Category Archives: Philosophical Musings

How & why do you escape your life?

‘True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from’

This came up on my facebook feed recently and it grabbed me straight away, particularly the part about needing to escape. Two things came to mind. Firstly, the difference between having or doing something because it is enjoyable versus needing something to feel OK or better, i.e. to escape. The second, is the point at which doing something for enjoyment transitions into pain relief i.e. escaping.

A long time ago I used to use alcohol to escape but it didn’t start that way. Social events always included a few drinks, and getting a bit tipsy…or a lot…was just part of the fun. At some point though having a drink became something more than just about having fun. It was a gradual process. Working full-time with a family meant that life was very full and very busy. Having a drink or 2 after work became the norm, it helped me to switch off, wind down, let go. As the kids got older and my jobs gotbigger, my stress levels went up, so did my need to escape, and so did the number of drinks.

Having a drink started as something I enjoyed and at some point, on the journey it became something I needed. Another example might be the enjoyment of those first few cups of coffee to a point where you can’t face the day without one and if you do it’s with a blinding headache.

The first step in any Ayurvedic treatment is to identify and remove the cause. If we feel the need to escape, the question to ask is not, “what should I do or take to support this escape”…but “what in my life am I trying to escape from”. If I need something to feel ‘better’, what is it about me that feels ‘less than’ better? If I need something to ‘let go’, what am I holding onto? If I need something to ‘wind down’, what is causing me to feel wound up?

The message…by all means have a wine, a coffee or a piece of chocolate cake but notice if it shifts from being some you enjoy to something you ‘need’ to get through the day, the night or the week. That’s when it changes from being something you enjoy to pain relief.

Step 1 – Take the time to pause and reflect on whatever it is about the day and your reactions that create the need to escape.

Step 2 – Remove the cause and replace it with something that keeps you firmly grounded in a life you love to lead.

2WiseWomen retreats are intended to help you do just that.

The Science of Yoga & Ayurveda

Yoga and Ayurveda: Fantastic practices but are they really sciences?

The definition of science according to Sciencemadesimple is:

“…. a system of acquiring knowledge. This system uses observation and experimentation to describe and explain natural phenomena.

The term science also refers to the organized body of knowledge people have gained using that system.

Less formally, the word science often describes any systematic field of study or the knowledge gained from it.”

The systems of Yoga and Ayurveda arose from observations of the natural environment. These observations were tested and refined through repeated experimentation using case-studies and repeated over hundreds of years. Now that’s what I call a longitudinal design! These systems are truly holistic in that the individual is acknowledged as multidimensional having physical, mental, energetic and spiritual dimensions.

There’s nothing new about Yoga and Ayurveda. It’s straight-up, good old-fashioned (and I mean really old– fashioned) science, and to this day the experimentation and refinement continue. This is one of the reasons why your yoga teacher bangs on about awareness and to observe what’s going on for you. It’s plain old scientific inquiry – observe, test, refine, re-test.

The name 2wisewomen refers and pays homage to these sister sciences of Yoga and Ayurveda and the many practitioners/experimenters who have contributed to these vast bodies of knowledge. These sciences compliment and inform the other and together they give us models and tools for understanding the natural world, our place in it and how to flow in tune with nature’s rhythms. (Ayurveda actually translates as, ‘the science of life’.)

2wisewomen invites you to undertake your own experiment as both the experimenter and  subject. Immerse yourself in the controlled environment of Narasoma for one week and see what you observe. Use your findings to inform how you choose to live from here on.

You can expect from a 2wisewomen retreat exactly what Yoga and Ayurveda offers any sincere seeker – Knowledge and Empowerment.

Over to you.

http://www.2wisewomen.com.au/events/

 

Be careful what you wish for…

Did you hear the piper?” Bill says excitedly.

I look up from my crossword, incredulous. If you’ve never had someone play bagpipes in your lounge-room, I assure you, you are unlikely to miss it. “I did hear him“, I reply.

