wherethesunisalwayshining

sprinkling positivity

How yoga can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves

‘Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.’

A great quote. Yet for beginners, this may seem a bit confusing and mind boggling..

How on earth are you supposed to find out more about yourself through practising some postures and breathing?

Ever been to a yoga class determined to quieten the mind and be in a peaceful space.. then find the person practising next to you has really loud distracting breathing? You can’t really ask them to stop breathing so you have the choice of being agitated and annoyed for the next hour or to change your perspective and just accept it and let it be.

Similarly in life.. we may expect things to go in a certain way but then outside circumstances change it, we either accept them and adjust or we end up suffering and hurting because we resist and let our emotions get the better of us.

Being on the mat allows us to be. A time to come to the present moment, bring awareness to ourselves, watch the mind and listen to the body.

Attempting to be present in the now is something we all manage to do for only a short period of time before we get distracted.. let alone a 90minute class! By watching how present or how easily distracted we are on the mat, we can then see that this may reflect how present we are in the rest of our lives, spending time with loved ones but thinking of work? Spending time in work but thinking about what to cook for dinner? If this is the case then you may be present physically but not as you, this is how you let life slip by because you’re never really there if you’re not really present.

Being on the mat brings this new found awareness into your life.

Watching the mind can prove interesting in yoga, especially when you come to postures that appear difficult. The mind might say ‘I can’t do that’ before even trying. How many times does this then also reflect in your normal life? The mind might be too busy concentrating on how much more flexible your neighbours are compared to you leaving you feeling inferior ; could this also be true that you then spend a lot of time comparing your life with other peoples?

One of my favourite reasons I enjoy practising yoga or meditating is so I can see where my mind is at. Everyone’s state of mind changes from moment to moment depending on what’s happening. I can wake some mornings and be fully present and peaceful, other times my mind will be thinking of past, future, day dreaming and distracted and that then tells me that I need to put some extra work into achieving peace for myself and doing less.

It let’s you come to know yourself in a new way, listening and allowing you to help yourself.

How much do you listen to your body? Do you find that you will attempt the full posture instead of a variation because everyone else is doing that, even though your hamstrings might be yelling for you to stop pushing yourself. Or do you find that you could push yourself further into a posture but you like to relax and play it comfortable? Again, these things can all reflect in how you go about your daily life.

So.. Let the yoga mat be your place of learning, enter with an open-mind and child like curiosity. There is no need to judge any of these things that you may discover about yourself. Observation is simply watching, don’t take it too seriously and put a judgement of it being bad or good. See it as a game and say ‘thank you for that lesson, I can now be aware if I do something similar in daily life.’

‘Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are’

Namaste!

 

 

 

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Recognizing the power behind your thoughts

Recognizing how your thoughts create an impact on your life is essential for everyone, especially if you find yourself suffering from unhappiness, discontentment, depression, anxiety and stress.

All of which are the outcome of negative thought patterns.

The good news.. we can change our thought patterns into positive ones, creating a positive life!

Our thoughts create our reality..

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN, you may well ask.

THOUGHTS  =  EMOTION  =  SENSATION  =  ACTION/ IMPULSE/ BEHAVIOUR.

Let’s say for example,

The kid’s are fighting (scenario)

‘These kids never listen to me, I can’t cope with this right now’ (thought)

Overwhelming feeling of stress and anxiety. (emotion)

tightness in the chest, shorter breath and muscle tension. (sensations)

shouting at the children, crying and perhaps smack them. (Action/Impulse/Behaviour)

Another example,

You’re with your partner and he’s talking to his really kind and beautiful friend. (scenario)

‘Why is he with me when he could do so much better, what if he leaves me because i’m not good enough.’ (thought)

Overwhelming feeling of panic, jealousy, anxiety. (emotion)

Heavy feeling in the stomach, adrenaline, fast heart beat (sensations)

Act needy and insecure with the partner, controlling and demand the partner not to see her again. (action/impulse/behaviour)

So, you see how easy it is for our thoughts to affect our reality? Creating and shaping our lives and the situations that arise.

Bring awareness to your thoughts and recognize the power behind them, this way you are taking control of your life and choosing what you bring into your reality and what you attract.

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Accepting when negativity arises within us

Complete acceptance for that of which we are.

Wouldn’t that be incredible?

I used to think after all the self-study, observation and reflecting I do, surely I accept myself for who I am now? And yes in a sense I do, I honour my thoughts and feelings and make time to really listen to myself and try putting myself first.

