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.

A pot of dreams and a leap of faith

 

https://www.facebook.com/pg/azibugift/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1220300421323733#
https://www.facebook.com/pg/azibugift

Two years ago a friend of mine gave me a present of a little pamper saving pot for Christmas and she told me to save for something special.  If you know me, you know that my savings skills goes something like this, €10 saved today and €12 withdrawn tomorrow!  This pot didn’t have a plug so if I was to withdraw I had to physically smash the pot!  Clever friend!!   The pot claimed that if you saved only €2 coins you would have in around €1,000 when the pot was full.  I broke that pot open this summer and almost fainted – €1,518 came out of it.  It was time to book a flight.

For about 15 years now, I have been dreaming of going to Bali.   Don’t ask! I have absolutely no idea why!, but it has been the number one place in the world for me to see.  Maybe it’s because I read Eat, Pray, Love, maybe it is the romantic in me, I just know Bali has been calling me and I’ve heard the call.

For years I kept a photo of an ornate pillared gate which a friend sent me.  Local custom he told me recommends that you take a leap of faith and run through the gates not knowing what is on the other side.  I kept the photo and made a promise to myself that one day I would stand between the two gates and have my photograph taken, symbolising that I had indeed taken that leap of faith.

A couple of weeks ago I decided that it probably would be a good idea if I actually knew where it was I was looking to go!  With the best intentions I imagine all the hand signals in the world, my unique language dialect and disclosing to locals that I was looking to leap through ornate gate pillars would most certainly lead me into all types of interesting scenarios but miles away from Heavens Gates.

So I asked my trusted friend – Mr. Google.  The gates are located in an area of Bali that is home to seven temples and reading up on it sent the adrenaline pumping through my veins.  Oooh, yes, I’m definitely going there!!  The name of the gates – “Heavens Gates”.  I reckoned that was as good an omen as any to start off with.  The fact that there is also a place called “Dragonfly Village” became the second good omen.

heavens-gates

The funny thing was, FINALLY, the one thing I always wanted to do for so many years was now within my grasp and yet, I delayed booking the flights and paying for my ticket.  Why? Because I suddenly got filled with enormous fear and I felt extremely vulnerable.  I already mentioned in a previous blog how these emotional issues surfaced energetically for me over the summer, I attributed them mainly to the grieving process but I managed to even surprise myself at just how strong they were in relation to this trip, it was unreal!  I couldn’t believe how at every turn I began to manipulate myself from fulfilling a dream.  I was in actual fact sabotaging myself with all kinds of pathetic excuses!!

I’d take off at a moment’s notice anywhere around Ireland or England on my own, and I have done so, but Bali was on the other side of the world and I was travelling alone for weeks on the wind, with no prepared plan.  I was following a hunch, a gut feeling that the time was right to do this.  Yet an internal dialogue led by fear prevented me from booking the ticket.  A great friend rang me from abroad and told me as only he can “book the F-ing ticket you could be dead tomorrow”.  It was the kick up the ass I needed.  The ticket was booked and paid for the following day.

Travelling to Bali has been something I have longed and dreamed of for such a long time and finally when I was able to realise it and bring it into fruition, fear of actually doing it was preventing me from living it out and ticking another item off my bucket list.  How stupid was that?!!!  How cunning and manipulative was I being!

When I became aware of this, I got to wondering, how many other occasions in my life have I not lived or experienced situations / experiences / moments, because of FEAR? Irrational fear at that!  It was a sobering conversation with myself and my ego got a major denting.   Being truthful, there were quite a few occasion’s that I could remember over the years.

However, this summer, I learnt to sit with my fear, with the help of my great guru and diamond treasure of a friend.  It wasn’t pleasant and I was grateful for his support throughout the experience.  Working my way through the energy I managed to suck every ounce of energy out of a room, shut down, and revert to sullen child, became stubbornly mute and refused to discuss what I was feeling, which was anxiety and downright panic.  The fear immobilized me and it was amazing to observe from an energy stance how it unfolded over the period of a couple of weeks.  All our adult behaviors are direct results of experiences in our childhood, be they good or bad.

Working with the energy I was allowed to see a situation in my early years where I literally had the fear of God put into me by an innocent situation from an adult perspective but when viewed from the perspective of a child took on a completely different vibe.  Allowing myself to feel this, acknowledge it and experience the energy at that time which I had stored for years within my body, allowed me to free and cleanse my energy field with enormous positive changes occurring on a weekly basis since.  Truthfully, it has all been surprisingly blissful and mind blowing!

This is not something that is unique to me, so my question to you is this.   What are you afraid of?   What fears hold you rooted in the same spot, wishing, longing and dreaming of a better way or situation?  What are your vulnerabilities and are they justified or are they irrational fear based mind stuff like mine were? Can you face that fear?  Step out of the comfort zone?  It can happen, take it one step at a time.

Today I am stepping out of my comfort zone and taking a leap into the unknown, not through the ornate stone gates of Heaven Gates but through the Departure gates at Shannon.

Even in the highs of excitement curve balls still get thrown.  Others energy still affect us, just yesterday, my excitement levels reached summit highs and then crushing lows as I felt my world crumble under personal events. Doubts set in regarding travelling.  My mind whispered, this was a sign, I am not meant to travel.   Questions arose, should I go?  Should I stay?  FEAR ….  It feels like a vice, slowing griping my heart tight, pressure filled and heavy laden.  This energy is quiet difficult to shake off and if left unchecked can easily turn into a fear frenzy as I learnt weeks back.  Yet the fact of the matter remains, if I stay or if I go is irrelevant.  I cannot change certain circumstances or events.  What is relevant is that life unfolds as life is meant to unfold.  The difference is the experience and what we allow ourselves to feel and experience in the now.  I know that if I do not go, I will forever regret the decision.  So, like an elephant I am charging forward into the unknown.  Time will tell what unfolds.

Life reminded me within the last twelve months and yet again yesterday that it is so precious.  We are all only on borrowed time.  Tomorrow is not promised to anyone.  You can either live today as an adventure or just endure it as existence. I chose adventure.

I love the saying…  “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, “holy shit, what a ride…”

Let the adventure begin. Let life and destiny unfold…. Om shanti Noreen.