The young crew from the pub were in the process of moving the St Patrick’s Day revelries to our kitchen. ‘The piper’ was the last to join them arriving to his own fanfare. The guitar, accordian and guitarlele were getting a right ol’ work-out. The usual repertoire of favourite tunes had already started accompanied by vocal harmonies. This group of late-20 and early-30-something year-olds play and sing together often, and they play and sing well. They also drink lots of beer, talk loudly and passionately, and stay out late. I love having them around but the noise gets too much for me so I retire to my bedroom and enjoy the party from the other side of the wall.

18 months earlier…

Mary and I are riding the train to Sydney to fly to Bali for the Living Your Dharma retreat when she asks, ‘Where do you see yourself in 2 years?’ With a deadpan expression I say, ‘Married with children’. I am 54, childless and have been in same sex-relationships for nearly 30 years. Mary watches my face for a while for a sign that I might be joking. Finally, she says, ‘I guess he’ll already have children.’ ‘I guess so‘ says I.

I’m also a little surprised. I thought I’d given up on that dream, but there it was; unequivocal.

We spend the next week at Narasoma in Ubud, Bali taking retreat participants through the process of distilling and defining their dharma; their life’s purpose. I’m going through my own process. I sit with my revelation and what that might look like.

November 2015…
I find a beautiful dress. It fits me like a glove and looks fabulous. I show Mary and tell her ‘I could get married in that dress’. She says, ‘buy it’. I do. It’s $80.

December 2015…
While celebrating Christmas with my family in Perth I announce that I am getting married in June or July next year. ‘Great‘ they all say. ‘Who to?” ‘I haven’t met him yet’ I reply. Nothing much they could say to that I guess.

6 March 2016…
Over breakfast I tell my friend I’m floundering with my attempts to put my bee-hive frames together. My friend suggests I meet with her friend, Bill, who keeps bees. Bill and I work easily together and he helps me with my frames. He’s single and has 3 adult children and 4 grand-children.

8 October 2016…
Bill and I marry in front of family and friends in Gregson Park, Hamilton under a big old Morton Bay fig. I arrive by BMW scooter in my slinky dress. Bill’s son Michael is best-man. His 2 daughters are there too. I catch Mary’s eye in the front row. All the little kids in attendance climb the tree and photo-bomb the ceremony. Bill and I have the best day ever. We honeymoon for a week in Ubud at the retreat centre.

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St Pat’s Day: 2330 pm Loud thumping noise that rattles the whole house as it beats time to the music.

Oh dear, someone’s found the lagerphone. Rehearse apologies to the neighbours in the morning. Kids, eh.

Mary’s first comment when she reads this…’the title could be…be careful what you wish for’.

Our Living your Dharma weekend is just 2 weeks away – 7-9 April 2017. If there is something you want to create you’d better come.

Go to our Events page to register.

xxCoralie

Your Dharma ‘lights you up’

Have you ever had the experience of doing or talking about something and feel yourself starting to ‘light up’, you feel energised…excited…happy…you may even glow a little bit?

Those moments hold the key to discovering your Dharma.

It happens to me when I start talking about Ayurveda, our 2WiseWomen retreats, my grandchildren or just my life at the Ashram. All the things I love and feel passionate about. I can feel myself getting excited, my words flow easily and my heart feels like it is overflowing…and it’s in those moments that I know I am on track…I am living my Dharma.

Over 12 years ago when I started to study Ayurveda I was so excited by what I was learning that I wanted to share it with as many people as possible. I opened my practice in Newcastle and constantly thought about how to create an Ayurvedic Community. At the same time I was completely out of my ‘comfort’ zone. Not only was I coming from a business background, I had been completely oblivious to anything ‘alternative’ for the first 42 years of my life. Fortunately, I was so besotted with Ayurveda that I didn’t let that stop me and followed my heart and not my head.

My dream for community and to share Ayurveda was a big part of my decision to come to live at Mangrove Yoga 12 months ago. I have a dream that Mangrove Yoga will one day offer Ayurveda training. It feels like a big dream, a really big one. One that scares me as well as excites me. I have no real idea how it is going to happen but I know that it will.

