet they’re being used more and more today in our Western culture. Perhaps you’ve heard me using these terms a lot in my classes, bodywork and women’s gatherings. So why’s this ? In this post I will share a little about what it means to me and, for the first time, tell the story about how this energy spontaneously awoke in me and changed my life.

Like all Sanskrit words, a simple word is packed with so much more meaning. This is a huge field of science and mysticism, so I will just be touching on the surface.

What is Shakti?

‘Shakti’ can be translated as “power”. It describes the dynamic and creative power, or intelligence, of life. We might refer to it also as  “life-force energy”.

Yep, it’s the subtle, non-visible stuff, that you and I are made of.

It’s the feeling you have when you are truly in pure ‘flow’. It’s the energy that moves you when you dance, sing, paint, and express yourself but it feels like something else, greater than you, is moving you.

Shakti can flow through your body in ecstatic orgasmic waves of bliss and it can shake you to the very core of your being. It is pure raw energy in motion (emotion).

Shakti is the intelligent web of life connecting all things, and the field by which everything is made manifest. It is an unstoppable, primal force, abundant, free, and spontaneous.

It is your big YES! to life.

I referred to Shakti as ‘she’ in the title. This is because in Tantra and Hinduism (Shaktism), Shakti is considered feminine, and referred to as ‘Goddess’, of which she has a many manifestations.

All ancient cultures and traditions revere one or more Mother or Earth ‘Goddess’ with their own names, such as Pachamama in South America, Isis in ancient Egypt, and Anu in Celtic Ireland.

That which is conscious or aware of Shakti is considered masculine energy (Shiva).

This is not the same as man and woman. We all have and need both energies within us to function and awaken fully. Shakti without Shiva is life force with no direction, i.e. chaos, and Shiva without Shakti is thoughts without ability to manifest, i.e. all heady.

Kundalini Shakti and sexual energy

‘Kundalini’ is Shakti energy, said to be coiled like a snake at the base of your spine, and lying dormant until it is awakened. This is not something you can or should force to happen, although you can support your body to release tension and open the channels for subtle energy to move.

As it uncoils inside you, Kundalini rises up from the pelvis, through a subtle nerve or channel in the spine, awakening and releasing energy at the main energy centres or chakras, until it reaches and opens the crown of the head.

Shakti is, by its nature, sexual energy since life itself is sexual.

It is procreative evolutionary energy rising up from the sexual centre of your body to awaken and transform your consciousness.

Without the sexual or life-force energy you easily feel depleted, burnt-out, depressed, and lacking interest in life.

From my personal experience, so, I believe understanding and awakening Shakti is critical to our health, vitality and happiness.

My first experience of Kundalini Shakti

I remember it so clearly. In June 2013, at the time of the summer solstice, I was sitting in a large circle at a shamanic gathering at Dunderry Park in Ireland. We were holding hands, preparing our intentions for a sacred fire-walking ceremony.

Suddenly my body started to jolt, as if I was holding an electric fence and getting electric currents shooting up my body. It was crazy! It wasn’t painful but it was a bit scary as it was completely out of my control and came on so suddenly. We weren’t doing any breathing or energy activation practice.

I put my hands on the ground to stay connected to the Earth and tried to breathe deeply as these jolts continued. The facilitator, Martin Duffy, came to support and reassure me with hands on my feet and head. Once I understood what was going on, I must admit, I thought it was kind of cool!!

The powerful experience lasted a few minutes but the energy kept on jolting me every so often for hours. In fact for the next few months these involuntary jolts kept coming. Sometimes at night in bed. Sometimes just little shock waves during the day.

How Shakti’s fire woke me up

A couple of months later I was sitting again in a Circle, or an amplified energy field, at my first Heart IQ Accelerated Awakening Retreat with Christian Pankhurst. Here ‘she’ activated with super strength. For no apparent reason, my body suddenly started jolting back and forward strongly. I started crying and gasping for breath, holding on to the earth for support. I had no story or thoughts related to my tears but something wanted to move in me.

