The Beauty of Morning Practice

Do you have a morning practice?

Why? Why not?

I’ve always been a big fan of mornings. They seem to have a clear and majestic feel to them. And, over the years, I have found that having a morning practice sets the “tone” for the day ahead.

Now, before I explain the details of my morning practice, I want to say 99.999% of humans are morning people, or “diurnal”, which is the fancy biological name for daylight creatures.

We are biologically wired to be daytime creatures – it has little to do with personality or psychology. It has everything to do with biology.

As soon as the sunlight hits our eyes and bounces around our brains, it triggers one of the most powerful glands in our system, the pineal gland, which floods our system with chemistry for awake, conscious, activated living.

These chemical systems trigger rhythms in our physiology. Our brain waves, our heart rate, and our breath respond to daylight and the lack thereof.

If you were to dig into the health of any long-term shift worker and people who stubbornly work against daylight living, I bet they have a smorgasbord of complicated health related conditions from anxiety, to insomnia to blood pressure issues and everything in-between. And most, if not all, of these health related conditions are largely contributed by their going “against the grain” of their natural biological systems.

It is ok to have a late night every now and then or have a phase when you go out of sync for a while; however, I would never advise living a night focused lifestyle for longer than a few months at a time, because after just a few months, things will usually go out of sync.

 

If one comes to be naturally waking early in the mornings, it is usually a sign of good health, good internal chemistry, and good internal biorhythms.

 

What happens to us when we sleep is another, somewhat complicated story. However, I will just summarise a few main points here. Each night when we sleep, we leave the body and enter the energetic realms. In these energetic realms, we can travel and receive insights and vast amounts of information. Many sources say we receive a “download” from our soul each night we successfully enter these energy realms.

So, when we come to wake into conscious awareness each morning, we are in a state of transferring the information and insights from the energy world into the physical world and throughout all the cells in our bodies.

Each morning when we wake, we move through an “afterglow” state as we transition from the energetic realms to the physical realms.  This “afterglow” is a similar state that every newborn baby experiences.

 

And, like a newborn baby, how would we treat it and nurture it as it enters this world?

With news reports of terrorism and homicides? With alcohol and drug use? With loud noises and arguments? Would we thrust a newborn baby into the rush hour of an urban environment first thing out of the womb?

Of course not.

Any sane person would provide a gentle, nurturing and quiet space for a newborn baby to feel safe and at ease. A safe, nurturing and quiet environment allows a new born baby to relax, play, grow and develop at their own pace.

This is the same approach we should take with ourselves each morning when we wake. Be gentle with yourself.  Slowly and caringly welcome yourself into your body and into the new day.

Listen to gentle, loving music. Take your time. Meditate, do yoga stretches, read some inspirational works, use affirmation, and even say a prayer. Treat yourself to a healthy and nutritious breakfast. When eating, eat mindfully. Minimise talking for the first hour and avoid the news or anything that may generate stress or unnecessary tension.

There is plenty of time left in the day for stress if you still crave it, so why burden your mornings with it?

 

Over the years, I have always had a morning practice that usually involves meditation and listening to music.

This is my current morning practice, which take around 10 minutes:

Current music choice: Snatnum Kaur channel on Pandora.

1. Nadi Shodhana Breathing for 5 minutes (single nostril breathing)

 

Breathing is, by far, the fastest way to adjust your chemistry and balance the nervous system. Learning to work with breath is essential for anyone interested in enhanced health and wellbeing.

2. Sound work – Chanting “A-O-M” at least 7 times.

Sound is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. A-O-M touches each of the fundamental tones that the universe resonates at. Activating these tones, helps to bring your own vibration into alignment, relaxes tissues in the body, warms up the vocal chords, and enhances the depth of breath. It is also amazing at “nulling” the mind into pure vibration.

3. Hands into prayer – 3 x Thank You

This sets up the energy field of gratitude, which is another powerful vibration to set yourself on.

  • The first thank you is for something very simple – like, thank you for the bed I slept in last night, the shelter over my head, the wind on my face, the warm clothes I have on.
  • The second thank you is for the life force that courses its way through my body and being. I become aware of the blood and energy flowing through my body and system, and I give tanks for such a gift of life.
  • The third thank you is for having such an awesome day. With this thank you, I get into the feeling of having a great day, making new friends, having a good flow of events, and being productive. I give thanks in a way that allows me to feel like it is inevitable.

After that, I bow and relax my posture and practice.