 

Surviving Grief

stages-of-griefI received one of those phone calls, you know the one that makes you stop in your tracks and think.  A few years ago, a lady phoned me.  Her father had been diagnosed with Cancer and she was struggling to cope with everything she was going through.  She had read “my story”.  She asked me how I had managed to get through my own father’s death so bravely and strongly.  I answered her to the best of my ability, yet, long after I hung up, her words still lingered in my heart and I felt like a fraud.

The truth was I didn’t cope with my dad’s passing.  I was battered by it, wounded in a big way and drowned in it.  It resulted in me suppressing a lot of the pain I was suffering.  I guess it’s an Irish thing we learn to endure, pick up and move on but maybe it’s worldwide – I pulled my socks up and I struggled forward.  Step after step, putting one foot in front of another.  I kept myself busy.  I filled my life with movement, projects, plans, anything bar sit down quietly in the pain of grief.  I faltered and fell on many occasions and I struggled to get back up and continue.  I kept my life busy, so busy I hadn’t time to stop or think.  I slowly burnt my body out.  Truth is I did everything and anything bar deal with the grief.

I found yoga and energy as outlined in my story and spent years in college training.  Travelling, learning and completing assignments meant there was little time for anything else to formulate within my mind so I continued to hide the true depth of my feelings from everyone, but mostly from myself.

Grief floors you, it crushes you and pins you under its weight.  On occasions the pressure on my chest was so bad I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  It felt like a tonne weight had been dropped on my chest and pinned me down. I was trapped, unable to move.  I struggled, the pain was so bad.

The greater the love you feel for a person, the greater the pain you suffer at their loss.  Grief for me personally is like an invisible tattoo etched on your heart, hidden, deep, and dark, it never goes away.  I always said it remains with you like a scar, camouflaged and hidden away.  I smiled to the world, put on a mask and headed out with head held high. But the wounds of grief are deep, they crust over, scars form and may in time fade but the imprint is forever lodged deep within you’re tissues like an imprint of DNA.

There were occasions I felt I had survived and lived to tell the tale.  It is then that something will trigger you and it all comes rushing back, just like it was yesterday.  Those are the days it feels like someone has taken hold of the scab on your wound and pulled it clean off with no mercy.

When Mum passed away I was very fortunate to have friends who supported me greatly, they kept encouraging me to feel my pain.  I learnt from Dad’s passing that suppressed emotions sooner or later make their presence known as an illness or dis-ease within the body and suppressing does affect your life and your relationships.  I was suppressing how I felt and it resulted in me temporarily becoming an asthmatic.  Fitting as suppressing the pain of grief meant I physically could not breathe.

Because of that phone call, I had a greater awareness dealing with grief.  I am by no means saying I coped better this time but I did keep track of what I did to help me deal with the trauma of my grief.  This is why I am writing this blog, for those of you who have asked me over the last few months as to what I did and continue to do.  This is raw and it is very real for me.  It is my personal experience and in some way I guess it is my way of acknowledging that I am in pain.  I am still hurting under the burden of grief.  I am not looking for sympathy or support.  This is something I need and will cope with on my own, this is my life lesson.  I just hope it may assist you or others to cope with your healing journey and perhaps give some ideas of outlets to try to ease that grief.  We all deal with grief in our own unique way there is NO right way or wrong way to deal with it.  It is as unique as each of us. The important thing as a wise friend told me is not to suppress it just try, as best you can to survive and cope with it.

I listened to bi-aural beats.  If you look it up on YouTube you will find numerous recordings.  I chose the option to deal with grief.  I played the beats night after night for weeks often falling into a restless sleep with the earphones still in my ears.  Bi-aural beats for grief are a deep low vibration designed to aid the healing process after a tragedy or loss.  The frequencies are designed to help meet your emotional and healing needs to help you cope with grief and to start your healing journey back.  I listened night after night in the hope that my subconscious would start to release and begin to heal.

A friend posted on his time line an article about Wailer’s, people who came specifically to a funeral with the sole purpose of wailing to help those in grief to freely cry and release their grief.  This put me thinking and I turned to yoga once more.  A breathing exercise caught my attention – Humming breath.  This breathing technique uses vibration to help clear out the heart, throat and middle eye chakra.  It is a very simple technique; you breathe in and gently hum on the exhalation.  This was difficult, on occasions as I broke down and I cried sometimes unable to continue as sobs left me on my knees.  It helped me to release the energy of grief locked deep within my heart and when I couldn’t continue I would start again the following day.  Months later I still use this practice as grief comes in waves and can strike when you least expect it.

I dug out my knitting needles and crochet hook and found huge solace in creating beautiful blankets, scarves, poncho’s, tea cosies, coasters anything really that didn’t involve a large attention span as that is one thing I did become aware of, I couldn’t concentrate and I found I had no patience for reading.  Knitting and crochet offered me an outlet of peace and creativity.

I turned to natural remedies to help me face fear, cope with feelings of being over whelmed.  Rescue remedy got taken by the bottle full.  I took Ivy Thyme, Tissue salts anything that would benefit my system.  Seek professional advice on this.

I kept a diary of how I was feeling, I wrote and acknowledged exactly how I felt on each passing day.  Some days all I felt was numbness and this was ok too.  I knew shock had played a part in this.  Some days all I could write was a simple word. In this small way I was acknowledging how I felt to me at least.

Anger arises also, and on one particular occasion I stood facing an empty bed screaming all the hurt and anger that was in me to someone who was no longer there.   It needed to come out and I expressed and let it out.  I spent three days with no voice, but better out than in.  Anger also comes in waves.  I projected anger, I suppressed anger, I even felt angry that I wasn’t coping.

One thing that became very obvious months after Mum passed was my inability to be around people.  I sought solitude over company, peace over noise.  I felt the energy of groups over whelmed me and I was unable to cope. Again I honored that need and this year I spent a week alone with myself, my thoughts, and my emotions.  There is nothing like the wild Atlantic Ocean to help clear out.   This for me personally was the greatest healing I got and I did return back home a different person.

Something which caused me great upset was my inability to enjoy being on my yoga mat.  Yoga has pulled me out of the depths of despair on numerous occasions, when I couldn’t bring myself to get on my mat I got really concerned and this was acknowledgement to me that something was not right. There was a period of months where I felt I wanted to give it up and not teach anymore and this was very real at the time.  It led me to finishing up classes early for the summer and I ended up taking the longest break I had ever taken off from yoga.  I needed this though and found it very beneficial to me.

