Mums Banana-bread recipe

This is one of my Mum’s recipes.  I will be honest I have absolutely no idea where she collected the recipe from but this is what I use when I am looking to rustle up something quick, easy and satisfying.  I completely forgot to post this recipe as promsied for you guys and I wouldn’t have thought about it now either except that one of you mentioned it this week in class.  My apologies for the delay but better late than never.

Firstly though let me be honest and advise you that I am one of those people who cannot just leave a recipe alone.  I always wonder what it would be like to add a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  I like to put my own personal touches to it.  So just in case you are wondering why it doesn’t taste the same as the bread you ate at the “Pop Up Yoga” event here is why.  There is no secret ingredient that I am holding back this is just my own special adapted version.

The alterations I made to make this my own….

  •  instead of Sunflower Oil, I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  • I add sultana’s on occassions also.
  • I also increase the amount of Raisins in the mixture as I personally love raisins in the bread.  I have been know to double the quantity.  (I don’t like chocolate pieces in mine but again you could substitute chocolate chips instead of raisins)
  • I put one full packet of chopped walnuts into the mixture also.
  • I use organic coconut sugar instead of honey but I will use honey if I don’t have the sugar in the house.
  • I also like to be able to taste the banana so I use three instead of the recommended two bananas.

Everything else I leave alone.

So do play around with this and make it your own.

Enjoy.. this is one of my favourites, it is the quickest and easiest mixtue to put together, the hardest part is getting everything out of the press.

As an alternative,  you can also do a lovely butter icing for the top and mix some more crushed walnuts into the butter icing for extra texture and bliss. I personally just love it with a slap of real butter and a cup of tea.

 

Ingredients:

100g Raisins

200g White Flour

1 and a 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp bread soda

120ml Sunflower oil

150g Honey

2 Large Eggs

2 Medium banana’s

5 ozs walnuts

 

Instructions:  Mix all the dry ingredients together and then mix all the wet ingredients together, then simply fold the whole lot of ingredients together.  Line a 2lb loaf tin and its a matter of just pouring the mixture into the loaf tin. Placing in a hot over and waiting for your nostrils to be tantalised.

Bake for 50-60 mins at 180 degrees.  Allow to cool and enjoy….  seriously delicious.

Growing older and aging gracefully (hopefully)

 

Growing old and aging has been swirling around in my thoughts and head on and off for the past number of months now. I found myself sitting in cafes, restaurants, hair salons, standing in line and just simply people watching, listening, taking in and contemplating the various ways people approach old age.

Today, the 19th August, I celebrate a landmark birthday as I turn the BIG 50 and the lead up to this is the main reason for my moments of contemplation and observation. What intrigued me the most was observing how some women looked far more elegant than others as they aged.  Sorry guys, but you all seem to age gracefully,naturally, so it was the women who had me intrigued.  As I sat and pondered why, I wondered was it the clothes that they wore, their makeup, or was it that they dressed trendy? After a lot of observation I realised it had nothing at all to do with any of that but more to do with the inner power these women had by embracing age and just accepting that they were growing older.  There was no resistance.

In stark contrast others cling desperately to looking like they did in their 20’s and 30’s, surgery, botox, implants all in a bid to prevent age from creeping in. It’s made me wonder, WHY?  What is so dreadful about growing old?

I have a daughter who turns 21 in a couple of weeks and a son who turned 19 a few short months ago. If I tried to stay looking young it would mean I was trying to compete with my kids. That felt all wrong on many levels to me. Seriously would you really want to go back to being a twenty year old? I wouldn’t!  I’ve been there, done that, and I have worn the T-Shirt.

The thing is there is nothing wrong with growing older.  What’s more is that it is completely in vogue right now.  Like hello!! Every single person you meet is doing it.  They / we are all aging.

I’ve known people who have freaked out, had meltdowns and refused to celebrate or mark the occasion, all because of reaching the dreaded 5 O !!!  I know people who lie over their actual age.  Why?

I, as a woman can still pull off being elegant and sexy without looking like a joint of mutton dressed up as lamb. I can still take care of myself, live a healthy, balanced lifestyle.  I can still dance, have fun and I fully intend to enjoy life and live.

Why are we so afraid of wrinkles? If you have laughed a lot it means you have a lot of laughter lines, would you prefer to show off grumpy frowns?  Silver glints in our hair? These catch the light and lift the tone of our skin especially around our faces, often they are more flattering than the effect of hair dye.  So why do we fight it so much?

I am transitioning and I have decided to embrace it and see if I can be a silver long white/grey haired vixen.  I’ve always loved how my grandmother looked with her snow white hair and I also wanted to be a member of the blue rinse brigade. Even though I always told my kids I’ll go purple and get a tattoo.

Some of you have already seen the result of this transition and I’ve been quite amused by people’s reactions. Women in particular are so afraid of growing old.  It has me amazed.