With the support of Christian sitting behind me this time, arms tightly around my belly, and pressing into my belly, I finally let out the most powerful screams, cries and roars of my life. Sounds I had never heard before. Emotions and power I had never felt in my body before. Full power to the core of my being.

It was like I was connected to the primal raw force of life itself, to the grief of all of humanity. These were labour pains that were awakening me, rebirthing me, to what it means to be fully alive in a woman’s body, in a human body.

And then suddenly it stopped. There was a profound sense of stillness.

35 people were in the circle with me. No-one moved. We’d all felt it. Every sense in my body was heightened. I felt like I had super powers and that every cell in my body was expanding with life-force. I was wide open and solidly connected down into the earth and up to the sky.

My eyes were wide open. I never blinked. I took a long time to look at every person in the eyes, as if I needed to transmit something to them. I was seeing their Souls. In that moment I met my brothers and sisters from a whole different level.

I would never see people in the same way again.

So what changed?

Well, everything really. Experiencing Shakti changed my life as it changed my experience of myself and of others, and well, of life itself really. I had an insight to super powers!

I was given another perspective on humanity. I FELT it. I had never before felt so alive in my body, as if I was inhabiting it more fully, and more than my body at the same time.

I could see something different in people, something deeper, something far beyond their superficial personality or conditioning. I felt a profound connection. There was no more fear or ego or separation needed to protect myself.

I felt incredibly loving, wise and beyond all notion of time or space.

I now had a physical, embodied memory of a much greater potential. (Please read this sentence again!)

This is key. Your potential is limitless!

It is not knowing something in your head, reading it in a book or being told it by someone else, that your life transforms. It is a personal embodied experience that transforms you. I will add to that the importance of being witnessed by others there too, as key to anchoring and integrating.

I also now had an embodied experience of life-force energy.

The potential of life and life-force energy is limitless. In my process of recovering from burn-out and chronic fatigue, this was to prove crucial since I learned that we can tap into the life-force of the universe and flow in her natural waves.

To be continued

So, this little story was only the very beginning. I have continued ever since to educate myself, explore and in fact dedicate my life to this intelligence, and experience so much more in my body.

I have since then helped my body release tension and open up to allow this energy flow more freely and fluidly through me, so that it feels more blissful. I have learnt how to activate it and refine the gates.

It is a life-time project for me to truly dance with Shakti and master my energy body, and it is my absolute passion to share her wisdom with others. I would have loved to have known more and understood better what was happening for me at the time.

I believe that awakening Shakti is vital to healing and transforming the individual, the collective and our relationship to the Earth.

So, yes, I have so much more to say about this, but I’ll have to keep it for future posts……

I’d love to hear from you. Please do share your comments, questions and your own experiences.

 

 

Why yoga might transform your life

I often say it. We hear about it and read about it. Yoga can transform your life! But how can a bunch of odd looking poses, breathing and relaxation techniques have such an impact? 

Two key points to recognize here before I say more:

  1. We are each born with a certain genetic disposition that affects our health – nothing we can do about that.
  2. We have no control over other people, their actions and reactions, nor any other external factor or past event.

These seem obvious but if you think about it for a moment you might be surprised how often you ‘suffer’ and complain that your life is not what you want because of these!

So if we can’t change or control these aspects, then all that remains is ourselves. Very important caveat at this point:

Transforming your life ≠ changing you!!

I would like to suggest that transforming your life is a process by which you take control and power over your own life and move toward your joy and optimum wellness. 

source: Rgbstock

source: Rgbstock

We do have  full control over what we do, say and think and how we interact with others and with life in general. The challenge, however, is that our way of being, thinking and doing is influenced by our ‘conditioning’. Yogic wisdom refers to this as ‘samskāra’.

Unconscious patterns of behaviour

When we are born we function instinctively, with no judgement or barriers. Quickly though our actions and reactions start to get programmed into the body and brain. Based on our experiences and what we are taught or learn from watching and imitating, our actions, reactions and interpretations of the world start to become more reflexive and engrained. We start to walk, talk and act like our parents!! As we move through life we continue to be conditioned by neuromuscular organization (i.e. repetitive movement programmed into brain and body) and socialization (i.e. what is considered the norm in our community or society). When we experience emotions or pain the support we receive to deal with these at the time will affect how we deal with them in the future.

