A Spring Clean – or how to kick your own butt :)

935912_10151636279043965_1941668570_nAyurvedically speaking, we come into spring bearing the burdens of the winter. Ayurvedic practitioners describe this as an accumulation of the kapha doshaheavy, slow, cold, oily, steady, solid, soft . Spring is the season between the kapha season of winter and the pitta season of summer – hot, light, intense, penetrating, sharp, pungent, acidic – and so we find that the body wants to shed the cool heaviness of winter and move towards the warm lightness of summer. Often, this movement from the protective energy of winter to the expansive energy of summer can result in us feeling bloated, lethargic, heavy, and if we don’t change our routines, we’ll get sick – colds and allergies are typical. That is why Spring is the perfect time for a cleanse, and like all things, we can do it the easy way or the hard way – the easy way being to listen to our body and embrace wellness, and the hard way being to ignore our bodies and get sick.

I have a kapha dominant dosha anyway (click here to find out yours if you don’t know it), so I was feeling bloated, slow to start in the morning and heavy. To make matters worse, I had just come off 50+ days of a structured yoga practice focusing on the heart and throat chakra, and I was having trouble setting a new yoga routine. I would come over, sit on my yoga mat and go through my yoga magazines and my folder of yoga sequences that I keep for moments like this – not be able to decide what to do, and end up not doing yoga at all! I had also wanted to do an ayurvedic spring cleanse, which involves eating a simple kitchari (rice and dhal) for lunch and dinner. Yep, I couldn’t motivate myself to start that either :/. Talk about frustrating.

I needed a kick up the butt, and fast! Lucky for me, I found it in this amazing Strawberry-Grapefruit Smoothie at Food: A Love Story. It looks kind of innocent and easy too, so I made it, and gave everyone in the house a glass. Wow, the bitterness of the grapefruit is so perfect for this time of year, and is one of the ayurvedic tastes that is recommended to increase in your diet this time of year – astringent and spicy being the others – all of which are present in this smoothie.

Strawberry-grapefruit smoothies from Whole Living.

Strawberry-grapefruit smoothies from Whole Living.

Strawberry and Grapefruit Smoothie
Makes two serves

1/2 grapefruit, peeled
1/2 green apple, peeled
1 cup fresh or frozen berries
1 cup of water
honey to taste
ginger or cinnamon according to preference

Put the fruit and water in a blender and process until smooth. Add honey and spice.
Be prepared to have your butt kicked in the best of ways :)

I don’t know, but it all came together after that :) I worked out a great yoga sequence which I’m practicing using the principles of kapha balancing:

  • Move quickly, focusing on precision.
  • When moving from one pose to another, be sharp.
  • Challenge yourself. Kapha loves their comfort zone and can get complacent in their yoga practice. Hold the pose for one breath longer than you think you can.
  • Keep an upward gaze.

Cat pose to warm up

5 rounds of sun salutations

Utkatasana – chair pose

Twisting chair pose 3 times on each side with the breath

Chandrasana – half moon pose

Warrior 2

Trikonasana – triangle pose

Tree Pose

Bridge pose

Upward plank

Headstand

Viparati Karani – legs up the wall, together then apart.

And today, I’m preparing my kitchari for a simple 3 day cleanse – check it out here if you’re interested. Bring on the Spring, baby!

How are you feeling this spring?

Weekend Inspiration #13

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years – if plans change, if something doesn’t turn out like you expected – good. Expect the unexpected and learn to roll with it. It’s juicy. On Thursday morning I turned up to my yoga class as normal – to find that it wasn’t on. The class had been cancelled last week, and as I hadn’t gone to that class, I didn’t know about it. I considered getting cranky – after all, an email could have been sent, and if I knew I didn’t have to go to yoga I wouldn’t have left the house quite so early, and I wouldn’t be stuck in town wearing my yoga clothes all day. After a couple of seconds I decided not to waste my long, lovely day by being cranky. Another woman had turned up to class as well – I had chatted with her a couple of times, and had thought that I would love to get to know her better. So, I invited her to have a coffee with me at the cafe my friends and I usually go to after yoga class. I didn’t get to do my yoga class, but I did get to make a new friend, who’s funny, kind, interesting – and we talked a lot about yoga, if that counts :). And later on, guess who walked into the cafe? That’s right, my yoga teacher with her mother (also a yoga teacher) and her two children :).