I put my back out a couple of months after mum passed, so I was getting help to ease the pain of that, my therapist described all of my body as being super toned but my lower back she described as “soft”.  I spent time wondering why.   I’ve learnt that my stomach and back are my emotional centre, the place I send everything I do not wish to deal with.  It became nicely padded over the months and I would easily have passed for a pregnant woman of five months.  In an attempt to start dealing with these emotions I returned to yoga and plank has been the theme of our classes these past couple of weeks.

Sometimes, it is difficult to cope with grief on your own and if you feel the need to seek help you should do so.

In recent months I now find myself in a vulnerable and fearful state a lot of the time.  It is obviously something I need to work through.  It is challenging and it is difficult as when in these states my instinct is to shut down and close off for fear I will allow myself to be hurt.   I don’t know if I will manage to work through this one as the need to feel safe and not get hurt rules me presently.  Playing safe though doesn’t allow you to live life to the fullest, so an internal battle takes place.

Death made me re-evaluate my life and Mums sudden passing made me realise how precious and short life can be.  Mum went to bed, knowing that we had a family party planned to celebrate her 70th birthday. She fell into slumber wondering what gifts would be bestowed on her the following day not realising she would never wake up.

I may not make it in an energetic sense, I have too much growing up to do and self negativity to battle but I can make it in a life sense.  My bucket list got pulled out and I am ticking another item off the list. So, this winter I am travelling to Bali for three weeks on my own.  I am travelling on the wind and going where the wind takes me.  It is my way of learning to trust a force bigger than myself.  I shall meet those I am meant to meet, will experience what I am meant to experience and I shall see what I am meant to see.

This is a huge chapter for me and I know it will change my life forever.  Death changes you forever anyway.  The flights are booked and in five weeks’ time I will commence the first leg of my journey by spending a week in Quatar with my sister before heading onto Bali for three full weeks of adventure.  Am I nuts?  Yes.  Am I avoiding issues here rather than facing them? Absolutely! But I need time out and I am honoring that need in me right now.

Grief floors you without a shadow of a doubt, but life will pull you back up, if you allow it too.

Whether or not I allow life to lift me fully back up remains to be seen, time will tell.  I need to work through my fear and my safety issues, I need to change my mode of thinking to that of more positivity,  I need to learn to believe in myself and grow greater self esteem.  Healing starts within, so remember, whatever you are going through right now, it is ok, cut yourself some slack, nurture and care for yourself and honor what feels right for you in this moment. Then find something that will make your heart sing and follow it.

Om shanti, Noreen.

De-stress Yoga Workshop

Backache

Pregnancy for me was always an amazing experience.  I just loved feeling and being pregnant.  It was the after math of pregnancy, however, that wreaked havoc within my body personally.  Hormones and weakened tummy muscles placed extra strain on my lower back.  A number of weeks after my daughter was born I was descending steps one day when my knees buckled and gave way causing me to land brutally onto my knees with excruciating pain darting into the lower lumbar region of my back.  As a new mum my daughter was my priority and not getting back a toned slim fit body.  Before the year was out I found myself pregnant with my son.

My son was 9 months old and thoroughly enjoying bath time when I first really incapacitated my back. I was leaning in over the bath in the process of lifting him out when he wriggled and fell out of my soapy hands.  Reflexes kicked in and I caught him before he hit the base of the bath but in the process I slipped two lumbar discs which hadn’t quite regained their strength after the pregnancies.

If you suffer from back ache you know the pain and fear which registers in your body as a result of the injury.  The memory is stored within my muscle tissue in my lower back and to this day 16 years later that memory is still in place.  What ensued as a result of this injury were weekly jaunts to have my back realigned because I wanted somebody else to “fix me”.  So I travelled and I was realigned, walked rigid in fear of slipping the discs again for a couple of days before eventually re-slipping them whilst lifting one of the lads up into my arms.  This process continued for a couple of years and the final straw came when at one such appointment a horse was before me and a greyhound behind me.   I left in tears but with a knowledge that “I, me” personally needed to do something about what was happening, not somebody else.

I turned to yoga and there began my real healing journey.  Yoga allows you to strengthen muscles which over the course of life become weakened, lacking in tone, thorn, or damaged by experiences we put ourselves through.  Yoga gently strengthened my back, improved my muscle tone and flexibility and actually changed my whole physical appearance in the process by improving my posture.

Pregnancy is one way of weakening our muscles but there are other ways.  Perhaps you lift and haul heavy items during the course of your days’ work.  Do you drive for a living and do you keep both hands equally on the steering wheel or do you continuously keep one arm raised causing imbalance to the muscles in your upper back and shoulders? Do you sit properly in your chair at work? Imbalance in your muscles takes place if you do not equally work both sets of muscles around a particular area where you may be repetitively repeating the same action over and over again.  We are creatures of habit and fall into the repetitive phase quite easily.  Perhaps you are someone that stands a lot as part of your work, did you know that how you stand can affect your posture and likewise impact upon your back? Simple changes and awareness can reap profound effects.

Yoga will help bring awareness to your body.  It will bring balance back into your muscles, whilst stretching, releasing and strengthening those same muscles.  On this workshop I will be focusing on bringing flexibility back into your back.  I will show you ways to strengthen stretch and loosen your back out in a safe manner and you will feel the effects immediately releasing within your body.   Fear of repeating the initial pain lodges within our psychic and we hold that tension within the cells of our bodies, on this workshop I will be showing you ways to free this memory from the cells and create healthy newer memories.

I personally escaped the pain, but it meant “I” had to do the work, put in the time and the effort to ensure my back recovered.  If you are tired of trying the same old methods to sort your back, why not consider trying the option of yoga?

I guarantee you that if you join me on this one day workshop it will be the beginning of a new lifestyle for you.  You will gain the freedom to embrace change and enhance your life for the better.

You will learn how to strengthen and release your back, bringing ease and flexibility back to your body.  Posture will improve and your overall feeling of well-being will be increased.

Do you deserve this?  Does your loved one suffer from backache and perhaps you would like to offer them this healing gift.   If you would like any further information, please feel free to contact me on 086 7847998 or private message me here on my page.  The cost of this workshop is €80 and dinner is an additional €20 for a three course meal which is optional.  There is a change to the menu this time and dinner will be a choice of fish / meat, vegetables and potatoes, desert, tea and coffee.  Please note that booking is essential due to constraints on space.

I look forward to perhaps seeing you on the mat.

Om shanti Noreen.