This knowing comes from looking back and seeing the twists and turn s my has taken ever since I started asking myself, and listened, to what I want in life. I have come to understand that it is more important to know WHAT I want, than the HOW of getting it or making it happen. I now happily leave that part to the universe, trusting that signposts will come and knowing that my role is to watch for and follow them.

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Are you on track? Life has a way of sending us a signpost when we aren’t.

An Ayurveda conference I attended in Melbourne last week was my latest signpost, reminding me of my dream to bring more Ayurveda to my new home. I went to the conference knowing I’d gotten off track a little, spending too much time on things that didn’t ‘light me up’. Now I’m back on track.

So what’s your dream?

What ‘lights’ you up?

What do you want more of in your life?

Is there something sitting in the background that you want to do but the HOW or circumstances of your life feel in the way?

Our Living your Dharma weekend is just 3 weeks – 7-9 April 2017. If there a little voice saying “yes, I want to do this” …that’s a signpost…listen to it.

Go to our Events page to register.

Living your Dharma…a journey to Self

Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything…
maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t you…
so you can be who you are meant to be.

When you are Living your Dharma there is a sense of authenticity and integrity in your life. This doesn’t mean that life is a bowl of rose petals, however the right things do seem to happen at the right time, and there is a sense of flow.

The focus of our next 2WiseWomen retreat at Mangrove Yoga is Living your Dharma and our intention is to create a space for you to:

  • check in with your life and see what feels authentic and what doesn’t.
  • connect with what feels meaningful and fulfilling, the things you would like to have more of in your life.
  • identify what’s stopping the flow or getting in the way of what you want.

I believe that most of the time you already know what is and isn’t right for you and I think that applies to most people, but that isn’t enough. When I was in practice clients would generally experience improvements in different aspects of their physical and emotional wellbeing with the recommended dietary and lifestyle changes. However, despite these usually significant improvements they often struggled to stay with the changes, even the simple ones. In time I came to see that their beliefs about themselves and life, and habitual patterns of behaviour based on these beliefs, were subtly sabotaging their efforts.

This where awareness comes in. During the retreat we will use practices that will help you understand why you do what you do, and feel how you feel. By consciously bringing these new understandings into your day to day decision making, you automatically begin to ‘create’ the life you want to live.

This concept of creating your life is an important one. Every choice and decision we make influences the direction our life takes. When decisions are made consciously, responding rather than reacting to life, then we are more likely to be on the right path. Life gradually begins to evolve from our sense of purpose and values, instead of being shaped by beliefs and patterns of behaviour that no longer serve us.

The word awareness mentioned earlier may have caused your eyes to glaze over. It is a much bandied around word these days and unfortunately, like anything we hear constantly, it has become a bit ho hum. The saying ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ comes to mind. Don’t be tricked by that though. A little committed, consistent and regular effort in developing awareness – paying attention and learning from that – has the capacity to change the way you think, how you manage your emotions and the choices you make – in short it has the capacity to change your life.

You may also be thinking that this is ground you have already covered…been there done that. Another thing not to be fooled by. This is deep work and it takes us to new levels every time we allow ourselves the opportunity do it. Exploring what gives our life meaning and what is getting in the way, is an ongoing, never ending journey. Each time we ask ourselves these questions our life becomes richer and deeper for the asking.

If the idea of Living your Dharma appeals, then join us at Mangrove Yoga for the weekend 3-5 April 2017. Mangrove Yoga offer a range of accommodation options however some only have limited availability so if you are thinking single rooms and ensuites book early.

Take care, Coralie & Mary

What creates your life…the circumstances or your dreams?

Are you where you want to be?
Are you doing what you want to be doing?

These are good questions to stop and ask ourselves occasionally.

I walk around the Ashram these days with an incredible sense of gratitude because I am exactly where I want to be, doing what I want to be doing. That doesn’t mean life is ‘perfect’. There is still the inevitable rollercoaster of ups and downs, however the basic knowing that where I am and what I am doing is right for me at this time certainly smooths the ride.