Best Read

The Goodest, Hardest Look at Yourself by Jennifer Pastiloff at The Manifest-Station

I know, I just love this woman – her writing is superb, she’s a yoga teacher, travels the world and beautiful to boot. Yet, she’s just like us. For 13 years she worked as a waitress in the same restaurant. Feeling like a failure, not writing, having a half arsed go at life. And then she had a good, hard look at herself. Things changed, as they do. I know this story you see – I worked in a supermarket for four years after I left school, hating myself for being stuck in this job, but not knowing how to leave it. I can’t describe how soul destroying those years were. And you know, things changed for me too. I took my own life in my own goddamn hands and steered it in a direction where I wanted to go. But the point is, at some stage we all have to have the goodest, hardest look at ourselves.

So I hope that if you are in a place in your life, or a job, where you feel stuck or miserable or like you want to crawl under the table and hide between the customer’s legs and eat the scraps off the floor just so you don’t have to face the world- I implore you to do something. I don’t know what that something is. Maybe it’s writing. Maybe it’s taking the goodest, hardest look at yourself you ever did take. Maybe it’s asking some uncomfortable questions and waiting for the answers. I don’t know. I did those things.

Best poetry

I came across this wonderful poem the other day from Diana on A Holistic Journey:

st r u gg ling artist

so   i    decided
i am more than the answer to "what's for dinner?"    
     the unrelenting pile of dishes

i am more than the name i changed at the altar,
     and the ways i fail Husband

i am more than the boy i nursed 'til i was spent
and would give up my only breath for, more
     than the worry over the
     mishaps that visit children

caught. i feel caught  between
the rock of guilt   and   the hard place of time

as i push push my way through this beautiful life i don't deserve
for a chance to paint the helpless run of words

en route to errands i pop in an audio - Pooh's tales,
then settle back for the story that wants to tell in my head
and catch it on paper when i park the car

i race, i snatch and just the same watch
the minutes fall 
                       through
                                      hungry fingers

i am more than the faith that rose from my dead life
     because we are more than spirit but too, flesh and mind,
     borne of the Living Word that justifies our reply

what does it say of me as Wife and Mother, my grateful honor --

but that i am happiest
     (clap hand over mouth)

when my dreams find their light in the words
that come together, sometimes soldiers
in sharp line or ballerinas
in fluid form?

i realize it is never a burden, a fresh joy each time

i am the song of history and hope
(except the Greatest Women past and present have denied themselves)

through the fatigue i wear in my bones, i delight through 
the hard, hard way to get it down    just so
so u can s e e    the art and grace    in the world that thrill me

i know the prince and the pauper are apportioned the same
hours but my time feels rationed

pl e a se, let me finish this thought, but
    -- the but --
                     incommodius conjunction, dissolution
of my right to self

i am more than the Kitchen i have loved but it needs taming 
because i am Wife and Mother and there i go to 
the unrelenting pile of dishes i am 
more than

Doesn’t it just slay you?

Best Yoga

I saw this the other day, and I wanted to share it with you:

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This picture is part of a size doesn’t matter yoga movement, challenging the yoga images we see every day of thin, bendy girls doing impossible things. Chances are, you don’t look like that, you can’t do those things, and neither can I. Guess what? It’s okay, more than okay actually. If you’re on the mat, practicing yoga, you rock. By the way, isn’t her standing forward bend fabulous? If you click on this image, the link will take you to her facebook page. Check out the one where she’s doing Hanumanasana – the monkey pose. Awesome.