  • I have been told “grey hair will age you”.   Newsflash, I am already aged!
  • “You’ll need to cut your hair into a pixie cut”. Why? Why can’t it be long? BUT, I will be honest for a while I did toy with the idea of shaving it off, thankfully. I didn’t.
  • “You’ll need to go blonde to pull it off”. HELLO!!! Have you seen my hair? I’m a brunette and bleaching my hair blonde will certainly deliver a mandarin orange head that would make any M & M proud!
  • “It won’t suit your skin tone”. Well if I was born a brunette and that suited my skin tone, then aging naturally will also suit my skin tone. As we age we also naturally loose pigmentation in our skin which some people forget as they continue to dye their hair dark.
  • I’ve had jaws dropping in front of me. I’ve been asked “what the hell are you doing with your hair?”  I’ve also had the silent nod and observation, where I can energetically feel she is losing it, having a meltdown vibe.
  • I’ve also been told astrologically Chiron will be returning and I’ve yet to figure out if that is a good or a bad thing for me, time will tell.

You’ll be glad to hear, I’m not having a meltdown or a breakdown.

Life has a great way of putting things in perspective and as I’ve aged I found that I am getting more and more secure in myself with regard to who I am, what floats my boat and what doesn’t.

Age brought with it a reality of understanding that youth lacked.

I always see birthdays as a celebration of a miracle.  For me it is the day I was graced in this world with my existence, the day I started the journey to who I am today. The day I started touching other people’s lives, made a difference, be it for better or worse.

I see each birthday as an honour, a landmark, a blessing, and a gift of life to be grateful for. I have been fortunate to make another one, some unfortunately haven’t been as lucky.

So putting things in perspective, brunette or blonde, grey or white, whatever I’m gifted with it is just a colour.  It is part of me and who I am if I am being authentic and real. So, right now, I am going to embrace it and see where it leads.  I’m in transition right now and what’s more is I am loving it.  I plan to rock my 50’s, free of the shackles, armour and masks of my youth. This is me, this is who I am, the real me and right now in this moment as mentioned I am loving it.

Happy 50th birthday to me, let the fun begin, let the adventure continue.  Forever grateful for the gift of this moment.

Om shanti

When is pushing destructive and allowing beneficial in sport?

Back in 2007 when I started out in college studying yoga, my focus was on developing my yoga and me.  Even back then I instinctively knew the benefits of yoga and so I chose to do this for me and I poured all my energy into something I loved which gave me huge satisfaction.  Yoga.

I placed my focus squarely on developing my personal yoga journey.  My emphasis back then was on doing (to keep my mind occupied), pushing through (kept me moving forward), evolving into a fitter leaner machine.

As part of our college course we had to attend various different types of yoga classes so we had first-hand experience of what they felt like. It made logical sense plus at all the workshops I had gained valuable pieces of insights and information which I had been able to apply to my own personal practice.

I loved it, every single moment of it. I just loved it.  I loved how my muscles sometimes ached and shook, how sweat would form on my brow, the challenge to see if I could stay with the pace of the class.  I had set a challenge to myself to do better and to become more flexible.  My aim was to master difficult poses and contort myself basically inside out.  Everything I desired was everything that is NOT yoga.  Back then I knew no wiser.

I remember one particular workshop we were required to attend was on Yin Yoga.  I was all geared up, enthusiastic and ready to soak up more knowledge, ideas and hints and tips.  What unfolded was like a dose of slow Chinese torture.  We were encouraged to slow down, allow the body settle, breathe, and relax, and practice santosha (contentment) and ahimsa (non-violence) in the pose. WHAT???!!!!   Omg!  Two poses in I wanted to run from the room with yoga mat flying in the wind.  I thought I was going to combust on my mat as everything in me resisted to great reverance.  I hated every second of it and made a pledge that no matter what I did in the future Yin Yoga wasn’t going to be in the picture.

Why?  What happened?  It was simple.  I had been so used to pushing my body to extremes, under various different disguises, varying levels that I was unable to slow down.  I was unable to give my body the one thing it needed most -rest and recovery to repair, heal and strengthen.  In my head I needed to get fit, I needed to get stronger, I needed to succeed, I needed to hold for longer…. When in actual fact all I really needed to do was be, and allow.  This turned out to be even more powerful a challenge than any power yoga workout.

In slowing down I was being shown by my body just exactly what my body needed, where exactly it needed attention as to strengthening, lengthening, release.  The care the nurturing it craved so badly.  Yet I continued to induce a gentle kind of violent damage to it by not listening and instead ploughing ahead at full speed.  Instead of sitting and relaxing and just being with myself I was doing everything and anything bar that.  I would amp up the workout.  Force myself to push through rather than stop. Suppress and basically avoid.  Elements of that still exist in me today and I would up the anti in a bid to flush out issues I chose not to deal with.  It seemed like a great coping mechanism except out bodies can only endure so much from us before eventually, saying – woah! Hold on just one minute, I’ve had ENOUGH!

I was afraid, stupid I know, but I was afraid to stop in case life caught up with me. Afraid that if I did stop I would be unable to pick up and take off again. I still carry those same fears in me but now I am a little bit more aware of my actions and I try to allow.  TRY being the operative word here.

