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Yoga Me Well Blog Archive

Into the Winter

I LOVE winter. I love the Tim Burtonesque trees with their curly, gnarled twiggy limbs. I love brooding bruised cloudscapes heavy with rain. Wet slick streets, blinding white-gold in a burst of late afternoon sun. And most of all, the excuse to retreat from the world to just curl up and read by the heater, watch DVDs, and empty my way too busy brain. It’s time to make room for new things to come into my life.

Winter’s a natural time for self-reflection. All its energies compel us to take quiet time and take stock of Life-So-Far before the outgoing energies of spring and summer launch you onto a whole new track. What am I going to do with all that supportive energy and opportunity?

For me, the best time for self-inquiry is before I go to bed. I focus, breath and ask for a dream to guide me, or some intuition or sign to light the way in the week ahead. It comes in a quiet knowing, or a convo with a good friend, or sometimes there’ll be a relentless theme about the people coming into my life, so it’s impossible to ignore the message!

First thing in the morning is good too. As soon as I wake, I stay tucked deep inside my skin, warm under the doona, and ask for guidance, or simply explore the inner landscape – what am I taking into my day?

Of course, I need to be far more careful about what I wish for…

Winters past have bowled me flat over. Mac Truck stuff. I have spun with all the apocalyptic Revelations. I thought I’d been processing some fairly significant stumbling blocks in my life over the years until I realise, each winter anew, that I’m standing at the foothill of another personal Himalaya when it comes to living authentically. How long it takes to inch closer to your true self, to acknowledge all of who you were born to be.

There’s some awfully deep-rooted belief systems messing with my life that need to be confronted … those boring, tired, ruthless old scripts of being “too mediocre”, not having the “innate nous/intelligence” to run my own business and be successful at whatever I want to be. There’s that ol’ chestnut – lack of courage and confidence and self-belief to do what I love and to earn an easy living from it – teaching, writing. It’s all good. Tremendously good.

I’m always excited to think I’m heading toward a lighter and brighter time for these breakthroughs, and then I think, it’s pretty amazing how resilient I can be to slug through waist-high mud to get there. Though it’s also likely, I realise, that I often find it easier to just wade through swamps than fly on my magic carpet.

Self-inquiry is a brilliant practice for getting real about life and purpose. You’ve just got to be up for the Big Ugly Truths. Oh yeah. They’re in there. And beyond each big ugly truth is the iridescent Knowing that lifts you to a new level of seeing and being. Ah, you say, you knew already it was this way. So obvious now that you have moved through it. But until all parts of you agree to take the journey, the internal foundation for genuine a shift in perspective and action lies in dunes of fleeting insight.

Liv Mitchell

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

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Lunch anyone?

You are here.

You are here.

We know those days: chained to the desk for busyness, juggling simultaneous demands and endless “Can I have a sec’?” interruptions that prevent meaningful work being done.

And we’re all familiar with the self-imposed lunch moratorium. Even though that midday break is a legal clause in your employment contract, it is easily thrown away. It’s also disrespectful to treat the dear body this way, given the optimum role we expect it to perform daily. Lunch is the body’s essential right to “rest and digest”, the mind’s opportunity to clear and reframe. The afternoon can be a fresh, more energised one, if we allow it.

At my part-time job, everyone eats at their desks. There is no lunch room. The stale air is filled with workers’ exasperated sighs and weary faces.  I eat at my desk too, in my 30min break. Then, I whisk myself outside, no matter what the weather. No errands. No particular direction. I keep my mind clear, detaching purposefully from the centrifugal force of thought, to observe the world like some theatre performance to which only I am privy. On return, I feel alert, revived and immediately switched on.

For health’s sake, take a mindful lunch break for a week and see how much easier work is to negotiate.

Liv Mitchell

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

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Grounding Practice

lawn bowls

This is not Denise; but she looks like she could be!

Denise is a straight shooter: down-to-earth, a great sense of humour. When she told me she’d been anointed Bowls Club Champion, I knew she would bring as much focus to her bowls as she does to her yoga practice. Her secret weapon? Grounding practice. With yoga on her side – her opposition doesn’t stand a chance.

We spend so much time in our heads that we lose our connection to Mother Earth.  When grounded, we stand taller, which brings a physical sense of strength and foundation, emotional reassurance that we can cope, and mental clarity as we stand above confusion to take in the overview. We’re less easily swayed by the changeability of the day.  Try it.

Stand up.  Close your eyes.

Bend your knees a little.  Feel the weight of your body pool into your ankles and feet. Notice how the weight is distributed – more to the front, sides or heels? Find centre.

Gently straighten your knees, keeping your mind in your feet, grounded.

With shoulders and arms perfectly relaxed, lift tall through the very tip of your head.

Notice all the space in between.  And how you breath more easily, more openly.

Ah; that’s better.


Liv Mitchell

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

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