I received a highly amusing tumblr message the other day asking “if you do so much yoga, shouldn’t your extra weight be melting off?” While my knee jerk reaction to this query was somewhere between ‘jaw scraping the ground’ and ‘angry white woman with an incorrect Starbucks order’, I’ll try to manage a response that avoids both of those extremes. So….here’s the thing- Yoga is not a weight-loss magical solution. Practicing frequently is not the solo key to massive weight loss. For the record, I have actually lost a substantial amount of weight since I began practicing regularly- it came off very gradually, and I’ve experienced more toning, strength conditioning, and muscle definition than anything else. However, it’s kind of impossible to lose weight (IN A HEALTHY WAY) without regulating your diet to some extent. And therein lies the key difference- I don’t regulate my diet. I mean, I definitely actively avoid “non-food”- sodas, most snack-y processed foods. But if I feel like eating a bacon wrapped @KrispyKreme doughnut, I’m going to eat it. Because… (pause for dramatic effect) I DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT LOSING WEIGHT. It’s not important to me. Being thin is not one of my life priorities. I don’t think it will make me a funnier, smarter, more interesting creature. My practice fulfills me in a way losing weight never has- and THAT’S why I do it. So if you’re out there thinking “Damn, how does that fat girl keep the pounds on when she maintains a regular #yoga practice?”- now you have your answer. Because I like being fat. Case closed.

Best Music

Now, this isn’t particularly new – but hey, that’s why the heading says Best Music rather than Best New Music, right? If you’re Australian, you might be familiar with these guys, but if you’re from anywhere else, you probably won’t be. Here’s the thing: you should be familiar with them, because this is one awesome album.

Busby-Marou-Deluxe-Edition

Thomas Busby and Jeremy Marou are the duo behind Busby Marou. This is their first album, released in 2011. Their second album, Leaving Fitzroy was released in 2012. They are both from Rockhampton in northern Queensland – Jeremy Marou has Torres Strait island heritage and both performers come from musical families. They have won several awards, including an APRA award for Best Blues and Roots Work.

This is the second song off this album, and their hit single, Biding my Time:

Best Watch

Emma Watson (from Harry Potter fame) is the UN Women’s Global Goodwill Ambassador, and is speaking here to the UN about gender inequality and the HeForShe campaign. It’s a beautiful speech, but what I really liked about it was how it showed the evolution of the feminist movement into a gender movement. Emma says:

How can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcomed to participate in the conversation? Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation.

Gender equality is your issue too. Because to date I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society despite my needing his presence as a child as much as my mother’s. I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them less of a men or less of a man. In fact, in the UK, suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20 – 49, eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either.

We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.

I want men to take up this mantel so that their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too, reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.

This is real, 21st century feminism, because it’s not just about women. Men are suffering too.

That’s it from me, my friends – have a beautiful weekend.

st r u gg ling artist

sara:

She had me at “So I decided I’m more than the answer to ‘whats for dinner?'” A beautiful piece of prose that I feel like I wrote myself, so exactly does it mirror my own sentiments.

Originally posted on A Holistic Journey:

                     so i decided i am more than the answer to "what's for dinner?"          the unrelenting pile of dishes i am more than the name i changed at the altar,      and the ways i fail Husband i am more than the boy i nursed 'til i was spent and would give up my only breath for, more      than the worry over the      mishaps that visit children caught. i feel caught  between the rock of guilt   and   the hard place of time as i push push my way through this beautiful life i don't deserve for a chance to paint the helpless run of words en route to errands i pop in an audio - Pooh's tales, then settle back for the story that wants to tell in my head and catch it on paper when i park the car i…