Age is an amazing educator.   Here I am now 11 years down the road.  My whole life changed for the better because of yoga and my whole yoga practice has completely evolved.  The drive and stamina of constantly pushing and forcing of my younger days has started to subside and give way to true yoga.  I now do yoga with the intention of being non-violent towards myself.  I never thought that would happen but it has as my own personal yoga is becoming more and more yin.  I am beginning to allow rather than force, soften rather than harden, sit with rather than run.  Who would ever have guessed that that would be possible, back then I would have laughed the idea would be so ludicrous.  I would see it as being weak.

Youth, drive, stamina.  Brilliant aspects in their own right if we listen to our bodies and give it time, but it also has a shadow disastrous consequences in later life if we don’t listen to our bodies.  Arthritis, bursitis, frozen / tight shoulders, discs & back ache, inflammation all start to kick in if we fail to listen to our bodies.

I maintained I was invincible. I would have an endless supply of energy and drive to keep me moving, driving forward.    That is the beauty of youth you feel invincible.  Dreams are for realising and goals are to be reached.  It never enters our head that as we age so does our body.  Our bodies get tired of the constant draw we put on its resources and it lets us know by ailments, the silent consequence that slowly creeps up on us.  So silently that we don’t pay them any great heed.  A gentle ache which we swallow a pill for, suddenly it doesn’t go away and then slowly becomes a steady constant pain.  A joint which used to move so freely becomes inflamed and angry and suddenly always appears to be sore.  A back with used to be strong and supportive now cripples us and sometimes floors us quite literally.  It may even be a tightened or thorn muscles in the legs which seems to now become a recurring ordeal at the slightest stretch.  Body pains are the awards for the dynamic stamina which herald us relentlessly forward constantly pushing our bodies to extreme.

How much further do we plan to push before our bodies eventually say, ENOUGH!

Yoga has always been a journey and it will continue to be so. I am discovering right now the joy and bliss in just simply allowing, not forcing but simply allowing.  What I am noticing is that by doing so my body responds in a much greater capacity than it ever did by being forced or presurised.

Yoga, it is like a flower slowly opening into the magnificent crescendo of full bloom.  The work is slow, but steady, creating strength but with softness that allows flexibility in both poses and life.  It turns furiousness and haste into a pleasant acceptance of slowing down and enjoying.

Slowing down has an added benefit also, especially in sports yoga.  Slowing down allows the muscles to lengthen and eases the tension that severe training can cause.  Where it is important at times to push ourselves to do better and to succeed it is also vitally important to recognise when to ease up and allow the muscles time to gain flexibility.

If you are into sports, be it GAA, Soccer, Rugby, Running whatever your sport, tightening muscles are going to hold you back both in performance and sustainability.  This is where yoga has enormous benefits it brings strength with flexibility, it brings durability to your performance on the pitch or the road.  It brings clarity to your mind so that your focused attention is exactly where it needs to be and not holding you back through fear of injury or renewed injury.

If you have been injured you need to protect the wound, you need to build strength around it to help prevent it from reoccurring.  It is all very fine pushing yourself endeavouring to reach goals, but what is you back up plan if your body lets you down and suddenly says… I’ve had ENOUGH!

I provide a back-up plan, learn to stretch your muscles, help prevent injuries, help strengthen old injuries and ensure your sports performance has a long and rewarding time span.

If any of this resonates with you, come along to our yoga class.  Monday night at 7pm you will stretch, you will release but you will also ensure your body endures.

Om shanti

Noreen  

Manta Point, Nusa Penida, Bali

 

Video by Rick Horner on Youtube.

I’m crying as I write this because it has brought back so many mixed memories for me and I can’t believe how bad things have become in such a short space of time.

I got tagged this morning on facebook by a beautiful person I met and and now have the pleasure of calling a friend when I travelled to Bali a little over a year ago – Emmie Phelan.   Bali as you know was one destination I wanted to travel to for most of my life, it was top of my bucket list.  I wrote about some of my experiences but others I kept close to my heart.  It didn’t feel right writing about my experiences when my sister Antonia had been diagnosed with Cancer just two days before I departed.  It was the longed for trip of a lifetime that very nearly didn’t happen.  Bali left an impact that I still feel to this day and she helped me in ways I never dreamed possible, especially in coping with the sadness and pain that lay a few months ahead.  There were many tears shed on that journey.  It was the most heart breaking trip I had ever set off on, alone.

Bali has unbelievable beauty, both of the landscape and in its people but Bali also has a troubled side brought about mainly by the tourists that visit.  Plastic.

Plastic has become such a huge issue all over the world but never in my life was I faced with such blatantly obvious destruction as I was in Bali.  It was everywhere most especially in the ocean.  Here in Ireland if I dip my toes into the sea I am normally concerned about not stepping on a jelly fish, in Bali the concern was not to get wrapped up in plastic.  There is a conscious effort being made to clean up in Bali but its out further in the depths of the ocean, where years of refuse and disregard from humans that the enormity of the damage can really be seen.

This video is of Manta Point, Nusa Penida, Bali.  This is where I dropped into the ocean for the first time off a boat filled with people who were all 1) able to swim 2) able to snorkel or 3) able to dive.  Whereas I, couldn’t do any of the three!   Our first stop was Manta Point.  I had only ever seen Manta’s on TV or in the Aquariums so I was a little excited about the prospect of seeing one for real, so fear of not being able to swim didn’t even come into it as I was not missing out on an opportunity of a life time.