I did a course last year with the beautiful Saraswati Calder called Dream Building. In the first week we were told that in every moment our thoughts, feelings and actions create our life. The choice lies in whether the life we create is dictated by the circumstances in which we find ourselves or the dreams we hold for ourselves.

11127883_1021184917909853_4512164234478468385_nA life that is created by circumstances is usually a reactionary life, a life in which we generally feel out of control and unsatisfied. If we stop and ask ourselves however, what is it that I want, how do I want to express myself in this amazing gift of a human life, we open ourselves up to the possibility of moving outside the dictates of those circumstances. These questions create a space in our life to explore exactly what it is we want.

A little word of warning however, the answers may be confronting. We may have to acknowledge that what we want is not what we are doing. Initially that can be quite unsettling, however, knowing what we don’t want, is often a helpful first step in becoming clear on what we do want.

Another thing to be aware of is the tendency to limit our dreams to what we think is possible, because we think we have to know HOW to make it happen. Wrong! When it comes to creating our life we don’t have to know ‘how’, we just need to know what and why.

If we know what and why, Universal energy takes care of the ‘how’. I can hear you say “sure sure…but!” Hopefully the following analogy, another wonderful gift from Saraswati’s Dream Builder course, will help get past the blocks that just popped up. I share this whenever I can simply because I have experienced it to be true.

If we want to build a new house we image and dream about what we want in our new house. We get excited because a new house is something to be excited about. Then we find a builder and tell him what we want. We find a builder because even though we know what we want in our new house we don’t actually know how to build it. The builder does because that’s his job.

Our job is to tell him what we want and then be an active participant in the process. The builder will come back with questions, some things will need to be clarified, and others refined. Sometimes the builder will say that something can’t happen, sometimes he will suggest something new that will work even better. It’s our new house so we are completely engaged in the process, watching, listening, learning and responding as we need to. With the right builder our new home turns out even better than we originally dreamed.

So, when we are creating our life the Universe is the builder. The first step is to acknowledge that we want to stop letting circumstances dictate our life, that we want something more. Then we dream and create a vision of the life we want. If the dream includes things that we don’t know how to do or get, and if it is a worthy dream it will, we trust the ‘builder’ to have the answers. It’s not that they are not possible, we just don’t know how to do them or make them happen, so we think it’s not possible. The Universal builder however is guiding and supporting us. It has the energy that created life at its disposal, so really, anything is possible. That’s why when creating a dream it’s a good idea to finish with…”this or something better“. The Universe may have ideas that are simply outside the realms of our imagination.

So when you ask yourself the questions, where do I want to be, what do I want to be doing, how do I want to be feeling…don’t be afraid to answer those questions truthfully, this is meant to be a soul searching exercise. It’s not something you ask once or write down once. This is about your life, every aspect of it: where do I want to be; what relationships do I want; how do I want to be in those relationships; where do I want to be living; how do I want to express myself in the world; how do I want my health to be; and what do I want materially. Don’t be afraid to ask for abundance, a spiritual life can be filled with abundance, using that abundance for the good of everyone.

How do you want to live your life? Where are you? What are you doing?

The life I am living today hasn’t just happened, it’s been a focused process of getting to know myself, learning what brings me joy, understanding my gifts and wanting to offer them to the world.

Over 10 years ago when I began to practice Ayurveda, I was excited and there was a deep desire to share this amazing knowledge with people, to create an Ayurveda Community. I was the only practitioner in Newcastle for over 6 years so it was a lonely time from that perspective. Slowly over years l built up a database of over 600 people, saw a few hundred clients, ran workshops, courses and retreats and started an Ayurveda Sangha (Sangha means community).

I had great plans for the Sangha but it never really took off in the way I wanted. I envisaged a room full of people and it never even came close to that. There was however, a small core group of people, who kept coming back and every month there would be someone new. I nearly let it go a few times because it wasn’t ‘working’, but part of me knew that was my ego talking, and so I kept going. I kept going because it was part of my dream.