 

This 3-stage morning practice takes around 10 minutes. I seem to adjust my practice a little every few months as things shift, yet I rarely miss a day, and the average time for this practice can be anywhere from 10-30 minutes.

 

What does your morning practice look like?

 

 

My Top 15 Anti-Aging Tips

ageing tips

Just a quick post for you today.

Here are my TOP 15 anti-aging tips:

 

1. Don’t watch the news

2. Sit on the floor at least once a day

3. Go outside for a walk every day

4. Laugh often

5. Don’t take yourself (or the world) too seriously

6. Study the words of the mystics

7. Don’t follow the crowd

8. Eat a variety of food and only eat to 80% full

9. Keep learning, reading & trying new things

10. Dance whenever you can

11. When others move you deeply, tell them

12. Wake up early and do some kind of self cultivation practice

13. Don’t waste time arguing or talking to fools

14. Learn to enjoy your own company

15. Say “thank you” from the heart every day

 

Blessings 🙂

 

How to Reduce Stress and Get Your Zen on When Traveling

Do you enjoy travel?

Who doesn’t, right?

Do you get easily stressed or know someone who does when it comes to packing their bags and hitting the road?

No doubt, a bit of stress and excitement is part of the package – yet I thought I would share with you some tips & tricks I’ve picked up over the last few years that may help reduce any unnecessary stress or strain next time you hit the road.

With the surge in technology over the last 10 years, the way we travel, organize, make bookings and plan things has changed forever!

So, when fusing technology with a relaxed, steady and zen approach to travel, this is what I have discovered…

 

1. All you need is your passport, cash, and a credit card. Everything else is trivial and can be replaced.

Clean underpants and a pair of socks are also important but seriously, don’t sweat the small stuff. Learn to pack small, as it makes you more agile, flexible and free flowing on the road. Not having lots of clothes packed means you have the best excuse to buy new ones at the next location!

If you can’t carry your luggage for more than 30-40metres, you’re dragging a ball and socket around with you. Downsize or get rid of it!

 

 2. Airbnb.com is the New Face of Travel Accommodation

I simply love Airbnb.  You can get your own house, a private room in a local’s house or even share a room if you’re on a budget. You can even choose the exact suburb or location you want to stay. One of the main advantages is that you can connect with locals straight away. The whole thing just feels more authentic than staying in sterile hotel rooms with staff with whom are paid to put on a uniform and a happy face.  

It’s easy, it’s fast, it’s fun and it works!

I have only had great experiences with Airbnb, and I will continue to use it for years to come.

 

3. Ride a Bicycle!

If the location you’re in supports easy access to bicycles and bike paths – do it! Riding a bicycle is by far the best way to experience a new place. It gets your heart going, moves stagnation (from sitting on planes, etc.) and increases your appetite, so you get to enjoy the local food and wine even more!

 

 4. Attend a Local Yoga Class (even if not in English)

Travelling tightens up the body and causes it a bit of stress. New food, new air, new people, new everything. The body tends to get a bit shocked by it all, and one way to help it integrate and settle is to attend a local yoga class or two.

It provides a nice time and space to be with yourself and appreciate where you are on your journey.

If the class is not in English, please be extra careful, especially if you are a beginner. Do not push yourself. And how to tell if you are? If you hold your breath while attempting poses, this is a sign you’re trying too hard! Pull back a bit! Lie down flat on the mat if you feel inspired to do so. Remember – you are your own guru!

 

5. Walk slowly. Talk Less. Phone Less. Be Present.

Nothing is more powerful in this world than presence. Presence means not getting ready to “go into the next moment” or expecting the next Travel the worldmoment to be better than this moment. When you really “get that” a whole new world of appreciation and beauty opens up to you.

To support that space, walk with ease, reduce unnecessary chatter, use your phone only when needed, and take your time…

 

6. Over Planning Creates Rigidity

Always allow for at least 20% unplanned space.

When we over plan into the future, what we are really doing is trying to control our lives with an iron fist. Where is the fun in that? Allow yourself to be receptive to life and its guidance, however, to do that, you must allow for some space in your schedule.

 

7. Flight Planning

I’ve been using kayak.com and skyscanner.com for the last few years and have found it to be great at finding me affordable flights. Recently, I also discovered Google Flights, which I think has the potential to be even better as it offers up a map of the globe so you can see things more clearly.

 

8. Honor the Moon Cycles

Pay attention to the full and new moons as they come through. They naturally have a powerful effect on our emotional and psychological health.