View original 259 more words

Weekend Inspiration #12

I had a massage yesterday. I know: in your mind, you’re conjuring up heated towels, scented candles and an hour or so of pampered bliss. My friends, it wasn’t that type of massage :). This is deep, deep body work, with emotional release and counselling as well. Today we were working on releasing the muscles in the front of the throat, chest, shoulder and abdomen. All of my vulnerable places. My job was to talk about whatever came up during that process. I found myself talking about my childhood asthma, motherhood and perfection. About how I had decided fairly early on that I wouldn’t have children, because from what I could see, even the best, most conscious parents hurt and damage their children. I could bear my own pain, but I couldn’t bear the thought of inflicting permanent pain on my own innocent children; so I could either be perfect (obviously impossible) or not have children. And then you know, I met the Bear who wanted to have children, and I thought it would be okay, we could do this hard thing together. I found out that I can do this hard thing called motherhood. I try very hard to be perfect, and I fail at that everyday. Like every mother in the world I cause my children pain, some of which will remain with them throughout their lives, and the very thought of that makes me weep, as I sit here, writing these words. I don’t know if I am a good mother, but I try very hard, if that counts. I have found out this about motherhood, as opposed to any other thing in this world: you can’t leave it. No matter how heartbroken, exhausted and sick of it you are, you can never leave. This fact means that once you are enrolled in the subject of motherhood in Earth School, it becomes a compulsory subject. For me, motherhood is about showing up, being committed (as in going crazy and keeping your promises!), consistency, respect, community and above all love. It’s not about perfection.

perfection

Best (short) Read:

This is a post from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook page. She has been a speaker on the recent Oprah’s Life You Want Tour, and she wrote this after she saw Iyanla Vanzant speak:

THOUGHT OF THE DAY: “Have the courage to do what you need to do before you are FORCED to do it.”

Dear Ones -

Iyanla Vanzant was incredible yesterday at Oprah’s The Life You Want Tour. Like: ON FIRE. She’s a speaker of the truth, and I love it. So much of what she has to teach is about ultimate self-accountablity, and as she spoke I had more than a few moments of electric self-recognition about things I have done in the past (or am still doing!) that invite mess and dysfunction into my life.

Let me quote one particularly resonant passage of her speech:

“Have the courage to do what you need to do before you are FORCED to do it. And when you are forced to do it, don’t get mad at the people who forced you to do it.”

Does this make as much sense to anyone else out there as it does to me? Does it remind you of yourself as much as it reminded me of me?

I don’t like conflict. I aim for appeasement. I often dodge the chance to directly address problems early on, because I hope the problems will go away. I deny and I duck and I put my hands over my ears and say, “La-la-la-la-la.” And then, guess what? Sometimes those problems don’t away. In fact, they blow up in my face — often through another person’s reflexive or angry action. And then I think, “God, what a mess that person has made in my life!” When in fact that person was just acting out in a dysfunctional manner because of a completely screwed up scenario that I had allowed to continue for far too long — because I didn’t have the courage to address it earlier. It is not their fault that things got messy; it is my fault that I didn’t clean up my own house sooner.

I started to learn a long time ago that if we don’t take action in our lives, action will be foisted upon us — and you might not like how it plays out. You may stay passive as much as you like, but destiny will not rest. If you sit there long enough and do nothing, shit will go down, anyhow. So you can either change bad situations yourself, or you can wait for them to detonate upon you (on someone else’s terms)…but it’s probably better if you take it in your own hands sooner.

I am still learning this. I can see messy things that happened in my life this very year, because I didn’t want to cope with problems sooner. I’m not beating myself up here about it. (Nor should you.) It’s over. (As Iyanla says: “If it’s in the past…you passed.”) But I took note of this idea yesterday, and told myself, “Liz, stay alert. Heads up. Start speaking your truth sooner. You’ve been put on watch.”

And this is how we learn and grow.

ONWARD,
LG

Ahem :)

Best Astrology:

From Big Sky Astrology - click on the image to check them out.

From Big Sky Astrology – click on the image to check them out.

Last weekend, Mars, the God of War and Action, left Scorpio and moved into Sagittarius. Seriously, can you feel the difference? For six long weeks, our energy has been directed at all things Scorpio – the hidden, the dark, the mystery, secrets, sex, taboo, deep personal work. It’s been great :) Actually, it has, and because Saturn is in Scorpio as well, you can be sure that whatever you learned about yourself (or other people!) during this time will be with you for a long, long time. But Mars in Saggitarius! Now that’s a fresh vibe :). Think: lots of action around travel, philosophy, higher learning, physical activity, adventures – and probably lots of foot in mouth situations :) Here are my two Mars in Saggitarius stories for this week:

  1. On Wednesday while at work, my boss told me that we would all be playing netball for sport. My blood froze for a moment, coagulating in horror. Netball?? Let me tell you something about myself: team sport is not my thing, especially anything with a ball. But netball holds a special place of fear in my heart, as it was the sport most girls knew how to play at school, except me and a few other small schools girls. However, I’m all grown up now apparently, so I metaphorically girded my loins, donned my bib and got ready to defend my goal against five 10-12 year olds :) We played for a sweaty, exhilarating 30 minutes, and afterwards I said to my boss. “I never thought I would say netball and fun in the same sentence!” Mars in sagittarius.
  2. I bought my daughter a new bike this week – a friend was selling her daughter’s hardly used bike, and it looked much better than the one we already had. It was more a hopeful purchase, because I hadn’t had much luck teaching her how to ride a bike – she just didn’t feel safe on the two wheeled bike, even with training wheels. So, we take the bike across the road to practise on the school’s flat grassy area. In five minutes she was riding that damn bike by herself. By the end of the week, she was starting herself off, riding down hills, weaving in and out of obstacles and going over little jumps. Mars in saggitarius. 

Take note of any new feelings of courage, yearnings for adventure or desire to expand your mind and your horizons for the next couple of months – honouring these feelings will put you in the universal flow, which is of course what astrology is!

Best Blog:

This is a little shout out to Nicole Cody from Cauldrons and Cupcakes, one of my favourite blogs. Nicole is Australian and lives in a similar part of the country to me, probably only 3 or 4 hours away. Her blog was nominated in the 2014 Best Australian Blogs competition and she has been Freshly Pressed. She describes herself as a psychic, metaphysical teacher, organic farmer, writer and lover of life. She is also a sufferer of chronic Lymes Disease. All that aside though, her blog is wonderful, full of wisdom, humour, food, spirit and beauty. I really enjoyed this recent piece from her, My Whole Life I Was Wrong. Just wonderful.

Best Anticipation:

It’s the first day of a two week period of school holidays (if you live in NSW Australia :) ). Already I am looking forward to a weekend away with the family on our favourite farm, a night and day alone, a friend’s birthday party, sleepovers and catching up with my friends that I don’t get to see during term time. No school lunches, no timetables, just freedom. Yippee!

Best Graphic/Words:

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Have  a beautiful weekend people :).

She let go

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She let go.
She let go.
Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear.
She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.
Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice.
She didn’t read a book on how to let go.
She didn’t search the scriptures.
She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word.
She just let go.
No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort.
There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

- Safire Rose

One of my favourite ever poems :)

A walk through my garden…

Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers. Let me keep company, always, with those that say, “Look!,” and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads.

~ Mary Oliver

There is a reason why there are so many poems written about spring – and paintings painted, songs sung…it’s just so damn beautiful! I can only imagine what Spring would be like in the cold countries after a long, bitterly cold winter – but even here with our relatively mild winters, spring inspires.

Come, and I’ll walk you through my garden:

It's early - 7am - but I have been up for about 2 hours. I walk outside of my studio cottage where I work, write and do yoga, and look down upon it from atop the grassy bank. The wild yellow roses are just starting to bloom, and the miniature daisies are standing straight up to attention like tiny floral soldiers.

It’s early – 7am – but I have been up for about 2 hours. I walk outside of my studio cottage where I work, write and do yoga, and look down upon it from atop the grassy bank. The wild yellow roses are just starting to bloom, and the miniature daisies are standing straight up to attention like tiny floral soldiers.

 

When I walk up closer to investigate, I am struck, as i am every year, by the perfection of the tiny rose, a miniature embodiment of the sun itself.

When I walk up closer to investigate, I am struck, as I am every year, by the perfection of the tiny rose, a miniature embodiment of the sun itself.

 

I walk back over to the house - it's nearly time to get the kids ready for school, but the light is perfect at the moment. The bit of the house you can see is part of our back verandah and main bedroom. Running alongside of it is one of my favourite places in our garden. Only shade loving things grow here, and these cliveas with their sturdy brightness glow like beacons in the night.