Now I find myself living at Mangrove Yoga Ashram standing in the doorway of much bigger version of my dream than I ever imagined. The Ashram is working with me to explore the possibility of developing a formal qualification in Ayurveda, I am providing regular information sessions for visitors, volunteers & residents, setting up a little treatment space, running weekend Ayurveda retreats, surrounded by people saying more please. Just this morning a visitor asked me if I would be interested in running an outside course for them and in 3 weeks Coralie and I return to Bali for our next 2WiseWomen retreat.

I am literally living my dream. 10 years ago was this what I envisaged? No! 5 years ago? No!Looking back I can see that a myriad of circumstances have supported and guided me to this point, however I can’t say exactly HOW I got here…I just did.

That’s the Universal builder at work.

That is why it is important not to get caught up in limiting your dream based on what you think you can or can’t do. You just never know where it is going to take you, and mine is certainly acting out in a much bigger way than I would have ever thought possible.

So let yourself dream and dream big. Then give yourself permission to follow that dream regardless of the circumstances. Anyone who has achieved great things in their life did not let the circumstances decide what they would do. They did it in spite of the circumstances. Ghandi did. Nelson Mandela did. Who are we to limit resized for MCwhat we have to offer the world.

Happy dreaming.

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This is what is happening but is it really what I want?

I really love it when one of our newsletters or posts prompts a person to drop us a line and share what’s been happening on their wellbeing and awareness journey. Today I received an e-mail from a woman who was part of last year’s Living Loving Life (LLL) course. She told me she had been thinking about coming to Bali but…

“…life has been busy this year so far and I’m sure that is what I asked for but (I am) waiting to see if that’s what I really want!!”

I love this. First, she understands that she is creating whatever is happening in her life and secondly, there is a level of awareness checking-in with whether what she is creating is what she really wants.

This women is a professional health worker and when she finished the LLL course, in the final sharing she told the group that for the first time in her life she felt like she had choices. She could see now that life wasn’t something that was just happening to her, that her choices were creating her life, and in making different choices she could begin to steer her life in a different direction.

This is no small thing, in fact it is a really, really big thing. This understanding and awareness is the cornerstone to creating a life we love to live, not just one we want to survive.

Often, it is the big, obvious things that come to mind when we think about changing our life, things like our work, where we live, or our relationships. I have learnt however that being unhappy with life has more to do with our beliefs and attitudes than about what we are doing, where we are living and who we are with. In fact, what we are doing and who we are with are usually a reflection of our beliefs and attitudes.

If there is a part of me that is constantly seeking approval to feel loved, and through experience I have learnt that approval comes from getting things done, being helpful, getting it right or looking good…then no amount of wanting to stop being so busy is going to work. There will always be a reason why I can’t stop…there will always be someone to help…something to finish…or to get right. Because without that, I won’t get the approval that I unconsciously need to feel OK about myself.

One of my favourite sayings is ‘if nothing changes, nothing changes’.

Sometimes, even after making drastic changes like leaving a relationship or a job, we can find ourselves right back in a similar situation again…and again…and again. Why does this keep happening? When we find ourselves in these déjà vu situations, what hasn’t changed is our understanding of who we are and what we really want. Our outer circumstances may look different but if nothing has changed internally then often the new partner or new boss will begin to resemble what we thought we had left behind…again.

With the help of Yoga and Ayurveda I have spent the last 15 years consciously unravelling the old stories of who I thought I should and could be, to find who I am and what is important to me. Simply put I have been developing my awareness. I love how the wisdom and simple daily practices of these two wise women have helped me grow on all levels, and in doing so have changed me and my life in ways I could never have even imagined.

Take home point: The journey begins and ends with awareness. Life isn’t a goal to be achieved or even a destination, it is a path. Having Yoga and Ayurveda on my side is like driving at night with the benefit of high beam, it helps me to see where I am going, know if I am on the right road and avoid the potholes.

The next 2WiseWomen retreat is in August 2016 in Ubud Bali. Yoga and Ayurveda’s take on Women’s Health & Spirituality.