Release Your Inner Dragonfly – Yoga Weekend

11856269_577448015728420_801590564125529140_o

Do you feel like you are constantly running on empty, caged and held captive by endless demands on your time? Maybe you feel energetically heavy, lethargic, stumped creatively with stores of inspiration depleted or totally drained. Are you constantly on standby ready to meet the demands of others on your time, children, work, smart devices, jumping to the “ping” tones of your phone? I often felt this way and I was often left asking myself “what about me?” What about time for me? I found myself yearning for space and freedom away from it all. I am a wife, mother, with a healing business and part time job and on occasions this can all become overwhelming when I struggle to try and keep all the balls in the air and remain positive, often I am left wondering “just where is all this headed?”?

If you can associate with any of this then maybe my “Release your inner dragonfly Yoga adventure” may be the answer / ticket for you. Why releasing your inner dragonfly? I absolutely LOVE dragonflies and the symbolic meaning of the dragonfly. It is why I choose a dragonfly as a logo for my business and the qualities I try to fall back to time and time again when life becomes a struggle. Magic, mystery, joy, lightness of being, harmony, peace, strength and change are qualities the dragonfly embraces. Qualities I struggle to achieve a lot of the time but still believe we are all searching for when feeling stuck or overwhelmed by life, a little something to help transform us into a better space and place. My intention for this workshop is to try and help you attain some of these qualities in the Burren. All levels of ability are welcome from complete beginners to the more seasoned Yogis/Yogini’s. Yoga for me has always been about getting to know myself better, so in the Burren I will be giving you an opportunity to deepen your awareness of yourself and help you to awaken your inner dragonfly.

The dragonfly delves deeper into the meaning of life beyond the surface of superficial things. He discovers greater movement, healing, transformation and change but he does so in a light hearted way. As Yoga is the union of mind and body we will be incorporating breathing techniques, meditation practices and Asana’s to help us to go beyond the surface of our own physical bodies to help bring back balance and harmony to our whole system. Practising yoga regularly stretches your muscles resulting in an increase range of mobility in joints. It stretches soft tissues and improves muscle tone, strength and endurance. All this coupled together helps increase flexibility and strength within the human body bringing about better posture and body awareness. Hatha yoga practices will help therapeutically stretch, open and release fatigued bodies and muscles. Soothing relaxations and calming breath works will gently dissipate tension and tightness from the body and allow you to soften and surrender into mellow warmth as the practices fan the flames within the heart centre igniting and renewing passion and joy for life, Dragonfly type of passion.

With external pressures from everyday life taking its toll on our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing I have decided to make the emphasis of this workshop to be about “self love”. So often we tend and cater to the needs of others always placing ourselves last in the queue of life, this workshop is an opportunity for you to place yourself top of that queue by embracing pure selfish indulgent pleasure for oneself.

Socrates said “The time is now”. Right here, right now I am offering you an opportunity to indulge yourself, there are no bells or flounces, flags or banners, I am not making promises of miracles, or life changing events I will be simply guiding you through various yoga practices where you will get an opportunity to explore and possibly deepen an age old peaceful practice that will enhance your life in the most meaningful way.

Yoga teaches self-acceptance and promotes relaxation in the body. Lowers blood pressure, increases lung capacity and slows heart rate which in turn has the added benefit of boosting the immune system and we all know that your health is your wealth. My favourite benefit of all has to be the fact that yoga slows down the aging process and every little bit helps.

The benefits of yoga are numerous the above are just a few major ones. I know for me personally it taught me tools to cope with life and the struggles I personally faced. Initially I took up yoga as a means of getting out of the house where four walls on occasions would literally feel like they were closing in around me. I didn’t realize when I took that first vital step that I was embarking on a journey which would quite literally save my life. I’ve come a long way from giggling down the back in that first class, stifling laughter as we tried to bend and contorted our bodies into positions with the most bizarre names. Yoga, however, in between the laughter and giggles had stealthy seeped her way in under my skin intertwining and mixing with every miraculous cell of my body like Blackcurrant Squash mixes with water. It wasn’t until my dad died a few years later and my life spiralled completely out of control that I learnt the true value of yoga and the tools she supplies to help us cope with everyday life and the struggles we face. Yoga has quite literally picked me up off the floor and pieced me back together, on more than one occasion I may add and it has helped put me back on the right track.


I know personally what yoga is capable of so this workshop for me personally is about giving thanks for the love I have embraced through yoga. So our workshop will be about love and we will be working closely with the heart chakra whilst at the same time embracing the spirit of the dragonfly in a colourful way, so if at all possible, bring bright colourful clothes with you. We will be embarking on a journey to free our inner dragonfly and will lovingly treat ourselves in a guilt free pleasurable way whilst embracing this journey.

A little over a year ago I attended a yoga workshop at the Cliffs of Moher and the impact of the stunning location remained with me. We will have the whole complex to ourselves for this weekend so you are free to ramble at your leisure and explore. The yoga studio was purposely designed and is the essence of peace as the backdrop to our yoga will be the Atlantic Ocean. Accommodation is modern but with huge character and extremely comfortable and homely with amazing views for as far as your eyes can see. Food is contemporary vegetarian cuisine.

I found peace and freedom whilst there if only briefly and floated home after a wonderful weekend. Leaving I made a silent wish to perhaps one day return and hold my own yoga workshop there in that raw and beautiful location. The food is lovingly cooked and served each day by a chef I personally wished to bring home with me. The food will tickle your taste buds and I guarantee at some point during the weekend you will be trying to taste and identify the various ingredients as you try to figure out what was in the recipes. Needless to say that the sense of indulgence is added to when the wash up magically disappears! You simply sit back, indulge, savour, relish and enjoy.

Relax in nature’s embrace where the wild Atlantic Ocean air will cleanse and re-energise every pore of your being. Be revitalised by allowing gusts of wild energetic sea air gust through you, clearing all feelings of lethargic heaviness from your heart and soul. Power walk or opt instead to mindfully meditate whilst strolling into the breath taking scenery along the magnificent coast near the Cliffs of Moher. Throw open any energetic doors which may confine you and embrace the vast openness within yourself as free and stunning as the cliffs themselves. Feel all tension leave your body in this magnificent location where there will be no expectations, no disruptions or demands upon your time. The workshop environment seeks or requests nothing from you other than to allow yourself to be fully present in the moment and to give yourself permission to truly enjoy. My wish and hope is, that in this space like the dragonfly you will find the freedom to embrace peace, contentment and tranquillity.