The characteristic of this conditioning or samskāra is that it is unconscious or reflexive. Our ways of doing, being and seeing the world become our own norms and we don’t even realize that they are not necessarily the same for someone else, perhaps not serving us best and that we have the choice! There may be other ways or perspectives.

If this conditioning is not optimal for our well-being but is unconscious, we may be confused as to why we are ‘suffering’ and cannot bring about the changes we desire in our lives. Perhaps you have the reflexive reaction to watch tv to numb out thoughts and feelings when things get difficult. Maybe you find yourself again and again in relationships that are abusive, thinking nobody likes you when you get rejected, or constantly pushing yourself to exhaustion (hmmm, that one is familiar to me!)

How to break the conditioning?

This is where I can come back to the role of Yoga!

Yoga asanas give us the opportunity to feel more. Georgina Peard by GDavila (c)

Yoga asanas give us the opportunity to feel more. Georgina Peard by GDavila (c)

There is nothing static in life. Change is constant. If we become aware of our conditioning we can choose to break the habits or patterns that no longer serve us and replace them with patterns that bring us joy and wellness. As Gary Kraftsow, one of America’s foremost yoga therapists and author of Yoga for Wellness, says “this liberation for the effects of conditioning, on all levels, is the purpose of Yoga”.

In our daily lives most of our attention is turned outward. So only when we start to look inward and develop our self-awareness can we notice the patterns. This is key to transforming your life!

It is not enough to simply think about our conditioning. Since so much is programmed and engrained in our neuromuscular structure, there is a need to embody the transformation.

Again in Gary’s words, “Āsana practice was developed as a means of purifying and restructuring the body, bringing to it the qualities of stability, strength, flexibility, stillness and a sense of clarity and well-being. It does this by introducing some non-mechanical elements into our daily life, through which we free ourselves from conditioning and effect positive change”.

So the process of transformation starts here, and the practice of yoga can only be truly transformational, I believe, if there is a primary focus on interiorizing our attention and exploring the body with a sense of curiosity.

In future posts and in my yoga classes I will continue to explore this topic and ways to practice to become more aware. In the meantime, I’d love to hear in what ways yoga has transformed your life.

Be Bright,

Georgina

The Practice of Surrender

The more I try to plan out my life, the more I find myself worrying and getting stressed. The more I let go, open up and listen, the more I find the right path and resources revealing themselves to me.

It is really nerve-racking, though, learning to trust in life. Giving up on trying to control and manipulate, as Donna Farhi says, “is like being suspended in the air between one trapeze bar and another”. What if…..?

trapeze-artist-photo-isp

But as I let go I feel my body soften. I feel the tension in my head release. I feel my heart open. I actually feel more alive, suspended between those two trapeze bars; more exposed and vulnerable too, but ready to reach out for the next opportunity that reveals itself. In that space I am connected to both my fears and my heart’s desires. I am also connected to a deeper wisdom, an innate intelligence. This allows me to consciously act, react and choose what feels authentic and right to me, rather than be driven by others and forces outside of myself.

This is the practice of ishvarapranidhana – surrendering to a higher force – the last of the ten principles for living happy. It requires going beyond the ‘me’, ‘my’, ‘I’ and all the personal drama, to seeing the bigger picture. It is recognition that there is some stronger universal force, bigger than me, guiding my life in some way. Why? Perhaps so that we can evolve.

As we open to this practice, suddenly, coincidences, accidents, experiences and changing circumstances start to become interesting learning opportunities and life becomes more of an adventure than a struggle!! We start to tap into our intuition and gut instincts and experience greater meaning in daily life.

I find that ishvarapranidhana is a potent antidote to mental agitation, anxiety, stress and feelings of confusion, being stuck or lost. So how can we learn to bring it into our lives? Here’s a few simple ideas.