Coming back to basics -15 May 2016.

I am finding myself in a bit of a post adventure slump at the moment. The last 4 months has been packed with movement and excitement and coming home has thrown me a bit. On Monday night I realised that I hadn’t done a morning practice since I arrived home over 2 weeks ago, and I knew that this was a big part of why I was feeling the way I was.

This happens to me from time to time, like most people. In the past I would give myself a bit of a hard time, however I try not to do that anymore. Instead, as soon as I see what is happening I know that quickest and simplest remedy is to come back to my basic practices.

So, yesterday I got up when I woke, scrapped my tongue, had a ginger, lemon & honey tea, spent some time on the cushion and mat, gave myself a self-massage and had a delicious spiced apple smoothie for breakfast. I also got on the phone to a friend and said I need some help, because reaching out is something else I have learned to do. Surrounding ourselves with people who are there to support us is so important it has become one of my three pillars of living well.

How to live well is not rocket science and the practices aren’t hard…sometimes we just lose touch and forget that it’s the little things we do every day that are the real foundation of our health and wellbeing…things like scraping our tongue, taking some time to reflect and rest, moving, breathing, eating regular meals and going to bed on time. Or as Coralie suggested we try and be too clever when all we need is simple…keep it simple sweetheart!

After just one day back to my practice I feel lighter and my energy is flowing again. I was even able to hear the little voice during this morning’s mediation that told me the theme for our next 2WiseWomen gathering…coming back to basics. So that’s what we will be exploring…some of the principles and simple daily practices of Yoga and Ayurveda that keep us on track as we navigate life’s day to day adventures.

Sunday, 15 May 2016
10.00am – 3.30pm
Bhakti Tree, 410 Maitland Road Mayfield
$65 (includes morning tea & lunch)
Book here

The conversation, company, practices, chai and sesame sweeties at our last gathering were great, however we all agreed that it went way too quickly.

So this time…its longer and we’ll do lunch!

We’ll talk about coming back to basics, do some fun, simple practices, eat some delicious Ayurvedic food and of course…drink chai. A perfect day out.
Book here

Share the journey
Feel free to share this with your family and friends. Helping others access the knowledge and tools to live well is an amazing gift, and its great to share the journey. Coralie and I were talking yesterday about how great it is when couples explore together how to live well. It can be tough to make changes on your own, but it’s much easier when two people are on the same page…so feel free to bring your special someone along too. Yoga & Ayurveda are the 2WiseWomen and their wisdom is for everyone. In fact, we would love to have men and even couples come to Bali with us. Just planting a seed!

Yoga & Ayurveda in Bali
Speaking of Bali, while you are here, have a look at the courses and take advantage of 10% off the June course for those who attend the workshops!

Held in the beautiful grounds of Narasoma Retreat centre this 8 day/night course is all about the experience of Living Yoga & Ayurveda. There is so much that can be said but really nothing equals an experience, and it’s a life changing experience if you are ready to embrace what Yoga and Ayurveda have to offer.

Our intention is to create a space for you to step out of your life for 8 days and experience how to live a bit differently. The daily program is structured, meal times are regular, vegetarian food is simple and delicious, the body and mind are toned with daily yoga practices and pampered with massages, and a regular routine for sleeping and rising is established. Within that framework we share with you how Yoga & Ayurveda work together to restore positive and resilient good health on all levels; physical, mental and spiritual. The systems are simple, gentle and extraordinarily effective and in just one week we promise you will notice the difference. Your energy will flow more freely and life will feel easier.
Information and Registrations

Stay in touch
If you want to know when something new is happening and read our offerings sign up here.

X Coralie & Mary

‘Living well’…what does that really mean?

Walking along my beautiful Redhead Beach this morning I was thinking about life, what I do and why I do it, and it all came down to simply wanting to live well. Deep down I think that’s all most people want. To feel healthy and happy, and good about who we are and what we do in this life.