Except when I jumped in, I had hoped to see Manta’s swimming in the deep in their natural habitat.  I was anticipating beauty of an enormous magnitude, instead the reality was human waste, plastic. Plastic bags, plastic cups, plastic wrappers, plastic forks, knives, spoons and plastic bottles floating on the surface and beneath.  I got such a shock I actually gulped ocean water.  This video shows you what I saw that day except when I was there it was to a lesser degree.  This is the same area a litte over a year on and it is totally heartbreaking to see that the matter has escalated not resolved.

We didn’t get to see Manta’s. The sea was too choppy and when a lot of the experienced people started going green and getting sick, a collective decision was made to get back on the boat and travel to a quieter bay.  I wrote about my experience and the beauty I did see at the quieter bay but this video this morning was like being back down there all over again and it is just harrowing to witness.

Like anywhere there is enormous beauty in Bali but there is also the problem side.  I have every intention of returning to this place that captured my heart from the very first moment.  Here are a few pictures of what looks like rocks on the beach but in fact are the remants of the damged coral reef.  You will spot the odd glimer of colour in a couple of photos, a reminder of a healthier reef.

We are doing this people, we are ALL doing this.  We are destroying our planet and its eco system.  Watch the video.  This is real I have experienced it.  This problem isn’t just in Bali it is also a problem in Irish waters.  Bali has started  major clean-up projects as have a lot of other locations around the world.  But we need to do the same.  Placing your plastic bottle into a recycle bin is not the solution, you need to start cutting down altogether on the use of plastic, find another way.   Richard’s Little Farm in Mallow, is finding another way, he is buying organic produce in canvas bags and he will fill containers for you.  Reuse…  Reclaim this planet we live on before we destroy it beyond repair, lets not lose the beauty we have on this planet.

Om shanti

Noreen   

Mum’s Apple Brack

Well my Mum’s apple brack went down a storm today and a miracle did happen, I refrained from cutting into it just to make sure that it was cooked through.  It did actually arrive at the studio in one piece but it left in the bellies of today’s workshop attendees.

Before I say anymore, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Vicki Woods for coming and delivering a fabulous morning of Qi Gong.  Vicki drew our awareness to various joints and how our conditioning can tighten and tense our muscles and making life difficult for ourselves in the long run.

Vicki gave us simple techniques to help us open our bodies and our energy pathways so that we feel balanced and in the flow of life.

I certainly left with a greater awareness of how I am moving in everyday activities even in the simple act of sitting down and getting up out of a chair.  I learnt a beautiful sequence to help balance my bodies Qi and that of the Qi of my kidneys.  This was of particular interest to me because of the stress I have been under in the past number of months, so I am looking forward to putting this into practice and seeing the unfolding benefits in my own body.

Some of you I know expressed your disappointment at not being able to make the workshop today but I am delighted to say Vicki is going to be returning in the near future for another workshop so if it is meant to be you may make the next one.  I am looking forward to learning more valuable techniques to keep me youthful and alive.

I am always surprised at how hungry I get when I am working with energy and today was no different.  During our break today the topic of discussion turned to Mum’s apple brack recipe.  I am delighted to say that it went down a storm with everyone and I ate a little piece of cake for each of you that were unable to make it today! I promised that I would post the recipe here for everyone to enjoy so I am delivering on that promise with this yogi moment.

Maybe it is the energy of what we did today but I began reminiscing about my childhood this evening and how cooking was a huge part of growing up for me.  I remember both my Grandmother’s baking on a weekly and sometimes even daily basis and I remember well the mouth-watering treats we would get to devour as a result of their endeavours… scones, apple tarts, queen cakes, sponges, fruit cakes and madeira cake.  Food I grew up on and to this day still enjoy.

It reminded me of how traditions get passed down through the family line sometimes unknowingly.  I was mentioning today how Mum had this cook book which we removed out of the house after she died, not because it had any value except that of sentimental value to us.  The food of my youth was held within the recipes of this falling apart navy cook book.  Each of us photocopied or hand wrote out our own favourite recipes into our own little book.  The cake I baked for today was one of those hand written recipes I took from mums cook book and placed into my own.  It hit me today that without realising it that by doing so I was keeping a family tradition alive and strong.  Mum was forever cutting recipes out of newspapers or magazines and trying them, if they turned out well they got put into her “navy cook book”.  This was the ultimate seal of approval if a recipe made it into this book, the unfortunates got binned.

Like many Irish household’s Mum had recipes written on the back of used envelopes, thorn out pieces of paper, on grease proof paper, on a pull out page of a copy book, basically anything she could lay her hands on when she was trying to collect a recipe.  Some recipes were copied from her Mum’s cook book and stored in this same book.

So, I have no idea where the origin of the following recipe came from, if it is years old or a relatively new recipe, but I do know it is packed with flavour and sweet scents of my childhood and simple to make.  Where ever it originated from I know this much, it passed mum’s taste bud test and made it into the family navy cookery book.