To further enhance and deepen this experience you may also wish to avail, at an additional cost, of a full body massage. Raise yourself blissfully to another dimension and enjoy a further indulgence for self, offered by our workshop.

All this will unfold over the course of our weekend and as the sun sets on our journey of adventure together I guarantee you we will return to your respective homes lighter, freer, more grounded with a healthier immune system, totally relaxed and ready to face whatever the winter may unfold.

Om shanti

————————–

Dates: Friday 9th Oct. to Sunday 11th Oct. 2015
Times: Check In 4pm on the 9th Oct and Check out at 1pm on the 11th

Cost: Early bird €370 (until 31st August 2015)
Regular price €410

Location: Cliffs of Moher Retreats, Moher Lodge, Kinielty, Liscannor, Co. Clare

Archery and Yoga

11168125_553742758098946_4249253805016656687_n

Shortly after Christmas 2014, a great friend gathered a few of us together over dinner with an agenda.  His idea was to set out goals in various areas of our lives for the year ahead with a specific intention of working towards those goals and bringing fun and greater happiness into our lives.    As a collective group we would be present to encourage, nudge and bear witness to the unfolding of these goals as they may or may not occur during the year.  As an added bonus we get to meet up every once in a while and reconnect.

Whilst writing out a list of goals was easy enough to complete, narrowing them down into three concise goals under each section proved a little more challenging.  It took a lot more insight and thought.  It meant the goal became more important in its intention and suddenly frivolous goals started to fall by the way side in place of more concrete significant ones.

One of my “goals” under the hobbies section was to take up archery.  My friend asked “why archery”? As I journey through my life I am trying to attain a particular set of achievements for myself.  Sometimes in certain areas it is difficult to see if I am making any headway or progress and it can become a little disheartening.  Archery was a physical target I could see, connect with and I knew immediately if I achieved it or not.  Simple as that, plus, I had tried my hand at archery over the years and I enjoyed it.  I decided I wanted to deepen my interest and knowledge in it whilst at the same time learning to do the art properly.

This year my goals got voiced in front of a group of people I respect greatly and the effect of this has been huge as it has helped me implement and follow through on my goals and I am holding myself accountable to achieving them.  I basically created a bucket list with a limited time span of twelve months for completion.   Archery I decided was going to be completed before the summer, so off I trotted to invoke the help of google.  I found Nemo Rangers Archery Club in Cork City and I booked in for the 6 weeks beginners’ course which commenced early May.

I have been wistfully looking back over what this course has done for me and what it has helped me achieve over the past couple of weeks.  First and foremost, it gave me time for myself.  I scheduled into a busy life style a specific time block just for me.  I undertook this course on my own.  I didn’t rope in friends to come along but instead braved something completely new all on my own, it has been most rewarding.  In the safety of groups we often do not branch out into other avenues preferring to remain within the confines and safety of the group.  Standing alone, you have to interact, break new ground and you get to savour new experiences which have a huge expanding and uplifting effect.  For me personally even the hour’s car journey to Cork gave me much needed head space for myself.  I got to challenge myself by taking on something new and there is great satisfaction in knowing that I committed to the task and followed it through simply for me.

How many times in our lives do we decide to do something only to allow ourselves to be railroaded or side swiped by other demands on our time, thereby preventing us from completing the task?  I never realised how doing this allowed me to chip away at my own self-esteem.  I, in effect was saying that I personally wasn’t worth my time or effort and that X, Y and Z were more important.  I have empowered myself greatly by completing this course.  I will admit there was an “oh crap, what am I doing here” moment when I rounded the corner in Nemo Rangers to find a room full of strong guys staring back at me.  There were some fun moments also and valuable lessons learnt.  One lesson I learnt during “tidy up” at the end of the night was –  when you are rolling the straw target back into storage and it starts to fall on you let it go and do NOT keep holding on!!  My apologies again to my poor colleague who I pinned underneath the straw target whilst I lay spread-eagle’d on top of it and him.  Sorry!!!  As the course developed it was also endearing to see that guys like girls can miss a shot to centre target.

Archery gave me focus and something to aim for.  This flows smoothly into other areas of my life as I know I can aim for my goals and dreams.  With a little focus, some high shots, some lows and the odd curve ball or in my case wandering straw targets, a little bit of practice and not giving up, eventually sooner or later there is a very good chance I may, just may make that target.

I’ve learnt that the tighter you hold onto something the more wayward the reaction is to it and it may even repel completely.  Gripping the bow too tight whilst focused on the yellow bulls eye resulted in bruising and stings.  You quickly learn to lighten your hold after a couple of burns.   Life is the same, think about it.  Sometimes, we hold on so tight, with tunnel vision, hoping and praying against the odds for a certain resolution.  We are so fixed on the end result or target we don’t see the tension and physical harm we are inflicting upon ourselves in the process.   Lighten up and let go a little was the lesson here.

There were huge similarities between archery and yoga which surprised me.  Both are a discipline.  Both draw your awareness into your body, centre and focus you.  Archery and yoga make you aware of areas of tension held within your body and release requires you to soften and to let go.  Both have a focused target in mind.  In archery it is the yellow circle at the centre of the bale of straw whilst in yoga it is to travel to the centre of self to find union of mind and body.  For both practices the fun is in the journey getting there.

The next item on my list of goals is Kayaking.  There is a slight issue here, I can’t swim!  But hey, that’s certainly not going to stop me.

So what have you stopped yourself from doing?  Are you ready to take on a new challenge?  What is on your bucket list or goal list?  Do you consider yourself worthy of trying to achieve them?   Take it from it from me, GO FOR IT. You ARE worth it and in the long run the fun in trying brings with it new surprises, fun moments, binds new friendships and reaps great rewards.

Om shanti

Noreen.

 

Lazy hazy night time yoga from my bed…..

Do you find life is passing you by and days are just whizzing past so that suddenly months instead of days have slipped away? I do and this year summer for me personally has just gone in a blink of an eye.  Projects which I had planned remain untouched in various areas of my home and my yoga practice has slipped from an everyday discipline to being  more like my rounder shots – hit and miss!  Still, I am not beating myself up over this as these are the lazy hazy days of what’s left of summer past.  Light and heat are slowly beginning to fade away and autumn’s gently caressing us with cooler air, shortening evenings and a hint of chills to come.  We are slowly getting ready to snuggle on down into the inevitable winter which lies ahead.