I walk back over to the house – it’s nearly time to get the kids ready for school, but the light is perfect at the moment. The bit of the house you can see is part of our back verandah and main bedroom. Running alongside of it is one of my favourite places in our garden. Only shade loving things grow here, and these Cliveas with their sturdy orange brightness glow like beacons in the night.

 

In this same garden, through the tiny path and out on the other side, is this Camellia. She is beautiful, but prone to long periods (years in fact) of sulking. It took years for her to get over being moved here, but she seems to have finally accepted it :)

In this same garden, through the tiny path and out on the other side, is this Camellia. She is beautiful, but prone to long periods (years in fact) of sulking. It took years for her to get over being moved here, but she seems to have finally accepted it :)

 

Out the back of the house, between the bathroom and the shed is my herb garden. Only the most hardiest herbs have survived our dry frosty winter - rosemary, yarrow, echinacea, evening primrose, oregano, mint, chives, thyme and some scraggly rocket. I will plant soon though - I want some lavender, and basil for starters :)

Out the back of the house, between the bathroom and the shed is my herb garden. Only the most hardiest herbs have survived our dry frosty winter – rosemary, yarrow, echinacea, evening primrose, oregano, mint, chives, thyme and some scraggly rocket. I will plant soon though – I want some lavender, and basil for starters :) There’s my beautiful daughter there in the background :)

 

 

Up towards the back of our one acre, near the chicken pen, is our vegetable garden. Any plant that has survived the winter is a true hardy survivor :) Calendulas, parsley, silverbeet, sorrel and oregano have all earned my respect this year :)

Up towards the back of our one acre, near the chicken pen, is our vegetable garden. Any plant that has survived the winter is a true hardy survivor :) Calendulas, parsley, silverbeet, sorrel and oregano have all earned my respect this year :)

 

 

Bordering our driveway is this grevillea, along with bamboo and callistemons. The rainbow lorikeets chatter and screech here every morning, enjoying their nectar breakfast.

Bordering our driveway is this grevillea, along with bamboo and callistemons. The rainbow lorikeets chatter and screech here every morning, enjoying their nectar breakfast.

 

 

imageIimage

In the Jacaranda tree that stands sentinel at the corner of our driveway and the road are two beautiful tree orchids. Every year they gift us this display.

It's time to go in now - breakfast needs to be made, lunches prepared, home reading to be done, clothes, hair and teeth. But before all those shenanigans, Buddha and I take a breather :)

It’s time to go in now – breakfast needs to be made, lunches prepared, home reading to be done, clothes, hair and teeth. But before all those shenanigans, Buddha and I take a breather :)

 

There’s some little snippets of my garden, I hope you enjoyed it. Have a beautiful day everyone!

 

Letting Off Steam

The throat chakra, or Vishuddhi is represented by a 16 petalled lotus. In the centre of the lotus is an inverted triangle representing speech, a circle representing ether or space and the sanskrit symbol for vishudda, HAM (pronounced hum).

The throat chakra, or Vishuddha, is represented by a 16 petalled lotus. In the centre of the lotus is an inverted triangle representing speech and pulling in of Universal energy, a circle representing ether or space and the sanskrit symbol for Vishudda, HAM (pronounced hum). The word ‘vishuddha’ means purification.

The throat chakra is located in that little v at the base of the throat, and governs the neck, shoulders, arms, throat, thyroid and parathyroid, immunity, mouth, teeth and gums, hearing, speaking and communicating in general. The purpose of this chakra is to enable us to speak our truth, listen to other people’s truths, enable us to be heard and to find our true voice. Our throat chakras can be over-active, under-active or unbalanced, causing us to oscillate between the two. I think we all know people who have over-active throat chakras – they talk too much, too loudly, are insensitive and inappropriate with their speech. They are not usually good listeners. On the flip side are the people with under-active throat chakras who speak too softly, find it difficult to be heard, will find it hard to initiate a conversation and have difficulty in expressing how they feel. These people may be known as good listeners. I think most of us fall somewhere in the middle – sometimes we are loud and talk too much, sometimes we feel uncomfortable speaking and sometimes we nail it. And so it goes in Earth School :)