One other important factor to remember and in my opinion is a secret ingredient to everything you bake is this….  NEVER bake a cake when you are angry as this energy passes into your mixture.  So always include plenty of love and smiles for those who will eat the fruits of your labour as you mix your ingredients together, it does make a difference to the end product.  Trust me!

 

Mum’s Apple Brack

Ingredients:

1lb          cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced and a little lemon juice.

1/2lb      butter

1/2lb      brown sugar

2              large eggs

2 tsp      mixed spice

1/2lb      raisins

1/2lb      sultanas

1/4lb      cherries

1/4lb      chopped walnuts

12ozs     plain flour (I used spelt )

 

Method:

Stew apples, sugar and lemon juice, stirring whilst cooking.

Add the butter and stir until melted.   Leave aside to get cool.

Stir in remaining ingredients.

Stir in a generous amount of love and smiles for the hearts of those who will consume it.

Line a 2lb loaf tin and pour the mixture in.

Bake at 150 for one and half / two hours depending on whether you use a fan or conventional oven.

Remove and let cool.

Boil the kettle, make yourself a cup of tea, sit and enjoy a generous slice of brack.  It tastes even better when shared with a loved one or friends.  Enjoy you guys from our house to yours a little bit of tutti fruity.

Om shanti.

Noreen.   

Dragonfly Yoga News

It is hard to believe that we are in our new abode for well over a month.  What a month it has been.  Extra classes have been added, old and new faces crossed the threshold into the dragonfly hub and we had our first weekend daily workshop presented by Vesco Bondov.  I still find it hard to believe that this is all real and truly happening and not just the creative vision of my mind.

What yoga and energy has given me outside of major healing was a serious passion to share these amazing modalities and tools of support with people.  It was my dream to create a studio where the atmosphere alone was peaceful, healing, nurturing and supportive to everyone who crosses the threshold into my world of yoga and energy. The option to just sit and be in the space is always available to people and I find that I myself often just sit in the space to absorb the peace contained therein and I love it.

Whilst renovations were taking place within the building, I had healing crystals placed within the walls and on occasions I can actually feel them pulsating in the room.  All the crystals were chosen to support, heal and lift a person’s energy.   Interestingly enough rose quartz became the main crystal for the studio.

For those of you who may not be into crystals, crystals come from the earth and have an extremely high vibration which brings healing.  Rose Quartz e.g. is a gentle pink coloured crystal, with a soft delicate opaque look to it.  It is the crystal associated with the heart as its energy is that of unconditional love.  It attunes or speaks directly to the charkra of the heart.  This crystal carries a soft feminine energy of infinite peace, tenderness, compassion and it radiates healing nourishment, contentment and comfort.  It is an excellent crystal to use in trauma or crisis.

This crystal definitely called me as it was in my head on a number of occasions to go and find a crystal that I could put into the studio. The day I purchased this crystal I won’t forget in a hurray.  That was the day I ended up in the sea pool in Liscannor pulling seaweed out of my ugg boots and hair when I ended up ass first in the sea pool.  I had obviously missed the subtle hints the universe had been sending me.  Whilst drying myself out in the Rock Shop the penny finally dropped and the light bulb lit up.  I returned back to that same sea pool and cleansed the crystals I had bought in it.  It seemed only fitting seeing as I had been cleansed in it only a short while before.  The Rose Quartz now sits overlooking our Studio space being cleansed and charged by the natural energy of the moon outside the window.  It will be super charged in the next few days when we have the Super Moon, Blue Moon and eclipse all happening in one major event.

Rose Quartz would have been used years ago as a love token as it attracts new love, romance and intimacy.  It reawakens the heart to its own love allowing a person the capacity to give and receive love from others.  It is also a great crystal for developing self-love and a beautiful crystal for children.

I had been wondering what type of energy would come through the studio and love it appears won out.   The thought had been forming in my head and as if to confirm what I was surmising I was given the gift of a most beautiful painting by a local artist.  The centre of the painting contains the silhouette of a yoga pose.  Deep in the centre of the silhouette is a simple white heart.  I loved it instantly and it just made my day.  I took this as another sign from the universe, things were moving in the right direction.

Moving forward, the schedule of classes will remain the same for the moment, things may change in the future with extra or alternative classes being added but we will move with the flow in relation to this one and see where the sands of time take us.

In the coming weeks ahead, I will be holding a Saturday morning workshop for people suffering from both arthritis and a separate workshop for osteoporosis. These workshops will run from 10am to 12.30pm on the relevant date.  Further details in relation to these will be made available closer to the time, so please keep an eye on either my web page or my facebook face if you are interested in either of these events.

Vesco I am delighted to report will return with his Mindfulness and Wellbeing programme and I have a few other little surprises up my sleeve for you also, so please do keep an eye on the page for further details in relation to all these up-coming events over the next couple of weeks and months.

I cannot express deeply enough to all of you my enormous thanks and gratitude for coming into this space, enhancing its energy and creating the vibe that exists there.  I am so grateful to you all and look forward to sharing many more wonderful moments on the mat, huge thank you.

Om shanti

Noreen   

The day after the workshop.