With these hectic lives we live I am an advocate of incorporating yoga into everyday living.  I can be heard saying do a forward bend at the kitchen counter whilst waiting for the kettle to boil… do your core work between adds of your favourite TV programme or whip out that pillow and take yoga to your bed.  With this in mind I’ve decided to share a little of my bedtime yoga practice with you.  Bedtime yoga aids my sleep, relaxes my mind and enhances my experience of a snugly deep and utterly delightful sleep.

I like to read positive, uplifting, life enhancing, captivating and magical longing pages of a good book before I drift off into slumber.  Keeping this in mind my first bedtime yoga pose is Sphinx.

 

photo 2 (5)

 I whip out my pillow, turn onto my tummy and prop myself up on my elbows which are positioned just beneath my shoulders, arms parallel to each other and my head is held loosely, shoulder blades are gently relaxing downwards.  Head and neck can be kept lose and tension free. I then lift and extending each leg at a time, pointing my toes towards the end of my bed as this helps to lengthen into my lower back.   I then gently press into my pubic bone thereby tucking in my tail bone as I relax and gently breathe into this gentle back bend whilst I catch up on a couple of pages of my book.

Benefits of Sphinx Pose:

  • Sphinx pose helps to release stress from the body
  • It helps to strengthen the spine
  • It gently stretches shoulders and abdomen
  • It expands the chest and lungs
  • It helps to stimulates abdominal organs
  • Best of all, it helps to firm the buttocks

After a few minutes, I like to do a gentle relaxing moving meditation.  Breathe in and out fully into each pose, do not force your breath simply allow it to flow in and gently ebb back out.  Each breath moves you into the next posture, alternatively you can break each pose down and hold each pose for a number of breaths before then finishing with all poses flowing together into yoga flow.

 

Moving Meditation:

Starting position – Childs Pose  – pose of surrender

photo 3 (2)

Breathe In –   Heart opener, kneeling

photo 4 (1)

Breathe Out – Hare Pose  

photo (28)

Breathe In – Table top  – Weight bearing

photo 1 (5)

Breathe Out – Down Dog   – Inversion

photo 5 (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breathe In – Table Top

photo 1 (5)

Breathe Out – Hare

photo (28)

Breathe In – Heart opener, kneeling       

photo 4 (1)

Breathe Out – Childs Pose

photo 3 (2)

Hold childs pose for at least three breaths.  Place your awareness on breathing, those with asthma may focus on breathing into the back of lungs, helping to work the muscles at the back of the lungs and develop lung capacity.

Repeat this meditation a number of times.  

Benefits of this moving meditation:

With breath awareness during yoga flow, all your cares and worries slowly begin to drift away as you gently float into ease of movement with the breath.  This allows the chatter of the brain to fall away, instills a sense of peace and calm which is beneficial and supportive to a good nights sleep. I often ask students to close their eyes whilst embracing this meditation.  It completely shifts your awareness inwards, you can literally feel every movement and subtle shift within your body.  This also allows you to trust yourself and your own innate intuition as you knowingly find your mattress as you return back to starting position.

  • Child pose – allows your awareness to start to travel inwards helping you to cut ties with the outside world and all the distractions that this brings, thereby alleviating stress and anxiety.  It releases tension in the back, shoulders and chest.  It lengthens and stretches the spine.  It gently stretches the hips, thighs and ankles whilst at the same time stretching muscles, tendons and ligaments around the knee.
  • Hare pose – stretches the back muscles and helps relieve backache. Tones the pelvic muscles and sciatic nerves.  When actively practiced (gently extending into the palms of your hands)  it helps to tone the shoulders, upper arms and chest area.
  • Down dog – is an inversion which stretches your arms, back and legs in one movement.  It is weight bearing and thereby improves bone density especially in the upper body.  This pose boosts your immune system and aids circulation in the body. It also aids the movement of energy in the body. Lifting the sit bones towards the ceiling also lengthens into the hamstrings and calves.

Then gently come too lying on your back and rest in lying cobbler.

photo (24)

Lying cobbler is a strong groin and hip opener and is sometimes known as the Goddess Pose.  It massages all the lower organs of the body such as the urinary, digestive and reproductive.  If practiced regularly it can help relieve and regulate irregular menstruation.  It relieves sciatic pain and prevents hernia.  Gently place your arms on your upper thighs and bring your knees together to come out of this pose.

Introducing a calming breath work whilst in the pose is also conducive to aiding a great night’s sleep.  Breathe in for the count of four and breathe out for the count of eight if possible.  Relax, release and allow all your cares and worries to float away as you drift contentedly into a blissful sleep.   Sweet dreams…… Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Reflecting on a year past – Part 3 Rebirthing

Rosemary Khelifa is a Rebirthing Therapist based in Dublin.   As I had never heard of rebirthing previously I invoked the help of Google once more and yet again Wikipedia came up trumps.

Rebirthing-breath work is a breathing technique that is used to heal suppressed emotions such as anger, fear, sadness, etc., it can heal suppressed emotions regardless of what point in one’s life they became suppressed.

As a yoga teacher I am used to doing various breath works and appreciate the profound effect that correct breathing techniques have on the body system as a whole unit i.e, the physical, mental and spiritual body.  In Hatha Yoga I use the breath for centering at the beginning of class, as a healing mechanism via poses and relaxation at the end of class to help release and let go. I have witnessed first-hand the calming effects correct breathing has on children, the physically, mentally disabled and people stressed to the hilt from every day pressures.  It is amazing to be present and physically see tension and stress dissipate and dissolve from the human body right before my eyes by just breathing correctly.  The energy in the room also takes on softness with a distinct element of peace and calm which becomes palpable and almost caress able.   In this atmosphere healing takes place whether recognised in conscious form or not.    The rebirthing breath I have found personally accelerated the healing and clearing process much faster from my body than yoga ever did.  The breathing technique used placed emphasis on the “in” breath with deep awareness and focusing full attention on the breath.  This allowed my energy field to accelerate much quicker and release suppressed emotions as quickly as two appointments in.