Pause to notice 

When we stop being completely tied up with our own lives and open our senses to what’s going on around us, we become present. We notice that everything is interconnected, that life is in constant movement and that we don’t actually know or control everything. Our personal drama begins to fade in significance and we start to open up to life. Every day, as often as you can, gift yourself with moments to press  <pause> and notice. Breathe, feel, listen, smell, see, taste and notice what it means to be alive at that moment. What a shame it would be to miss it !

Spend time in nature

Nothing is better at teaching us to see the bigger picture and to surrender than nature. Indeed she reminds us regularly of her power! We quickly pale into insignificance as we stand by the ocean, on a mountain top or facing a storm. In nature there is wisdom. In nature we reconnect to our deeper selves. Take time regularly to be in nature without doing anything; to listen to nature without expecting anything, and to let nature be your teacher.

Practice corpse pose – savasana

One of yoga’s most difficult poses. The more you practice this pose, the more your life will change for the better!! It involves lying on the ground and surrendering completely to the moment. It helps if you are warm and comfortable, supported by some cushions and blankets, and in a quiet, dark space (although with practice you can learn to let go no matter what the noise around you). Let your feet relax outwards and your arms open away from the body. For 9 breaths make your exhale longer than your inhale and repeat to yourself internally “surrender”. Then release the breath and feel your body and mind letting go completely. Surrender all control. Stay here for about 20 minutes.  Enjoy !

Don’t fight it !

Next time you feel that something you are doing is a real struggle, or you feel stressed, indecisive, tired or resistant, try letting go a little rather than forcing through! Step back a while and take a breath. Maybe there is another way? Maybe this isn’t right for you just now? Maybe tomorrow will reveal a new option? Maybe you could reach out for support? You might just be pleasantly surprised by how it feels and what happens next.

With a little bit of experimentation I am discovering that life doesn’t have to be hard work !!

What do you think? What helps you surrender? In what ways has it helped you? Any nice surprises?

Other related posts: Letting go to reveal your happiness

Seeing Clearly Through Self-Study

We each see and interpret the world through our own eyes and limited personal experiences. Each day we write, act in, direct, produce, watch and critique our own movie of every day life. So how can we know if we are right? And if I am right, does that mean you are wrong? 

Mantra Meditation

Svadhyaya in sanskrit means ‘to see the self clearly’ through the practice of ‘self-study’. It is one of Patanjali’s niyamas and, what I am calling, the ten principles for living happy.
While I accept that overdosing on ‘navel-gazing’ can cause you to miss the bigger picture, I think that a little more self-awareness would go a long way toward more peace and tolerance in the world!!!

Learn from life experiences

I really like the idea that our soul is guided toward that which will illuminate it. In other words, we are given or we seek out, often sub-consciously, opportunities to grow and evolve. Everything happens for a reason!! I like this because it helps me soften into life, open up and find meaning, even through the hard times.
These opportunities come through relationships, intimate or not, professional situations, our health or decisions in life, for instance. We may continue to find ourselves in similar situations and repetitive patterns until they have served their purpose and we have taken the opportunity to grow. These experiences are not necessarily good or bad. Granted, they may be more or less challenging. But it is only us that attach a label of good or bad, fair or unfair, right or wrong. Pain may not be avoided, but suffering is a choice!

Watch out for angels in disguise

A former boss of mine, at one time seemed to be the cause of my suffering. I was on the verge of burn-out, unable to complete a days work, physically and emotionally exhausted, lacking self-worth and unable to see beyond the burden of this relationship, as if he held the key to my happiness. In my desperation something shifted in me. It may have taken a long, hard 18 months to see it but when I finally got the message I recognized that this man was actually a gift and a teacher. He allowed me to become aware of and break a negative pattern that had been a driving force in my life for more than 30 years. From one day to the next our relationship changed, because I had changed. I’m not sure though he really understood me when I told him one day that he was my spiritual teacher!!!

Have the courage to resist nothing

The concept of Svadhyaya encourages us to observe ourselves as we go through everyday life. Rather than ignore our faults, hide our weaknesses behind a mask, or engage in self-loathing, we need a lot of compassion to acknowledge and even welcome them. It takes courage to stand still to receive critique, admit when wrong or face difficult situations. But as we learn to stick to the process and let go of resistance,  we may find that these challenging times provide the greatest opportunity to evolve.