I feel amazing today and I know it is down to the healing benefits of the workshop yesterday.  Vesco Bondov created the most amazing Mindfulness and Energy Re-balancing day and for me personally it was badly needed as life has been a tad on the hectic side for the past few weeks.

Some of you expressed your disappointment over not being able to make the day but Vesco has assured me he will come back to the dragonfly hub again for another day in the near future.  I am looking forward to it already.

Speaking with some of my own friends who are not into yoga or mindfulness they mentioned that they didn’t have a clue as to what we were up to for the day.  So I appreciate some of your out there may be wondering the exact same thing and perhaps feel it is not for you.  It is, this kind of day is meant for everyone, young and old and I am just offering my experience of yesterday to help give you a better understanding and insight to the day.

Vesco held an opening circle where we introduced ourselves and briefly mentioned what brought us to the workshop.  This can be as long or as short as you chose it to be.  As I was listening to the others giving their reasons for being there, I was wondering why I was attending it, apart from the obvious, truthfully I didn’t really have to be there, so why did I chose to be there? I realised that in the hectic busyness of what is going on in my life right now my energy feels clear, light, I have been having good moments.  However, there are other moments, secluded moments when I don’t feel so good when my energy is lower.  A level that I am afraid of visiting at the moment, a level that I am running from as I don’t want to lose the lightness the studio has brought to me.  I am afraid of feeling what I need to feel in order to process the heavy, sticky energy of losing Antonia, I am afraid of facing my grief.

Grief brings its own supply of emotions and the studio brings the conflicting balance which means that I am a conundrum of different emotions at the moment and the highs and lows from this battle have been affecting my energy I knew that and that was why I was at the workshop.  I needed to ground and find balance in a way that was supportive and comfortable to me.  All this was internalised and of all people there I think I had the shortest explanation for being there in the opening ceremony.

Immediately Vesco picked up on what I was NOT saying and put me at ease.  Telling me to just be mindful of where I am right now and to stay with what I was feeling and comfortable with, and accepting of that.  This immediately put me at ease as I knew I could relax and just be with myself and how I was feeling in those moments.  I was feeling light and I was hoping I would stay there during the day and just nurture myself a little bit to bring me back to strength.

On completion of the circle Vesco then brought us gently into what I would call a moving meditation, but with our thoughts focused on what was happening for us within our bodies.  We were being mindful in a completely different way.  I discovered a tightness, fullness and heaviness in my legs and lower back which disappeared as the exercise progressed.   Following Vesco’s gentle and clear instructions I could feel the heat and energy start to move within my body and the sense of peace and calm that filled me was mind blowing.

There are situations in life where there is noise, drama, high intensity situations which can throw us off kilter and out of sorts.  Yesterday reminded me that by just coming back to my breath, doing the exercises shown by Vesco, that I can still my mind to such a degree that I can actually cocoon myself in a haven of peace and calm.

I always struggled with traditional meditation practices in trying to achieve this sense of tranquility, normally when sitting in lotus my “to do” lists start kicking in or the things I forgot to do and if the lists are missing the inevitable pins and needles kick in to completely distract me!  Yesterday showed me that by gentle movement I can completely still my mind, I don’t need to be a part of situations outside of myself if I chose not to.  By just being mindful to my breath and body, I can cocoon myself, protect myself and create a safe haven for me personally.  This was hugely powerful for me and the feeling in my body was that of feeling completely safe, nurtured and at peace.  It was exactly what I needed as presently I am just not physically able for anything harsh.  I am looking for softness, gentleness which supports me, nurtures me, protects me.

During lunch break, I met a fabulous man who I had never spoken to before. He told me he passed the studio daily and he wondered about the type of person who would open that kind of business.  He figured that it was for one or two reasons, 1) to make money 2) because the person didn’t care what other people thought.  I told him it was for neither of those reasons it was for 3) Passion and love of the healing power of yoga and energy.  We ended up discussing the ducks, rain, springers, yoga and God and it turned out that this man knew my dad and granddad.  A coincidence?  I don’t think so.  We conversed at the side of the street for a few moments reminiscing.  I took this as a sign that both my boys were very much with me yesterday watching from another dimension and as I parted ways with this gentleman I was smiling from ear to ear, grateful for the power of a smile and the magic in the simple word – hi.

Back in the studio we spent more time bringing awareness inside of ourselves.  Vesco’s instructions are clear, concise and simple.  Anyone including a child could follow his techniques.   When you travel to this space of awareness, it really highlights just how manic and obscene our lives have become with rushing here, there and everywhere, being busy doing this, that and the other.  It depletes us of vital energy that our bodies need to heal and repair.  It really highlighted again to me the importance of self-care.  We spend our lives caring for others if we only invested a fraction of that time on ourselves what we could achieve would be unreal.

Vesco then talked us through a more traditional type of mindfulness meditation and I don’t know about anyone else present but I absolutely loved the sequence to ground and recharge my energy.  My inner child definitely came out for this one and I personally found the technique uplifting and valuable as I soared to great heights with this one.

I walked away from yesterday with tools of support for my tool box.  I now know how to make myself feel safe, secure and cocooned when I am just not physically able to face the harsher energies of other people and situations around me.  I got reminded of the power of acceptance and I also learnt a lot of valuable techniques about dealing with energies around me.  My personal favourite surprisingly from yesterday was how to lift and balance my energy to give me a much needed boost when needed and I discovered a new way of letting free my inner child so that I may experience joy.