During new moon periods, it’s always better to stay in and catch up on sleep.

Near full moon periods, it’s great to take advantage of the extra energy in the atmosphere and go out socializing and partying.

If you take heed of the natural moon cycles, it will support your journey in a healthy and sustainable way.

 

9. Take Time Out to Be By Yourself

Travelling can be intense, especially on relationships. Therefore, always allow yourself and others some space to go off by themselves now and then. Everyone needs time to integrate the big changes triggered by travelling.

 

10. Uber Car Transport Services

I think nearly everyone has heard of Uber, and there is a good reason ~ because it’s awesome! Service is great, price is good, and the ease at which to call a car and pay is next level. The taxi industry has simply dropped the ball on this one.

With Uber, you don’t need to fumble with cash in the car, as it’s all linked up to an account you set up online. To make a booking, just click a few buttons on your phone and a few minutes later, a fancy car will show up to take you where you need to go. All tracked with GPS so it’s impossible to get lost and it drastically increases safety.

*Please note, Uber is not available in all countries

 

 

Well, there you have it! 10 simple tips to help get your zen on for your next trip.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch.

 

Stay awesome and breathe!

You got this! ENJOY

 

 

 

8 Tips to Flow with the Energy of Spring

In Taoist philosophy, time and energy is seen as being cyclic in nature. Therefore everything, which encompasses our material world, our thoughts, our emotions and everything in between, is understood to always be constantly moving and changing. Resisting this changing phenomenon tends only to generate tension and anxiety which takes us away from our being able to experience any peace or harmony with ourselves and within the universe. Fortunately, one of the easiest and most effective ways to get into the flow of things is to sync up our lifestyles with the flow of these changing seasons. With repeated practice of shifting with the seasons, wisdom naturally arises which allows us to let go of resistances to change, and in doing so, life tends to unfold more smoothly and joyfully. Spring, in the 5–element theory found in Oriental medicine, is related to the liver and gallbladder with the element being wood. The main keywords for spring are: growth, expansion, flexibility, focus, clarity and the colour green.

1. Allow your energy to expand through movement.

Now is a good time to take up a new movement class or recommence your preferred movement practice. Most recommended are Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Yoga or Martial Arts. Dancing, running, swimming and walking are all great too.

 

2. Launch into new projects.

Now is a great time to start a new business, a new project or take action on something you’ve been cooking on for sometime. It may also be a good time to move on from a job or a relationship that doesn’t support your vision.

 

3. Support the liver in the detox process.

Lemon water, milk thistle and dandelion root are all great liver supporters (e.g., Liver Tonic by Fusion Health). Eating lighter foods and avoiding heavy greasy foods will also reduce the burden on the liver. If you wake up in the mornings like a rock, have vision problems, have sluggish digestion or get frustrated and irritated easily, these are all signs the liver is a bit clogged up and getting angry.

 

4. Eat plenty of green foods.

Make friends with the colour green. Spend more time in nature.

 

5. De-clutter your lifestyle and your mind by ruthlessly removing (letting go of) the non-essentials.peace quote

Take some time out to really get clear on your direction and vision. Then get rid of all those things that clutter or distract you from this path. This is “spring cleaning”.

 

6. Stretch the body regularly.

Especially side bends, wide legged forward bends, twists and eye exercises.

 

7. A little later to bed than in winter and rise with the sun.

Establish a morning practice like meditation, walking, stretching that help you to plug into yourself (coming back to earth from the dream world) and plugging into the universal Qi field.

 

8. Liver energy is about intuition and is strongly connected to the Solar Plexus Chakra (self identity/self esteem/confidence) and the third eye (vision, intuition).

Let go of over-thinking, follow your inner feelings/visions and allow yourself to be spontaneous.

“Follow your own weird.” ~ Alan Watts

 

Acupoints to massage, tap and stimulate:

Liv 3

Liv 5

Liv 14

GB 34

GB 21

GB 14

GB 8

Bl 2

Bl 18

SJ 5

LI 11

 

9 Tips to Flow with the Energy of Autumn

 

It’s important to adjust our lifestyles and our yoga practice to change with the seasons so that we can let nature work her magic on us, providing us with more energy, insight and nourishment.