Spread compassion through self-compassion

By offering yourself compassion and understanding in the first place, you are effectively training yourself to offer that same attitude when faced with faults or weaknesses in others. And here, I believe, is the potential for greater harmony and tolerance in society. It all begins within the Self!!

The Serenity Prayer provides a beautiful mantra:

 “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Step up to  fulfill your potential

Self-study is not just about self critique!! It is just as much about pushing the boundaries of your self-limitations. In life we may be drawn to fulfill our potential through sport, art, creative writing, cooking, music, science or medicine for example, or as a teacher, leader, volunteer or parent. Every individual has a different, unique way and unique purpose. Not everyone though dares to explore all they can be!

Learn from others

Interestingly, I think we can learn a lot about the Self through interaction with others. The greatest test of personal growth can be spending time with your parents and family!! When a friend makes a sharp personal comment or a neighbor vexes you, right there, in the fire of your reaction, you are faced with an opportunity to become aware and grow. You may choose a habitual and unconscious way to react or you may catch an insight into your fears, complexes and judgements. Mindful sharing, listening, reading, following various therapies and learning with teachers or trainers are also hugely valuable contributions to an ongoing process of self-study and evolution. There is so much to learn from those who have gone before us, as well as those who are experiencing life as newcomers!

Overall, I think an open, mindful and compassionate self-study goes a long way in helping us to see more clearly to find what is important, to see others beyond their facades and to make peace with life’s ups and downs.

Happy studying my friends…

3 Ways to Improve Self-Discipline

I believe that you can only truly be free if you incorporate discipline into your life. 

Discipline is a concept that often makes us shudder. It tends to be linked to coercion, childhood, schooling and prison. The opposite to freedom in any case !

But discipline is actually about making choices for yourself that « nourish your well-being and provide opportunities for expansive growth » (Donna Farhi)

‘Tapas’ is one of yoga’s ten principles for living happy. It refers to discipline, perseverance and drive. Donna Farhi likes to call it « burning enthusiasm ». More than something that coerces you into a certain monotonous rhythm, tapas is about focusing and channelling your energy toward that which is good for you, toward what you want.

with-self-discipline-most-anything-is-possible

 What we discipline is not our bad side, but our desire to escape from reality, whether that be by numbing the mind aimlessly watching television ;  spending more money in an attempt to feel more beautiful ; procrastinating and dreaming of a different reality ; gossiping and blaming rather than taking responsibility…

Why do we self-sabotage when we could be great ? Are you ready to be GREAT ?

We can do anything when we put our minds to it, when we want it bad enough ! How else can people heal themselves against all the odds ? Check out Arthur’s inspirational story.

3 ways to improve self-discipline

Want to improve your ability to choose what is good for you and stick to it ? Try these.

1. Know why you are doing it

As Paolo Coelho says in Valkyries, « We do not need to know ‘how’ or ‘where’, but there is one question that we should all ask whenever we start anything : « What am I doing this for ? ».   Now this can be the most challenging but it is indeed the most transformational. If you have a really good reason to do something you will have no problem doing it. You’ll probably do it well, with pride and with pleasure. You may suddenly feel alone and afraid, but if you remind yourself of your intention you will find the courage to move forward.

In the wise words of Mr. Robbie Williams in Candy …”if it don’t feel good, what are you doin’ it for?”

 

2. Surround yourself with inspiring people

Don’t hang around in places or with people who keep saying no and pulling you down. It really helps to spend time with people who have drive and motivation; the people who know what they want. Joy, determination and enthusiasm are quite contagious actually!! I also really like watching motivating TEDtalks like Brené Brown’s on “The Power of Vulnerability”  or inspirational movies like The Peaceful Warrior, and reading books that give you the desire to get out there and be all that you can be, e.g. John Wood’s “Leaving Microsoft to Change the World.