Today I am still cocooned.  I feel amazingly fulfilled, content, peaceful, safe and harmonised.  I feel great and I feel acceptance that it is perfectly ok for me to feel that right now.  There is no need for guilt in this moment.

I am truly grateful to Vesco for a most wonderful day and I am really grateful to all of you who came, brought your amazing energy and shared the space within the studio.  Vesco I am looking forward with anticipation for the next wonderful occasion that you will be our guest.

It is my one wish for the studio that people may find harmony and balance there, that they may find healing and support.  So thank you to each and every one of you for enhancing this dream.

Om shanti

Noreen.

 

 

The “Rebel Buddha”

 

Well you’ve met the ”Bali Buddha” so now let me introduce you to the “Rebel Buddha”.

Not to be out done by the Bali Buddha who got shipped half way around the world, the Rebel Buddha got transported from Cork on an artic truck as he was just a tad too big for the dragonfly jeep.   As his original final destination on the Cork side didn’t come to fruition he ended up at the front of our house.  After careful manoeuvring and some pretty skilful artic driving skills he landed.    Now this is no light weight Corkoian. This is some serious Cork brawn resulting in several trees being cut down in anticipation of his arrival over the Limerick border.   Mighty discussions were had, walks taken, angles viewed, locations sussed as the debacle of where this hefty rebel was going to be placed.   However it transpired that this was wasted energy as he was having none of it and it soon became apparent that his stay on the Limerick side was going to be short lived.  This Rebel was returning to his roots.

The drivers of the lorry who escorted the Rebel to the Limerick side refused to place him in the middle of a flower bed and also refused to remove him from the truck pallet upon which he was presently residing upon.  His size was an issue and they didn’t want to take the responsibility of anything happening to this big bloke.  They were actually quite willing to let him sit gracefully in the middle of the driveway.  A lot of my personal Zen disappeared that day before a compromise was eventually reached and he was placed outside the office window. Here he has gracefully remained sitting proudly in lotus position on his humble throne of the wooden pallet since.   There is sits looking longingly out the driveway as if he is ready to make a run for the Cork border at any given moment.  Jackie Chan he has been called by some of my neighbours but I personally prefer “The Rebel”.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and a couple of months later our new studio space was secured.  There was only one problem, this Rebel was moving back to Cork and was a bit larger than life for the public foot path.  Hmmm…. What to do?  A simple solution evolved, move the original door and create a porch.  Sorted!!  So we have.

The rebel from Cork is a hardy tough cookie, able for the harsh weather as he is solid concrete and so will sit at our entrance ready to meet and greet you on your arrival to class.  The Bali Buddha is from warmer climates so shall remain safe and cosy in the warm confines of indoors.

You will have an opportunity to see both Buddha’s real soon as I am delighted to report that the place is only a day or so away for being fully completed with all works in the final tidy up stages and we are now down to the cleaning and polishing phase.   I can’t wait.   All classes will be in full swing there from the 8th January which I am really excited about and the New Year will see new classes added to the already existing schedule of classes together with various workshops and morning yoga.  I have loads of ideas for this healing space and can’t wait to share them with you over the next coming months.  I will also share pictures of the amazing transformation which has taken place within the building itself under the care of Derek Curtin Construction but I will do this at another time.

I am keen to open the energy into the space before the New Year so there will be a class with a difference there on Thursday night the 21st December, at 7pm.  Cost is €10.  Everyone is welcome to come along, and please bring your mat and blanket.  This is the night of the winter solstice and will be symbolic for me as a time of moving from darkness into light.  So on the night we will also be doing a meditation led by Vesco Bondov.  I am so grateful to Vesco for taking time out of his own schedule to be with us to raise the vibration.  I look forward to sharing this special space with you all on the night.

Om shanti

Noreen.

My Bali Buddha

 

Some of you may not know but those of you who know me well, know I inherited a great love for wood, especially mahogany or teak from my dad. My house has teak doors, teak kitchen, coffee tables etc. It’s everywhere basically as I love the warmth, comfort of it, the richness of its grain, the beauty held in each unique piece as it surrendered to the craftsmanship of various creative hands. I love trying to figure out its story.

I just love wood even in its alive form – the forest. I love the feeling of walking through a forest and being revitalised by its energy, being in its majestic presence as trees of all shapes and forms often tower many feet above me. I have occasionally given into the inner child and climbed many an inviting tree and relish just sitting on one of its powerful branches.

I feel energy off trees and sometimes I can pick up the energy of the female over the male, my first experience of this was on the Hill of Tara standing in amongst the wishing trees. It was an amazing experience.

Trees have a life force, an energy, this I was always aware of and often contemplated. What I never stopped to think about was the energy of the creative hands that turn or carve the wood and how that energy passes onto us as we bring these pieces into our homes.

I learnt so many valuable insights in Bali last year and this was one valuable lesson.