Boy, it takes up a lot of time and energy to do so much self work but ITS WORTH IT. I have never felt so at peace with myself and content with life, even when I have the not so good days. I have discovered who I am (Yes I know it sounds cheesy, but im sorry, its true. People feel lost and its all about going on a journey to find yourself.)

So.. I’ve discovered and continue to learn about who I am but do I have complete acceptance? The answer I discovered this week.. not quite

Through mindfulness practise I discovered feelings of stress and anxiety, aka negative feelings. My mind got annoyed that I was experiencing this negativity so I ended up fighting it, resisting that it was happening and trying to shove it back to wherever it came from. Complete non-acceptance of what I was experiencing in the present moment, not accepting that negative emotions do arise within me once in a while! So basically beating myself up in a way, saying ‘this negativity is not acceptable so get out, i don’t accept you, why are you feeling like this.’

Acceptance is about embracing yourself as a whole, all aspects of yourself, without rejecting the uncomfortable and shameful parts.

I could pretend that I am positive all the time and a negative thought never crosses my mind, but would that be me? Nope, it’d just be pretense, a false self.

We are perfectly imperfect. We have positive and negative thoughts, resistance only makes them grow, acceptance is showing yourself love and kindness. Don’t beat yourself up over a negative emotion, be aware of it and be curious as to why it has arisen and then smile and accept. Accept yourself exactly as you are.

Affirmation of the upcoming week –

* I accept myself and all which arises within me, completely in this present moment *

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My Daily Affirmation

I thought it would be nice for me to share my daily affirmation with you guys, it’s simple, meaningful and takes 2 minutes if you’re short on time.

I usually like to practise yoga or sun salutations to begin with to focus my energy inwards and quieten the mind (this is optional and not necessary when short on time)

I then bring my hands in prayer position to my forehead with the mantra

– ‘I bring kind thoughts to myself, and others.’

Secondly I move my hands to my lips, still in prayer position

– ‘I bring kind words to myself, and others.’

I then move my arms to the middle of my chest, near the heart

– ‘I bring kind actions to myself and to others.’

Finally finishing with a bow and namaste.

This mini affirmation is great to start the day, it sets intention to be kind to yourself and everyone else through how you think, speak and act. Making sure we are not harshly commenting or judging ourselves, dont call ourselves names and don’t abuse ourselves. The same towards others. I find It stays in my mind all day then too 🙂

I also usually add on a little thought for what I am grateful for, what I would like to achieve from my day or life in general. This is great for focusing your thoughts on positive outcomes and being clear about what you want. Its also great for making you feel great, focusing on what you do have and what you’re grateful for instead of focusing on what you don’t have.

Let me know if you decide to practise it also, and if you feel a difference! Remember, it only takes 2 minutes but it could transform your day, your relationship with yourself and everyone else you encounter.

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Our thoughts affect our whole lives

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Feelings are our friends

How many times have we said, ‘I wish I didn’t feel like this’, ‘I wish I didn’t have these feelings for this person’, ‘I wish feelings didn’t exist sometimes’. I know I’ve said those words many times.

So let’s talk about our feelings.. how are you feeling?

In simple – If you are feeling good then you are thinking good thoughts. If you are feeling bad, you’re thinking bad thoughts.

Our feelings are directly linked to our thoughts, it’s our bodies clever way of letting us know what we’re thinking! Although most of the time we resist our feelings, unaware that we’re bringing them on ourselves by what we’re thinking!

So imagine how you’re life can change once you become aware of your feelings and accept them as your own creation, instead of resisting them and wishing you felt happier etc.. you can, you just need to change your thoughts!

‘Your feelings tell you very quickly what you’re thinking. Think about when your feelings suddenly took a dive – maybe when you heard some bad news. That feeling in your stomach was instant. Those butterfly feelings in your stomach when you meet up with someone you love. The heavy feeling of your chest when you’re sad. ‘ – The Secret

Feelings are our friends. They can bring us awareness to changing our thoughts. If you’re feeling depressed, angry, frustrated, upset, then you’re having bad thoughts. Only you can change that and choose to think positive thoughts.

You can choose to think positive thoughts by creating affirmations, focusing on the good. smile to yourself. do something you enjoy.

Don’t resist your feelings, face them head on as they are the key to bringing awareness to your thoughts. Feelings are the best indicator to letting you know what’s going on in your mind. It is impossible to be feeling bad and have good thoughts at the same time. If you are feeling bad it is because your are thinking thoughts that are making you feel bad.

Remember, through awareness we take control of our own minds, taking control of our life and creating a better one.