Autumn is related to the metal element in Oriental medicine and Taoist philosophy. Metal is another word for rocks or minerals, and it is these rocks and minerals which provide ongoing strength, structure and support as we come out of the energy of summer and head towards the cooler months of winter. The organs associated with autumn are the lungs and large intestines and it is these organs that are largely in charge of clearing waste and elimination. Emotionally, it’s about “letting go” of things – people, grudges, the past etc. – that do not align with our current intentions and our life direction. It’s time to knuckle down to some kind of routine and just keep going with it, throwing away or discarding anything which may distract us from our current focus.

Here are 9 tips to help support this process of transformation through autumn.

1. Get outside and go for a walk soon after sunrise and/or around dusk.

The quality of Qi in the atmosphere at these times is very potent and fresh. It’s a great practice to bring that good quality and fresh Qi into the lungs which will bring greater clarity to our minds and flush our bodies of stagnation.

 

2. Refine your goals, projects and intentions.

Hone in on just one or two clear, identifiable, passionate projects and either throw out the others or put them aside for another time. Keep your focus on these and keep digging in; don’t let yourself get distracted by other ideas at this time.

 

3. Refine our character.

What qualities do I want to embody more so and what qualities are not helpful or limit my potential? Focus in on those good qualities and instead of trying to do them, become them. Discard and throw out the unhelpful qualities. As humans we have the power to shift and change our intentions quite easily, but to do so often requires persistence and practice and autumn is the perfect time for practicing such things.

 

4. Let go of the past.

Many people hold on to memories like they are the most important thing in their lives. But I think that memories, while pleasant sometimes, are more of a hindrance on the path than a help because they take us into our heads and out of the present moment. It is not necessary to hold on to anything of the past, including memories, to live a fulfilling life. For it is from living fully in the present moment that life really illuminates and reveals its true splendor.

 

5. Yoga postures, Qi gong, Tai Qi and other exercises that emphasize the raising of the arms above the head stimulate and support the muscles and tissues around the lungs.

When stretching, draw the hands above the head, interlace the fingers and stretch out the body. Yumm.

 

6. Chai tea with a good hit of ginger stimulates the immune system and brings moisture to the lungs and intestines.

Ginger helps to keep colds and flu away, but if you have managed to catch a cold or flu and have a hot, sore throat, remove the ginger because it can aggravate hot, irritated throats.

 

7. Have a bowel motion every morning before breakfast.

According to both Ayurveda and Oriental medicine, this is the best time to empty the bowels. It is seen that emptying the bowels and letting go of waste and toxins from the previous day provides one with a fresh new day. A good dose of prunes, black coffee and/or magnesium can stimulate bowel movements if you’re showing signs of constipation. Also, enemas (administered by a professional or yourself) can also be used to stimulate the bowels and bring them back to better function.

 

8. Pranayama practices can help to stimulate the lungs and encourage a deeper, steadier breath.

“Nadi sodhana” and the “breath of fire” clear the nasal passages and help stabilize energy levels for the day.

 

9. Reduce any excessive activity and spend more time alone.

Consider reading more books and meditating more often as autumn is a great time to start to withdraw from the excessive activities of summer while also learning to be more content with your own company. This essentially builds inner strength, courage, wisdom and spiritual power.

 

10 Tips to Flow With the Energy of Summer

Summer in Oriental medicine is related to the heart and small intestine and belongs to the element of fire. It is the most “yang” time of year, meaning it has the most energy available to us. When the fire element is healthy and balanced we are enthusiastic, energetic, passionate, joyful, motivated, have a good digestive system (metabolism) and are big dreamers.

When the fire element is unbalanced and unhealthy it tends to lead to insomnia, anxiety problems, intolerance, poor digestion, body temperature irregularities, depression, lack of energy and the general loss of enthusiasm for life.

To help synchronise with the energy of Summer and the ongoing seasons, CLICK HERE to stay in touch with my upcoming yoga classes and workshops in Melbourne. However, until then, here are 10 tips to help you get the most out of this time of year.

1. Dare to dream big! – It’s the best time of year to really get your passions out there and aim for the stars.  Make big (yet flexible) plans of how you would like to contribute to this world and get behind it. Dreaming big like this can trigger powerful change – so be open to it.

2. It’s the festival and party season so get amongst it – It’s the best time of year to get out to at least a few festivals or events. Getting out there and connecting with others will help generate more energy and enthusiasm for your dreams and it also helps support the dreams of others.

3. Stay up late, wake up early – In summer, you can afford to stay up a little later than normal. There is plenty of energy around so we generally don’t need as much sleep as the other seasons. This is why it’s also a good time to party more, sleep less.