I have been thinking a great deal about my throat chakra over the past couple of weeks – ever since day 31 of my 40 day heart chakra journey, when I realised that my unexpressed emotions were blocking my throat chakra and causing my neck and shoulder pain and stiffness. People, I am a human pressure cooker :). I have discovered that I avoid conflict, suppress my anger to the detriment of my body and go way too easy on my female friends and too hard on the men in my life (I guess I figured they could take it!). Even though my 40 days of heart yoga is ended, something tells me that my 40 day heart journey was just the preliminary to the really juicy stuff – the throat.

So, for the last nine days of my 40 day heart commitment, I also worked on releasing my throat chakra. For me, yoga is

This hand position is called the Shankh mudra and is associated with the throat. It looks like a conch shell. Holding this mudra while meditating is very powerful.always the first place I go – it’s such a great tool box. I found a really effective asana sequence here – neck rolls and stretches (I added a couple of my own), downward dog going into cobra, child pose into camel repeated five times (I just do a half camel, with my hands linked behind my back), bridge (I use a block to support my sacrum), shoulderstand (in a chair – it helps me to get the correct action in my shoulders), plow and fish. I have also been singing (loudly!), wearing crystals and colours associated with the throat and using the hand mudra associated with Vishudda. Do you know about hand mudras? It’s basically hand yoga, used as another way to get energy flowing. The hand mudra for the throat chakra looks like this:

This hand position is called the Shankh mudra and is associated with the throat. It looks like a conch shell. Holding this mudra while meditating on the throat chakra is very powerful.

It takes a week for my neck and shoulders to come good – a week of doing the heart and throat sequence every day, as well as getting a really good remedial massage from an expert therapist. Focused as I am on my throat and neck, I start to notice when I am ‘building up steam’ – it can be something small: something I read, or hear, a conversation – something that triggers an emotion within me that I don’t know what to do with. Sometimes I might think a thought that I decide isn’t worthy of me, sometimes I get irritated or some button gets pushed. My neck gets tight and stiff, and starts to ache. Right then if I breathe and roll and stretch my neck, it lets the energy through, up and out. I don’t have to hold onto it, or analyse it or suppress it, It’s just gone. Obviously some things have to be dealt with, but most of the things that trigger my neck tightness during the day are just thoughts about what I am experiencing during the day – it’s not necessary or even possible to resolve them:

Now, listen here Prime Minister Abbott, I’m sick to death of your bullshit. I don’t like you, your government or your policies. I think many of your ideas are a crime against humanity. I would appreciate it very much if you would step aside and let me choose someone to run this country the way that I think it should be run.

You know? :) There is so much in life that we can’t control. Mostly, our only option is to breathe and let it all go…or not our only option, of course not. You can also do what I have been doing, which is sucking it up, suppressing, analysing and justifying it, then inappropriately expressing the rest!

The massage therapist that I saw during this time (and will continue to see – I have an appointment with him every fortnight :) ), said that it was unlikely that yoga caused my neck and shoulder problems. More likely, it uncovered what was already there, removing the coping mechanisms I was using to hide and compensate for it. This strikes me as spot on. Truly, there is an entire lifetime of emotional patterning to release, probably more than 40 days worth! Still, it feels exciting to be finally working with this area.

A yoga friend (thanks Andi!) on Facebook said to me the other day:

But sometimes we just need to be comfortable being uncomfortable while it works itself out. When you have things come up it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going backwards. It could also just mean that you’ve cleared out the more easily cleared out stuff and that you’re bringing up older, deeper memories. I consistently have to remind myself of that!

There is wonderful wisdom everywhere, you know?

Thanks for following my adventures into the heart everyone, I’m signing off now :) If you’ve just found me and would like to know more about the Heart Kriya I have been doing or 40 days of yoga, you can go here:

Opening Pandora’s Box (first 10 days)
Adventures into the Heart (second 10 days)
Wisdom of the Heart (third 10 days)

And this: because your self work is your first job.

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