So…what does it mean to live well? What are the actual ingredients for living well? Lots of different things come to mind however sifting through them I noticed that three things seemed to underpin them all…

Stool

Connection with Nature
Simply put…we are part of Nature and Nature has certain laws and rhythms. When we eat and live in accordance with those laws and rhythms we feel well and when we don’t…we don’t.

Two simple examples demonstrate the intimate connection between our health and wellbeing and Nature, and as you can see it’s not rocket science.

The foods that grow in a particular season have the qualities that are most beneficial for our health and wellbeing at that time. Foods with cooling qualities, like sweet fruits and leafy greens grow in summer to help us stay cool. Foods with warming qualities, like heavier root vegetables and sour fruits grown in winter help us stay warm. Eating what is in season, as close to it’s natural ‘packaging’ as possible is an important dimension of our connection with Nature.

The production of hormones in our body are also linked to nature’s rhythms. For example, the production of melatonin is triggered by the setting of the sun, which is Nature’s way of telling us when to go to bed. Melatonin not only regulates our natural sleep pattern, it reduces stress, it’s an antioxidant which means it slows down the ageing process, it decreases cholesterol and generally makes you feel better. Staying up late and exposure to light at night, particularly the blue light of TVs and computer screens, inhibits the production of melatonin. Try turning off the screens, light some candles, have a warm drink and go to bed before 10.00pm. You won’t believe how much better you will feel the next day.

Good company
One thing I have heard consistently over the years is the importance of ‘good company’. Having people in our lives who encourage and support us to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. People who encourage us to learn and grow…not to become perfect…simply a better version of ourselves.

Finding out who we are and what we want to do in this world is not always an easy thing. Invariably there may be people in our life who think they know who we should be and what we should do, and have a vested interest in us following that path. If that is the case make sure you also have a community or network that supports you in being the best version of yourself, and following your own path. It’s a truly wonderful thing.

Sense of self-worth…I’m ok/enough
For me this is the real game changer and the most challenging. Eating well and living in accordance with Nature’s rhythms usually comes fairly easily for me, and I am surrounded by family and friends that support me in who I am and what I do. What comes less easily is believing in myself. Navigating the deeply embedded, and often destructive patterns of behaviour, and disempowering beliefs that have developed on the basic premise that I am ‘not enough’.

Learning to develop a strong sense of enoughness has been the most profound part of my journey to date, and I suspect will continue to be so. I am becoming better at noticing when an ‘old story’ hijacks something that is happening now. I am beginning to see more clearly how my reaction to something is being influenced by what has happened in the past rather than what is happening now.

Reprogramming these beliefs often feels like a slow and laborious process, as the same patterns seem to keep repeating themselves, but every time I catch them in the act and choose to ignore the old story, something shifts and changes. The old story loses some of its power and I feel stronger. I am gradually changing my ‘programming’ to ‘I am OK…I am enough’.

Living Well…a conscious, daily commitment to myself
So, those are my three pillars of health…equally important and interconnected…a bit like the 3 legs of a stool. Take one leg away and my life starts to feel a bit wobbly and topples over. Standing on all three legs I feel stronger and more balanced, however keeping it upright is a conscious, daily commitment to myself.

Stepping outside the limitations of my own beliefs is scary, however I know it is the key to feeling free and safe in this life. I am better equipped to take on this challenge when I feel connected to nature, by eating and living as nature intended. I find it easier to cultivate that connection when I keep ‘good company and have people in my life that share my values and belief.

Right now I am feeling happy and grateful in my life. I feel physically well…healthy and strong; I know what I want, I am surrounded by family and friends that support who I am and my journey, and I am consciously trying to change the ‘programming’ that put limits on what that looks like. Tomorrow I may find myself plunged back into ‘not enoughness’, feel that my sense of connection with nature has slipped away, and because I am feeling down withdraw a bit from my friends. The stool topples over!

That happens occasionally…its called life!

When it does…I stand myself back up by reconnecting with nature thru my daily practices and eating well, reaching out to my friends for support, and reminding myself that I am enough, that my ‘old stories’ do not define me.