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The difference between reacting and responding

I have briefly touched up on the difference between reacting to a situation rather than responding. Some people have sensitive reaction modes and will be seen as short-tempered, mouthy or temperamental. Short-tempered people who fit that category of being reactive are the same as everyone else of course, it’s all unconscious behaviour, they’re unaware that their egos have taken over. We all tend to react from time to time, we have different fuses if you like.

Noticing when you are reacting is the key. Becoming aware, being present in the moment and thinking, ‘how can I respond to this?’ instead of being on auto-pilot without really thinking and then reacting.

When I say reacting, it usually means –

-Raised voice/Shouting

– Sarcasm

– Anger/Frustration

– Lashing out/ throwing things/ hitting things

Reaction = More conflict, suffering and negative feelings

Responding = Open, honest discussion. Solving and creating solutions, being aware on both parts.

With responding you are actually thinking about the situation. We essentially want to live in harmony amongst each other, not war, this means as individuals also.

I have a great example as I just had a situation I had to deal with.

A man sat next to me to watch a movie in the hostel, he smelled of alcohol and was drinking a bottle of wine so I knew he was pretty drunk from his behaviour. After a while he began stroking my leg, I waited a few minutes because I wasn’t sure if I was mistaken. But no, he was pretty obvious stroking my leg. I looked at him and he still didn’t stop. I didn’t know how to react or respond.. So I walked away.

Taking time out to think about the situation, I decided to confront him. I didn’t want drama, I just wanted him to be aware of his actions and know they weren’t appropriate. So calmly I just told him I didn’t think it was appropriate and that I now felt uncomfortable. He was full of apology and excuses, yet we where able to discuss the situation calmly and I hope I made him think about his actions.

If I had instantly reacted and shouted at him, he probably would’ve shouted back at me, denied it etc. I wouldn’t of got him to think about his actions or my feelings because by shouting we’re never really listening. Our minds are already in defense mode, we just want to keep going until we win. I would’ve offended him and he would’ve offended me back, with no solving just more drama and complication.

Usually the more we practise the easier it becomes, it becomes a habit. Think about what you want to create, do you want to create more drama and negativity? Or do you want to create a solution and solve things.

We say we want peace not war. Lets prove it, lets start changing things, beginning with ourselves. 🙂

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How is the way you talk about yourself affecting your life?

At some point we will think or talk about ourselves negatively.

I don’t know about you but I’ve heard myself say (in my mind, or out loud), things like –

‘I’m sad, im stressed, im angry, im fat, Im boney, Im spotty, Im not happy.’ etc

I’ve heard many other people say these things out loud too, but in fact those words in themselves are giving out negative vibes. Negative words cannot bring us positive lives.

So if we actually observe the situation and accept yes sometimes we do feel sad, stressed and angry. That’s not you or me as people though. I am not a angry human being, Angry is a feeling therefore I simply feel angry but thats not who i am.

Do you see the difference? Deep down in our souls we are not angry, we don’t like or want to be angry. So when we say we simply feel angry, we realize that actually it’s just a feeling at this present moment, that will pass and it no longer seems such a big deal. Accepting feelings and even just using the words correctly makes a big difference.

The same goes for I’m fat or I’m boney. Yes I have fat, yes I have bones.. thank god!

Therefore next time we go to say im fat or im boney, instead we can say ‘I have fat, like everyone else, perhaps more than I’d like but I can change that If i choose too. I am not fat but I have fat.’ It makes you see it in a completely different way, fat doesn’t define you as a person and neither do bones.

Words and feelings only define us as people if we let them. What we think and say creates our reality, so if we say things as they really are then we can see that they’re not us as people.

Have a think, what do you define yourself as?

Next time you do have negative feelings, simply recognise them as exactly that – feelings. We all know feelings come and go, they change. You are not an sad person, you are in fact a divine amazing person who might have sad feelings at this present moment.

I used to say I am unattractive because I have spots. When in fact I am a beautiful person who has spotty skin. The same goes for cellulite, I used to say I am unattractive because I was unhappy with one small piece of how my body looked on the behind. I am not cellulite though or wobbly, I have a limbs that work and move and take me from A to B, and they happen to have some cellulite on them. Because I am human, as are you.

If we focus on the negatives, the little details we don’t like about ourselves then that’s the only place we focus. We don’t look at the bigger picture, we don’t see that we are amazing creatures, capable of endless possibilities with beating hearts and healthy bodies.. because we’re too caught up on our love handles – we focus on one negative and let it define us as a person.

Well let me tell you – Whatever size, shape, colour you are. you are amazing. So take a step back and appreciate all that you are, for the flaws and imperfections included, because theres no one else like you. you’re one of a kind, that in itself is beautiful.