You all know at this point how much this amazing country impacted on me. What a lot of you don’t know was two days before travelling my sister was diagnosed with cancer. So the trip on my own to face my fears became even more powerfully symbolic. My first few days in Bali were spent in isolation as fear gripped me on many levels.  Bali, however, welcomed me with open arms, embraced me in my journey, helped me face so many fears and helped me come to terms with my sisters illness.  So I wanted to bring a piece of her home with me as the impact of this beautiful country and it’s amazing people was so profound. So, my journey to find my Bali Buddha commenced.

Bali is renowned for its amazing carvings. The Balinese are simply gifted, this craft is passed down from generation to generation with love and passion. I got to see items being carved from a lump of wood with no physical blueprint just a mental vision. It was astounding and humbling to observe each stoke, twist and turn, engraved into the wood. Each piece is unique in so many ways, ingrained with each chisel of wood is the energy of the creative carver.

So I spent days travelling around various studios and show rooms looking for the Buddha that I was going to bring home to Ireland.  This is where the realisation of pride in your work really impacted and the attitude you bring to that work even more.

Dewa was my driver and an absolute angel whilst I was staying in Bali he carried me to various points of interest around the island. He also brought me to various amazing studios and showrooms in search of my Buddha. Fortunately Dewa was well aware of energy so he didn’t even blink when minutes after entering a studio I’d say “no, I don’t like the energy here and would do a U-turn and head back out onto the street.

You may laugh, but I’m serious some of those Buddha’s had the air of “I’m carving another bloody Buddha” radiating off them!  I swear!!  I saw cross buddha’s, moody buddha’s and stern Buddha’s. I saw buddha’s that would make your hair stand on edge and one’s that would give you the chills.  Buddha’s that would make you burst out laughing. It was a hoot but I was just beginning to lose faith when I found him!!! My Buddha, sitting serene and calm amongst a deluge of other carvings. I knew the moment I saw him he was on a one way trip to Ireland.

You may remember from some of my posts last year that I had travelled during monsoon season. I loved how the streets got deserted when the deluge fell from the skies, and I’ve already recounted how people offered me umbrellas to shelter from the rain. I ran through these deluges giggling and laughing like a four year old playing in the puddles. Getting soaked to the skin, cleansed by nature and feeling freer than I had felt in years.

All this was major confirmation to me that this guy was the right Buddha for me.  It was compounded when the shop owner told me he was made from Suar Wood. Suar wood is known as ….

THE MAJESTIC “RAIN TREE”

Bingo!!!!

The Suar wood tree, is a large tropical rain tree that can grow up to heights of 25m. This tree is characterised by its canopy which is shaped like an umbrella.  This leafy shape canopy naturally creates an insulated, cool climate underneath its thick, leafy branches. I just got a visual of being held protected within the range of branches of this tree and saw this Buddha enhancing and protecting the space of my studio.

Because it has crisscrossed interlocking grains, Suar wood is resistant to cracking from wood movement and is much sought-after for its robustness. It is moderately heavy but extremely strong. Somehow, I saw my heavy but fighting heart in this piece.  I was informed that Suar wood is highly resistant to decay and dry-wood termites, because of this Suar wood is highly favourable in fine furniture making compared to other woods in Indonesia. Another bonus for me it has the look of mahogany so, I knew he was going to feel right at home in Charleville!

So this is just a little insight to my Bali Buddha whom you will get an opportunity to see in the new Yoga Studio which will be opening in a couple of weeks. I will also introduce you in a little while to my “Rebel Buddha” which you will also have an opportunity to see at the studio.

In the meantime, classes are running to normal schedule this week.  So I’m looking forward to seeing you guys on the mat during this coming week.

Om shanti

Noreen 💜

The Thai Vedic Yoga Massage journey continues….

Last week I completed five more days in the incredible Art of Thai Vedic Yoga Massage.

I am left feeling so grateful in so many ways after these five days.   Anyone that knows me, knows the love I have for yoga and its healing benefits. This course is allowing me to expand and explore to a greater depth the amazing healing ability of yoga combined with the equally healing modality of massage. It simply takes you to a new level of ahhhh, even more satisfying than sinking into a bath full of bubbles 😛.  Muscles release, facia breaks down and the body opens to a whole new level of blissful state.  It seriously doesn’t get any better than this, in my opinion 😉

On this path of working with the body and energy healing you meet the most amazing people and this course was no different. Bonds were formed with new people and deepened with those whose paths I have crossed before and magic was created.

Last week this group of people brought with them amazing energy which created such a safe, fun filled, healing open space. Huge gratitude to each and everyone of you for that amazing space which was a tonic for me personally especially on our trips of exploration to locations both familiar and new.

A huge thanks to Mukti Michael Buck for the fun memories, morning jaunts, generosity of his time even in his personal down time, his advice, support and healing. I feel blessed to have crossed paths with this amazing person with his spirit of light.

I am already looking forward to the next leg of the journey with this course and I am so looking forward to sharing this beautiful healing art of Thai Vedic Yoga Massage with you in the very near future.

I will be looking for case studies and people to practice on so please do get in touch if same tickles your curiosity / fancy.  Let’s create magic within the body so healing may take place in the cocoon of a safe, fun filled space.

💜 Om shanti.