slow, mindful yoga & small group classes in St Kilda, Balaclava, Elwood, bayside

Yoga Me Well Blog Archive

How to Stay on Track

 This YogaMeWell spring/summer term (at 4Dverse Creative Hub St Kilda), we’re practicing the art of STAYING or yoga and mindfulness on the mat.

We’re going to hold our postures longer, not to keep up with the trend toward Yin yoga or to ease open soft tissue. Our aim is to watch the fluctuations of mind in an effort to command greater steadiness.

A pure focus.

By staying in a pose longer than feels comfortable, we invite the mind to speak loudly. The yoga we do at YogaMeWell is relatively gentle, so the mind is most likely to speak its restlessness first: “Come on! What’s next?” “Maybe I’ll buy a pizza on the way home…”.

If staying does introduce a level of discomfort, we can take the opportunity to observe how the mind handles that: does it push malevolently through to chastise the body, or does it recognise and yield to this plea to ease off until the body is better nourished, rested or repaired. 

 

A MIND FIELD OF SUFFERING

The point is, ALL the trouble we get ourselves into in this life is caused by the activities of the mind. The yogic guidebook to peace, the Yoga Sutras, mentions this in its first breath: “citta vritti nirodha“, let us “still the fluctuations of the mind”. 

Our practice is always about harnessing that wild beast and leading it to focus.

While staying also eases us toward flexibility, and to gain strength, its real purpose is to encourage us, as students of this tumultuous life, to stand back from the relentlessness of hidden mental churning. We might gain a peek at how the mind directs our pathway using Free Will or Ego Stealth.

Through our practice on and off the mat, we can come to observe the decisions our Decision-Maker makes. We invite the Seer (whatever is behind the decision-making Ego mind) to stand forward and review the thought processes. Watching the mind from peaceful distance brings greater control over thoughts and subsequent actions.

If you feel inspired to join us, your mat awaits Tuesdays at 6:30pm or 7:35pm.

We are friendly faces and encouraging of each other. And we enjoy sharing our group practice. Each week, we uplift each other through our careful focus and dedication to regain balance.

It’s not about how you look or ‘perform’. Not at all. It’s about how you feel.

All levels of experience welcome. However if you have significant restrictions, these general classes may not be suitable. (Private classes are available to develop a personal practice.)

Term 4 begins Tues 9 October

Enrol now: 0409 473 162 or livmitchell@ozemail.com.au

I’m looking forward to meeting you when the time feels right. Until then, stay bright.

Cheery,
Liv

Liv Mitchell

Liv Mitchell is a hatha yoga teacher, relaxation instructor and freelance writer/editor who specialises in holistic wellbeing.

Tagged , , , ,

divider

A Guide to Self Inquiry

 Winter’s dark days, long nights and cold contracting weather offer opportunity to dwell in gentler pursuits. Many of us feel drawn naturally to be insular. It’s a seasonal prompt to stillness and reflection.

WHY PRACTICE?

I’ve had the good fortune for years of a dedicated personal mentor to guide me in this practice.  Broadly speaking, self-inquiry is a process that uncovers layers of original disturbance that are the root cause of our unhelpful behavioural patterns and reactive responses.

LEARN TO RECOGNISE YOUR TRIGGERS

In my experience, the practice reveals over time many and varied layers of an issue until I become less reactive – and finally neutral – in my response to whatever triggers it.

Triggers could be a situation, place, circumstance, person or event. Some of my responses include defensiveness, anger, victimhood, feeling trapped or powerless, despair and good old avoidance. It’s fun stuff.

Head in Ground Pose. It’s alright. We’ve all been there. But it’s better to go seek, than to hide.

Cleaning up our own psychic mess – which carries the patterns of prior generations too – requires strong intention and an attitude of self-responsibility. The process opens us to see clearly the aspects of Self that challenge us most such as our violence, aggression, selfishness, spinelessness.

IT’S WORTH IT BECAUSE …

The gifts of self-inquiry are:

  • self-acceptance
  • a quieter centre
  • lightness of mind and attitude
  • deeper insight into self and others
  • neutral and productive responses to life’s toughest challenges.    
**How to Self-Inquire
  1. Establish a daily practice and habit of quiet time to settle the overactive mind and becalm the nervous system. While 20 minutes of meditation twice a day is ideal, even 5-10 mins of natural breathing or mindful movement is an excellent habit.
  2. When a strong feeling arrives – day or night – pause to feel it. Name it.
  3. Practice knowing the full spectrum of your feelings, and welcoming them.
  4. Note if an obvious person, circumstance or event triggered that response.
  5. Consider this idea: our reactions are generally not about the thing in our immediate present, but refer to a past disturbing event that has imprinted to recreate that reaction.
  6. Over time you will learn to observe patterns such as particular personalities that trigger you, or situations such as being asked to do certain tasks by a partner or work colleague.
  7. Once you are established in awareness of your feelings, reactions, patterns, begin to self-inquire. After a reaction, ask yourself: “When did I first feel this way?”
  8. Trust whatever the subconscious mind reveals in answer to that question. It might be a flashback, or something you hear or see or read soon after that feels meaningful. It often reveals deep truth. Dwell on that insight from the strength of your older, wiser Self. Importantly, notice how you feel after the reveal.
  9. Next time a similar situation occurs, observe your response. Is it the same, deeper/stronger, neutral, or something else?

Taking command of your responses to life in this way is satisfying and empowering. There is so much to be gained from diminishing the whimsical impact of external forces.

** This is just one of many ways to inquire more deeply into why we are the way we are. This method, taught to me by  my mentor, may not suit all people. It’s not always appropriate to continue reaching back into past disturbances. This can reinforce old triggers. See my blog on yogic mindfulness for another way to clear your ‘psychic mess’. 

Warmly,

Liv

Join us  for Winter yoga (begins Tuesday 17 July). We’re taking time to reflect and go deeper.

Liv Mitchell

Liv Mitchell is a hatha yoga teacher, relaxation instructor and freelance writer/editor who specialises in holistic wellbeing.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

divider

Feeling challenged? Here’s what you can do

 

Sometimes Life’s challenges flow thicker and faster than we feel we have the capacity to handle. Here are some simple  practices I follow to get through. 

  • I acknowledge that it’s more than I feel capable of handling and compassionately accept my reality.
  • I release the need to resolve the matter (or matters) all at once. It will take the time it takes. 
  • Gratitude practice – I ponder all the things I can be deeply grateful for: a roof, clothing, food, running water.
  • I linger in moments of great beauty around me until feelings of anger, injustice or anxiety dissipate.
  • Cultivating contentment by reflecting on what is good – friends, health, successful and happy times past, how little I need to be content, access to Nature, the blessing of a Life that forges resilience.
  • I allow myself to be happy, despite the issues , even if it’s only for a few minutes.
  • I remind myself that I am in control of my response to Life.
  • Visualising things I’d like to enjoy in my life changes my chemistry and perception of what is possible.
  • Doing something that soothes me (beach walk, bath, read a book, mat practice).
  • Call upon a friend, or actively distract myself in pleasurable or therapeutic activity (cleaning! decluttering!) until I can return with a more able attitude.

Warmly,
Liv

 Term 2 yoga begins next week. Autumn practices to ground & release. Join us 🙂
Class info
Bookings

 

Liv Mitchell

Liv Mitchell is a hatha yoga teacher, relaxation instructor and freelance writer/editor who specialises in holistic wellbeing.

Tagged , , , , ,

divider