 

3. Adopt a sense of humour and a good dose of compassion

As you develop your awareness you will start to recognize the strategies you use to escape reality and sabotage yourself. These might include, I’m sick, i can’t its too difficult, I’m in pain, I don’t have time, I have to look after the family, poor me, I’m a victim, I’m not good enough, it won’t make a difference anyway, it’s their fault not mine… You really have to laugh when you catch yourself making all sorts of child-like excuses to run the other way from taking responsibility for your life and your happiness. When you catch yourself having missed an opportunity and succumbed to the self-saboteur, then rather than starting a cycle of self-flagellation, offer yourself a lot of love and patience and vow to not miss the next opportunity to focus on what you really want and is good for you.

« A warrior does not give up what he loves.

He finds the love in what he does. »

from the movie The Peaceful Warrior

Contentment

Is it possible to always be content in life no matter what the situation? 

This is the 6th of ten principles for living happy. Ancient yogis advise that ‘Santosha’ or contentment is a foundation to our freedom, to our happiness.

Contentment is not the same as happiness. It is not the same either as complacency. Contentment rather is to be totally present in a situation, any situation, and not feel the constant pull of your desires and expectations for that moment to be different.

I think it helps to develop patience, gratitude and our ability to share with others.

Patience

To be content does not mean to give up on what you want, accept unhealthy relationships or working conditions or tolerate violence. It does challenge us, however, to be patient, present and open within every experience so that we can grow, evolve and then take steps to better our circumstances.

  • Tip! Next time you find yourself in a challenging or uncomfortable situation, notice how you react. Is there: resistance? fear? doubt? blame? anger? victimhood? running away? giving up? or a readiness to pause, take a few deep breaths, connect with yourself, acknowledge the feelings, and find ways to stay true and authentic in yourself? Perhaps by softening you can find beauty and learning in the situation. Perhaps you can act with patience and ease, taking steps to gradually move toward what is right for you.

patience- everything happens for a reason

Gratitude

Santosha also means to be grateful for what we have and to notice what is real NOW.

We spend so much of our time living out complete soap operas in our minds linked to the past and the future. We relive events and we imagine experiences including all the related emotions and body tension. It is no wonder that so many of us end up with tense muscles in our backs despite not related to any physical exercise!!

  • Tip! Write a list of what you are grateful for. As you step out into your day, bring your awareness into the NOW. Notice what you can see, feel, smell and sense around you in nature and in other people without a layer of personal judgement or analysis. Before you go to bed, remind yourself of at least 3 things you are grateful for from your day. Sweet dreams!

Sharing the moment

How heart-warming it is to share in someone else’s happiness or success, to laugh out loud with a friend, to cry for joy at the birth of a child or amazing human feats? I can’t help but cry at airport arrivals and train stations as I see total strangers greet loved ones. I must admit I tend to cry even for some very cleverly emotion-wrenching tv adverts!

I think it can be beautiful though to share with others the emotions of deeply tragic moments and inspirational human stories. I love sharing the depth of the emotion with others. It makes me feel human, connected and alive. It allows me to get a sense of a deep sense of contentment in life despite all its challenges.

Here’s a beautiful story that moves me to tears every time. Have the tissues at the ready!

Emmanuel Kelly story & X Factor audition

What are your favourite clips and stories that make you laugh and cry and feel alive??

5 Ways to Detox Daily and Live More Vividly

In my series of posts on the ten principles for living happy kindly passed on to us by some pretty smart ancient Yogis, we move now to the Niyamas. These are principles for living authentically and relate to making choices in our lives.

The first, Saucha, means ‘that and nothing else’, most often translated as ‘purity’. This word tends to be a bit of a giggle for most of us, making us imagine white, angelic, virgin innocence and pureness, otherwise known as ‘boring’!! But don’t close the page yet because there is something interesting in this that does not require giving up everything fun in your life.

I think this is about being conscious of how you are being affected each day, and over time, by what you eat, the environment(s) you are in, what you think and say, what you hear and see, and all sorts of other factors.

What factors influence your energy and attitude?

Most of us are faced with air, noise and visual pollution and a general overload of stimuli every day. We may not regularly experience the extreme sensory overload of Tokyo’s gaming arcades or Calcutta’s slums, but we still have the morning alarm, the multi-media advertising, the flashing lights, the music, the traffic, the smells, the machines, the announcements, the raised voices, other people’s moods, the toxins we don’t see or taste in the food, drink, clothes and products we consume, and worst of all, our own negative thoughts!