Learn more about how to Live Well
Coming back to basics: Yoga & Ayurveda 101.
10.00am – 3.30pm on 15 May 2016
In this Coming back to basics workshop we will explore some simple, daily practices within Yoga and Ayurveda that help us to Live Well. Coralie and I have a whole range of practices that keep us upright and we look forward to sharing them with you.
More information and bookings.

Living Yoga & Ayurveda Course in Ubud, Bali
4-12 June 2016
For those of you who want to delve deeper, this 8 day/night course at the beautiful Narasoma Retreat Centre in Ubud is all about the experience of living well and learning how to do that.

There is so much that can be said but really nothing equals an experience. Our intention is to create a space for you to step out of your life for 8 days and experience how to live a bit differently. The daily program is structured, meal times are regular, vegetarian food is simple and delicious, the body and mind are toned with daily yoga practices and pampered with massages, and a regular routine for sleeping and rising is established. Within that framework we share with you how Yoga & Ayurveda work together to restore positive and resilient good health on all levels; physical, mental and spiritual. The systems are simple, gentle and extraordinarily effective and in just one week we promise you will notice the difference. Your energy will flow more freely and life will feel easier.
More information and bookings

If you have found this of interest and want to know when something new is available sign up to stay in touch.

Coming home a better version of myself

A week today I will fly out of Bangkok, destination Sydney, with a few days in Perth on route to visit my beautiful daughter, adorable grandson and wonderful son-in-law. When I land in Sydney it will be 4 months almost to the day that I left for India. I have already shared in another post how the first leg of my journey didn’t quite go to plan, however in hindsight it was the perfect beginning for letting go of any expectations. I am glad I did, because I am coming home with something more than I could have imagined.

Many years ago a friend suggested that despite all our efforts to change “we don’t ever really change, we just become a better version of ourselves”. I have thought about that often over the years, even quoted it, however I realise now that on some level it had always felt a bit like a cop out, like I was settling for less than perfect.

The last 4 months however have helped me understand it at a deeper level, particularly the last month spent in a fairly intense yoga course at the Pantrix Alternate Centre, in Thailand. The centre is run by Pancho and Beatrix. Pancho was born in California and is an artist, musician who sort of by accident became a yoga teacher. Beatrix was born in Europe and is an artist, astrologist, Reiki Master and yoga teacher. They have travelled the world together, studying yoga and doing their art for over 30 years. In doing so they have amassed a wealth of experience and knowledge which they love to share, and do so very well.

I need to let you know that I had become quite attached to my post-menopause status these days and very ‘comfortable’ in my yoga practice. That means I wasn’t into pushing any boundaries physically, and I could often be heard referring to my ‘post-menopause’ status as the reason.

This course however pushed all my boundaries.

Pancho frequently referred to the aim of all the practices we were doing as “becoming a better version of ourselves”. He suggested that our approach to life can basically be summed up as two piles. The first pile is all the things that make us feel uncomfortable, the things we like to avoid, be they people, activities, thoughts or feelings. The second pile is all the things that help distract us from the first pile. He suggested that the way to become better versions of ourselves is to step away from pile number 2 for a while and investigate pile number 1. In short the course is about pulling on the strings attached to all the things in pile number 1.

So what have I learnt from rummaging through pile number 1?

Simply, that creating a ‘comfortable’ life limits my potential, and keeps me from becoming a better version of myself. On a physical level I have done practices that I did not think I could, which has in turn freed me up on an emotional and mental level. The whole purpose of yoga.

Also that by allowing myself to go beyond the boundaries of pile number 2 and engage with the discomfort of pile number 1, the size of the pile has reduced. With less things to avoid I feel freer to accept what life offers.

So in short, the outcome of all this string pulling is that I am coming home a better version of myself, and in no way does that feel like I am ‘settling for less than perfect’. A better version of me feels awesome, and it hasn’t come about by taking the easy road. I have had to do a lot of digging and cutting away to reveal this better version, a bit like Michelangelo’s description of revealing the image of David within the block of marble.

It’s been an interesting leg of the journey.

xxMary