I’ll be honest here, even with all my breathing experience and various pranayama workshops, the rebirthing breath work became quite a challenge as I realised the full extent and capacity of my lucid mind to distract, deter and prevent me from doing what it was I wished to do – breathe mindfully.  I felt faint (even whilst lying on the plinth), I felt the back of my heart tighten and restrict, my knee begin to swell at an alarming rate, my fingers began to throb, pulsate and swell into what felt like alien body parts, my right leg swelled to treble its normal size, I couldn’t move it.  I turned so cold I felt an affiliation with the Eskimo’s from the Antarctic!   However, none of these experiences were real or physically occurring.  It was a hallucination of my mind, delusion, playing control games in order to prevent me from focusing on healing by use of my breath.  I learnt a valuable lesson on the extent our minds will go to in order to distract, perplex, create a story and deter us from our original mission.  I learnt that the mind is the equivalent of the elusive ninja – ego, the reticent assassinator of our dreams, our hopes and desires.

The human body will do everything physically possible to heal itself on every level naturally.  Rebirthing uses the breath to access this inner innate wisdom of our bodies to expel suppressed feelings and emotions if we manage to by-pass our egos.  It isn’t natural for us to suppress feelings and emotions, they need to be expressed and experienced.  Our body will clear these suppressed feelings from our physical, emotional and energetic body if we allow it to access and express what it is naturally designed to do.

Rebirthing is a magnificent stress management tool and there are many significant valuable qualities to practicing this therapy.  People are wakening up and realising that all physical ailments and disease stem from ignored, suppressed and unresolved emotional tensions.   The energy behind these emotions cannot be ignored.  Sooner or later they will manifest and express themselves in some shape or form within our bodies.  Think of it as steam gently building up in a pot, if that steam doesn’t have an outlet, then you better step back and watch as the lid explodes with the passing of time. At this point in time I feel it is important to share with you why I am personally undertaking all these forms of healing therapies.  My Dad passed away at the age of 59 from Cancer.  His father before him likewise succumbed to this deadly disease.  Other members of my dad’s family also met the same fate.  Everything I believe in life is about perspective, you could say it is genetic perhaps or unfortunate, I chose to look at prevention rather than a cure.  Storing anger, hurt, pain for whatever reason, suppressing it has the same effect on our bodies as steam gently building up in a saucepan and sooner or later it will express itself in some shape or form.

Rosemary has helped me greatly with releasing suppressed emotions and energy blocks.  To be honest I am amazed at the amount of emotions any one human being can keep suppressed and unacknowledged within their body.   I also became aware of a habit I expressed on numerous occasions, apologising and saying I’m sorry.  Each time I said I’m sorry, Rosemary asked me to say one thing I loved about myself.  That was an eye opener!  This is where the realisation of conditioning in our lives became an obvious issue.  Rosemary empowered me with the use of positive mantras and affirmations and the repetitive nature of saying these mantras has had an enormous positive effect.

Rosemary’s approach is a holistic one.  In her presence I felt safe, secure and protected.  Under her guidance and care I stopped asking who, what, where and how questions.  I began to really trust in the process of things unfolding exactly as they are meant to.  I stopped incessantly searching for answers and pushing myself to seek unattainable goals.

A friend of mine graciously gifted me with a walk with a Hawk last year for my birthday.  I was overjoyed, however on seeing the hawk initially I felt huge pity for this beautiful creature which was kept prisoner behind caged units and allowed to experience freedom on rare occasions to display and perform for human entertainment.  However, I soon learnt via his keeper that this bird was not caged in the sense that I felt he was and I was again reminded that appearances can be deceptive.  Yes indeed he had a tag and was implanted with a tracking device but if this bird chose to take off, soar, dive and glide through the air, then that is exactly what he would do and there wasn’t a thing his keeper could do about it.  I learnt that he chose to entertain humans as they provided a regular supply of food and water.  I was suddenly able to correlate with this bird, I wasn’t physically locked behind prison bars, but fear often kept me rooted into habitual conditioning.  I too am free to choose, the only thing holding me back is myself.   Once I realised this in the rebirthing session I empowered myself to stay with the fear I was feeling with the movement of energy within my body.  I surrendered to the feelings and the physical release of blockages was enormous as I shook, contracted, contorted and released pent up emotions from my physical body.  It was and continues to be an unreal experience.  On occasions I felt nauseated but this too was good as it is a form of cleansing from the physical body.  By facing the fear and surrendering to the breath energy was free to move through all of my body’s meridians allowing me to start healing at a deeper level.

I am a work in progress. I am still resisting this at some levels but again with Rosemary’s assistance and support I am getting there and slowly setting free my energy.  For once in my life I am just going with the flow without wondering why and how.  I am just trusting that I am capable of healing myself in the way my body needs naturally.  The feeling is wonderful as I feel lighter and freer than I have done in months not just physically but mentally and emotionally.

Rosemary K

holisto.com/therapist-listing/rosemary-khelifa‎ 

To every person who has touched my life in the past 13 months or so I say a huge thank you.  You are creating and shaping the chapters of my life, unfolding my story in ways I never fully comprehended or knew possible.  Thank you to those who are still shaping my life by encouraging me to move outside my comfort zones, feel the fear, grow, journal, heal and open up to my full feminine essence.

Life is a journey, a journey of discovery, both of self and life in general.  Embrace it, treasure it and enjoy it, we only get one shot at it.  Be present, present in whatever shape or form life presents itself to you, but more importantly than being present feel your true emotions in the moment.

I’m living my dream, I’m trying to be present and focused aware, I’m aiming to live life so I may rugby slide tackle into a grave at the end of my days whooping and hollering –  “Woohoo!! What a ride”.  I hope this blog shows you it is possible, it may not be easy but it IS possible and so very worth it.  Om shanti & Deepest Love Noreen.

 Photo for Rebirthing

 

Reflecting on a year past – Part 2 Embracing Tantra and its healing energy

You have to trust where you are being guided and at times I trust my instincts and do this whole heartedly without a second thought.  On other occasions, however, fear and procrastination hold me back from wonderful experiences and opportunities and I recognise this.   I decided I needed to focus on energy and in developing the Reiki side of my business.  I needed to develop MY knowledge of energy to a greater depth and the only way to truly appreciate the benefit of energy is to experience it first-hand.