Every day our energy, health and outlook are influenced by all of these inputs, experiences and stimuli. We may feel tired and heavy, agitated or depressed, or vibrant and energized. In general, we do not feel like we have any control over these changing energies and how they make us think and act. We may be ignorant to their origins and grasping for inappropriate solutions. We may act confused, like victims, when we are stuck in negative patterns.

Choose what makes you feel good

I think the yogic principle “Saucha” suggests that we have potential to be masters of our own energy by choosing that which is essential and nothing else. We can do this when we become conscious of:

  1. the choices we make, and we start to choose what makes us feel good – where and how we work, what we eat, what we think and say, what environment we live in, who we spend time with, what we buy, etc., and
  2. how everyday living affects us, and we regularly shift stagnant or heavy energy, cleanse our body, and shake off negative patterns so that life continues to freely flow through us.

Live vividly

By choosing what’s truly good for you and cleaning up your act, you can live life more vividly. It’s like wiping clean your glasses so you can see out more clearly, or doing a big clean out at home so it feels fresh and you can find what is important to you. Donna Farhi suggests that Saucha is “a testament to the positive power of association.”

Be the Master of your Prana

So here are a few simple tips for detoxing and keeping the prana, or life-force energy, flowing every day! If you’re feeling bad after a day at work, don’t just slump in the couch and vegetate….

1.    Breathe – From my experience, and also proven through science, your breath is an incredibly powerful, and super cheap, way to influence your mood, with innumerable health benefits. In sanskrit yogic breathing techniques are called ‘pranayama’ which actually means the control of the life energy. There are many different techniques with different objectives, including to calm, stimulate, cleanse or balance. For a powerful and simple techniques, take 10 minutes every day to sit or lie still and breathe deeply through your nose, using your diaphragm (so expand your belly as you inhale), and make the inhale and exhale become even. Notice the effect after just 10 minutes.

 2.    Move – One of the main reasons for Yoga postures is to shift energy. If you are feeling heavy and lethargic, stiff and restricted, negative and depressed, get up and move the body, very slowly at first, in rhythm with your breath, and gradually build it up, to shift the stagnant energy. You may like to practice some sun salutations, a gentle back bend or just get outside for a power walk. If you are feeling agitated and frustrated, it may be good to do some vigorous exercise, focusing on endurance and not straining – sun salutations or a bike ride – and then gradually slow it down with long deep forward bends. Either way consciously explore the sensations in the body and move in a way that feels natural and good, visualizing the breath and balanced energy flooding the body. Notice how you feel after 20 – 30 minutes.

 3.    Rest – Its funny how we avoid this when we are feeling tired and depressed, as much as we do when we are feeling agitated and nervous. And yet this is the balancing antidote for both!!  Rest is not the same as sleep. It is not the same as watching tv or reading a book. It is a conscious choice to be still and let go, observing the body and mind relax for at least 20 minutes. Lie down in a comfortable, warm, quiet, dark space (or just cover your eyes) to give yourself the best rest. Watch your preoccupations and day gradually drift away.

 4.    Express – I believe that unexpressed emotions can be highly toxic and stay blocked in the body’s cellular memory. All emotions are valid and human. We have to choose how best to express them in a way that is authentic to us but does no harm. That might be verbally, in writing, song, music, or art. It may be going to the top of a mountain or deep into the forest and shouting, or pummeling your bed or a punch bag. It may be through tears, laughter or sound. It may be shared or alone. Let them out consciously so the energy can flow again and only then choose how to act next.

5.    Drink – Drink plenty of water to hydrate and flush toxins through your body. Green tea is another great health drink, full of antioxidants. I love to make fresh juices with local organic fruit and vegetables to help keep my digestive system happy and dealing with life’s daily toxins. My favourite ingredients for this are carrot, beetroot, celery, apple, lemon and ginger. Mix ‘em up as your taste buds fancy!!

You are the Master of your energy. You have the choice!

Live with your senses wide open!

Image Credit: Colorfully