🙂

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How the way we think causes suffering, not the situation itself.

We tend to blame people or situations for causing us unhappiness and suffering, yet this is not truly the case.

It’s not the situation or people who cause us suffering but the way we think about it, deal with it and react to it.

For example the same unfortunate things happen to people every day, yet each person thinks about that situation differently and has different levels of suffering.

Today I found myself causing myself pain, hurt and more suffering over something that wasn’t very important.

I had been told today I had the afternoon off so I made plans with a lady I met to go swimming in the Billabong. As it is my last week here and I had become friends with this lady, I thought it’d be special to go swimming in it together and sharing the experience. However plans changed and I had to work the lunchtime shift and my friend was leaving straight after lunch so with no one to cover me, it was not possible for me to go swimming with her.

I felt upset, annoyed and angry. I had these plans and I had to work when I was told I didn’t have to.

I was very aware of my feelings, i knew I was upset and angry and was looking for someone to blame.

So I took a step back at the bigger picture, did I enjoy feeling like this? No. Then why was I doing it to myself – It wasn’t the end of the world.

Then another thought piped up – ‘It’s such a nice sunny day though, it would’ve been perfect to go swimming there today, and it would’ve been a great experience before Elenoor left.’

That thought right there was doing no good, only harming myself further – causing me more suffering to feel angrier and upset.

I observed that thought closely and felt how that single sentence in my mind caused me many more negative emotions. Did they change the situation? no. They just made me feel worse so what was the point?

Instead I decided I can look at it a different way, accept that it just wasn’t meant to be. Perhaps there would’ve been a snake or something in there that I avoided, perhaps it wouldn’t of been to my expectation. And I can always go again, perhaps I just need to challenge myself and go alone. There where endless possibilities of ways I could look at the situation in a positive way, that didn’t cause me suffering.

Once I had changed my view of thinking and accepted the situation, I felt a weight had been lifted. It just wasn’t as important anymore, I couldn’t change it but I could change my way of thinking about it.

Every day in life we cause ourselves suffering from viewing situations negatively. When plans change, things dont go our way or how we expected.. it’s easy for negative thoughts to pop up – but we dont have to listen to them.

We can observe our thoughts and feel the emotions they create inside our bodies. Negative emotions don’t tend to feel nice or good to us so surely it makes sense for us to stop and look at the bigger picture, not let the ego react.

Emotions come as a reaction in our body to our thoughts. Think positive thoughts, you will feel happy. Feel negative emotions and you will feel stressed, anxious, fearful, angry, annoyed etc. Maybe like my situation, negative thoughts will pop into your head first and cause you to feel angry and upset, thats ok, just let them flow through you and observe them, then you can decide actually I dont want to feel like this, so i choose to see the situation differently, positively.

There’s always a positive outlook, we just need to find it.

The sun is always shining 🙂

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Live in the present

Today I was able to connect with a lovely lady from Amsterdam. She was very open and honest with me, although we were merely strangers she cried with me and I comforted her and then listened to what was behind her pain.

That’s what we can create when we are simply real with ourselves and each other. We let people in and they can help us. We let go of the horrible thoughts and negative emotions and get rid of them, we let them flow out of our bodies through words, tears and emotions. 

This lovely lady is on her journey after suffering from depression for years after pushing and plodding on through life doing what was expected of her instead of what she wanted, that would make her happy. After years of doing things to please others, she forgot who she was.. she was living her life as a person other people wanted her to be.

She has overcome many things yet she was sat crying with me. I asked her why.

She felt hurt, hurt that she had wasted years of her life being depressed and feeling so negative about herself and life.

I then questioned her – In 5 years time won’t you look back at this time now and think exactly the same, you’re finding yourself yet you’re still living in the past, beating yourself up about wasting years being depressed. I said, isnt that exactly what you’re doing now, wasting this present moment, beating yourself up, hurting yourself, over the past years that cant be changed?

She looked at me like a light had just gone off – it all made sense.

The present moment is all we have, with it we create our future. So this lady was wasting more time of her life beating herself up over the past that cannot be changed. Its something we all do. beat ourselves up, regretting something that happened in the past, thinking what ifs – but the truth is we’re wasting our lives living in the past. we can only change the future as we create it in the present moment. 

I hope this helps anyone who finds themselves always thinking in the past, wishing it could have been different. 

Sometimes we have to accept things that happened, leave them in the past and let go.

Then we can concentrate on living and doing things in the present moment to create the future we want.

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