We all have energy flowing through us.  Our bodies have seven major chakras points. Chakras are areas within the body where energy meridian pathways cross and meet.  When these energy centres are balanced we feel great, healthy, uplifted and positive.  However, on occasions these energy centres get blocked due to various triggers, conditionings, beliefs and stress in our lives and this can have the opposite effect.  Energy is all around us and this energy connects us to every living being.  We intuitively pick up on this energy e.g. have you ever walked into a room and instinctively knew that something was wrong?  You have sensed the energy.  Reiki is healing energy and I have a desire to help people, so I put it “out there” to the Universe that I was willing to gain a deeper knowledge, understanding and awareness of energy in order to help others.

The boomerang reply which came back was NOT what I expected!   By chance, I was asked if I did Tantra Yoga.  Being honest I wasn’t even sure what Tantra was other than Sting engaged in it.  So I took to Google and in particular to Wikipedia –

Tantra is the name given by scholars to a style of meditation and ritual which arose in India no later than the 5th Century AD.

I also knew through yoga that all forms of Yoga stemmed originally from Tantra.  So, I decided I wanted to know more about the subject of Tantra and not just hearsay.  If for no other reason, I wanted to be able to pass on and relay proper informed information to any further queries which happened my way.  I continued my search on Google and found Vesco Bondov.  Vesco describes Tantra best when he says,

“It is ultimately about feeling our own power and this then brings the self-realisation and the enlightenment”.

At our first meeting Vesco successfully identified areas in my energy field which needed addressing.  I had had minor surgery prior to our meeting which I had not disclosed and he advised me that I needed healing in this area.

Vesco is an intellectually highly educated person in many fields outside of Tantra. His background is in psychotherapy, art therapy, dance and martial arts to name but a few.  He was one of the founders of Transcendental Meditation in his native Bulgaria and Director of the First TM-Yogic Flying/Levitation course there.  He was also one of the pioneers of the more dynamic styles of Hatha Yoga in Ireland a few years back.

Vesco is an extremely gentle, kind hearted person with an endless bounty of knowledge and dedication.  He also has an enormous perception of the human spirit and form.  He is exceptionally patient and understanding and I will be the first to admit I was NOT the easiest of clients.  I often challenged, fought and unknowingly tried to manipulate him on many levels as fear of change held me rooted in old holding patterns and conditionings.  Vesco, however, saw beyond my masks and armouring to see the injured human being I was at source and the layers I had built around myself as my modem of strength.  Under his innate intuition, guidance and support through means of breath work, awareness, music and with a little bit of therapeutic wrestling thrown in (to activate deeper holding patterns), I am slowly beginning to recognise the masks of protection and armouring I encase myself behind and wear quite unbeknownst to myself.

I am learning how conditioning and beliefs shape us into beings with fears, anxieties, patterns and tendencies which successfully crush our spirits and limit us not just in our physical bodies but our mental and emotional ones too.  It rings true that fear in one area of our lives hinders us in all other areas because once again both personal and business lives are interconnected.  Why?  Because we store these emotions in our physical bodies thereby, causing ripple effects into our energetic bodies. This creates illnesses, blockages and armouring as we try to control events and people in our lives in order to protect ourselves from getting hurt.  This is SO unhealthy.  Personally, I was guilty on a lot of fronts and now I am very much aware of this.

During this time I struggled with ME on occasions and there were periods where suppressed emotions within me brought forth moments of aggression, anger, sadness, tears and isolation.  Difficult trying times for someone who normally doesn’t face these emotions but opts instead to swallow them, smile, see the positive side and then just get on with things.  The energy work and introspection made me physically heavy and weighed down by it all.  There were days where I felt like I had physically been to battle.  Days where I wished I was alone on a deserted island to absorb, lick wounds and re-gather my strength in order to continue.    Those were the duvet days where I just wanted to hide from the world and the occasions where I felt fear the greatest.  But you can get busy living or you can get busy dying.  Life for me is for living and the desire to do so is unfathomable.  I can honestly say now, I am more grounded, content and happy within my life than I have been for years.

Tantra has taught me that fear stunts our growth as human beings, it limits our lives.  Love opens us up in immeasurable ways.  Fear keeps us locked behind self-inflicted prison walls.  Love breaks down those walls and I’m not talking about the fluffy, gooey fairy-tale love but deep love and acceptance of all that is.  There are five primal fears and seven major fears yet there is only ONE love.  In fear mode we engage primal instincts to survive.  We are unable to effectively feel deep genuine emotions but are controlled instead by our flight, fight or freeze response.  We are unable to grow or flourish into the remarkable loving sensual beings we were born to be.  We are unable to appreciate and feel the ecstasy of true natural essential living. Vesco has taught me that Tantra awakens you to the essence of who you truly are at the heart of it all, at source where we are the most pure.  Here we are boundless, there is no limit to our potential as human beings.   Tantra is a powerful healing energy which encourages self-love and love of others.  Tantra is love at its most natural greatest form.  It is self-realisation and awakening to the enormous potential we ALL have as human beings.  Tantra in effect is LOVE and the complete opposite to fear.

Slowly but surely, I am opening to genuine feelings.  I am beginning to ask myself – “how do I feel? How do I, REALLY, feel and not how would others expect me to feel? ” There is a huge difference in the response.  I am learning to be present in the moment and observing the lengths my mind will go to in order to create a story, create fear and prevent me from being truly present in any given situation.  I am learning how devious and controlling our minds can be as I continue to step outside my comfort zone, embracing new opportunities and being receptive to the healing benefits gained through Tantra.  I am learning trust once again and being self-empowered as I learn to trust my own innate inner guidance.  A year ago, I would not have written about this as I would have been afraid of what other people would think.  I have grown and I am delighted that I have done so.  I have changed in so many ways, the greatest being that I now realise and accept that what other people think of me is actually none of my business.  What matters most is what I think of myself, the freedom in this is unreal.  It is extraordinary because I am being free, genuine and for the first time in my life being true to me.

Vesco also recognised in me a behavioural pattern where I persistently push myself to overachieve, to incessantly seek answers and to keep forging ahead whilst at the same time successfully managing to ignore what it is I am really avoiding in my life.   Strength of character is important to survive in life, to survive challenges and tribulations.  Strength has its place.  I am a survivor and strong in character but being strong all the time creates imbalance in me as a person so I am learning it is also vitally important to be vulnerable, a quality I tend to supress and hide.  Both qualities balance life just like yin and yang.  Vesco recommended that I see Rosemary Khelifa a Re-Birthing specialist and this brings me into the final section of my blog.

So from an energetic point of view this year has taught me that…… recognising, accepting and loving the true essence of who we are at the heart of it all, is the single most healing benefit there is.