4. Rest in the middle of the day – 11am-1pm is heart time according the the Qi clock and also the hottest part of the day so it’s important to nourish the heart by resting during this period. A nice siesta will do the trick. Resting in the middle of the day will give you more energy for the mornings and evenings.

5. Keep cool, drink plenty of fluids and refrain from anger – It’s easy to get overheated in the midst of summer so it’s important to use the water element to tame down the fire. When there is too much fire it is also easy to come to anger easily – a sure sign there is too much heat in the body.

6. Soften the heart – The heart in Oriental medicine is connected directly to our spiritual essence. Allowing your heart space to soften, relax and flow will enhance your intuitive abilities. The heart is simple; the mind is complicated – learn to follow your heart for it will never lead you astray.

8. Eat less – The body generally doesn’t require as much food as the other seasons because it feeds on the energy in our environment. Therefore this is the best season to eat foods like salads and fruits, to keep things light and fresh. Avoid foods that are heavy, greasy and oily.

9. Get the arms moving – Both the heart and small intestine meridians flow down both arms. It helps to get the heart energy flowing by raising your arms and moving them about. You may notice that depressed and anxious people tend to keep their arms close to their bodies whereas confident and emotionally healthy people tend to express a lot using their arms and hands.

10. More hugs – Hugs are the ultimate expression of heart energy. Giving hugs opens the arms, opens the palms and creates a connection of heart centers for the exchange of energy. Be sure to give more hugs this season because it lifts people’s life force more powerfully than words.

 

If you want to learn more about yoga for the seasons, Click Here.

In 2017, I will be running workshops, private trainings and yoga classes in Melbourne, Australia.

Classes usually involve yoga asana, meditation, meridian stretching and acu-point massage to help release energy stagnation and help us sync more easily with the change of the seasons.

Stay informed with these upcoming classes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Tips To Flow With The Energy of Spring

Career Path, Relaxation

The element of Spring in Chinese medicine is Wood and the organs associated are the liver and gallbladder. The liver and gallbladder have a large influence over our physical health as well as our mental health. When our liver and gallbladder are happy and receiving enough chi and blood, we generally feel calm yet enthusiastic with the way life is unfolding. In spring, there is plenty of energy and inspiration around us to keep us motivated, therefore it’s a great time to launch into new projects and set new goals for the year ahead. When our liver and gallbladder are not receiving enough chi and blood they become unhappy and this often leads to feelings of frustration, irritability and rage (road rage is a good example). Sometimes there is a feeling of being stagnant, of not enjoying the way life is unfolding or not feeling like your life is flowing the way you would like it. Also, there may be a tendency to be indecisive and uncertain as this is one of the main psychological qualities of the gallbladder. On the physical level, digestion may be sluggish and/or there will be constipation, which are all signs the liver energy is not flowing properly. To regain balance or to enhance the liver and gallbladder function, try out these 10 Tips:

1. Wake a little earlier then usual.

The sun is rising much earlier and the day is warming up quickly so get up with the sun and take some time to do some exercise or meditation.

2. Drink lemon water on waking.

This flushes the liver and kicks it into wake up ad detox mode ready for the day ahead.

3. Engage in more dynamic movement.

Try participating in exercises a little more dynamically or try a new type of movement class out. The liver loves to move energy around the body, so let it! If you keep it happy, it will let you be happy.

4. Eat more salads and lighter meals.

Our body is in more of a detox mode during spring so don’t overburden it with heavy, oily foods that will clog up the system. Support the detox process.

5. Launch into new projects – set new goals.

Set goals but be flexible and adaptable with the way they unfold. What would you do if you knew there was no such thing as failure?

6. Stretch your body more!

The liver and Gallbladder govern your ligaments and tendons so twisting poses and side bends are ideal! Also give yin yoga a try, its powerful stuff.

7. Get out in nature.

Enjoy the sun, go camping and surround yourself with green!

8. Inspire others!

Seek out inspiring books, films and amazing people and get inspired about life. When you inspire yourself you will naturally inspire others!

9. Remember to take time out to nurture yourself.

Nourish yourself with regular swims in the ocean. Take time out to be alone or try laying down, on the floor, bed or on your yoga mat, eyes closed for 10 minutes in the middle of the day – watch the sensations in your body… just let things settle..

10. Be open and flexible to new ideas, new opportunities and new people.

It’s a creative and inspiring time so be open to change.

 

Ok, that’s it! I’m sure they will help you in some way. Feel free to forward these tips onto a friend. If you have any questions please feel free to email me.