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relationship + connection values + intention wellness + healing wisdom + love

Summer Solstice Blessings

December 22, 2018

This year of 2018 has been intense!  An ’11’ year (2+0+1+8) – it has been a year of shaking things up, deep transformation and bringing us back to what is truly important in this life.  Many of us have been deeply challenged this year, broken apart and reconstructed in a very different form.   For me, and many others I know, this has been a year of navigating deep challenges, honouring the lessons learned and valuing the moments of peace in between.  We are all changed from the events of 2018 – personally and globally.

Tomorrow’s Summer Solstice (in the Southern Hemisphere) signifies the longest day and the shortest night of the year.  It is mid-summer.  Summer is a time of high energy & activity – there is a buzz around us as we delight in the long & warm summer nights.  It is the yang expression of the seasons when we tend to being social, open & active.   We celebrate, we dance, we laugh!

To be in tune with the summer months we open our hearts, minds and bodies to the warmth and freedom that surrounds us.  Showing & feeling gratitude for the lessons we’ve learned in this cycle and letting go of anything that no longer serves us.  Burning the remnance to nourish & unburden us. 

Align your schedule with the Sun
The days are much longer in summer giving us an opportunity to either stay up later or wake up earlier. Ayurveda advocates going to sleep later in the evening (around 10 or 11pm) to take advantage of the extended daylight and to allow the temperature to cool off for more comfortable sleeping conditions. On the other hand, if you decide to rise with the sun, you may choose to go to sleep earlier (around 9 or so) so you can wake up earlier and start your yoga practice.

Take an afternoon rest 
The idea of the “Spanish siesta” – a midday rest or nap that’s typically taken during the heat of the day – makes plenty of sense in our warmer months. As the heat continues to build up past the noon hour, the hottest time of the day usually hits around 3pm which a perfect time to give our bodies a rest.  By squeezing in an afternoon nap, you are recognising and honouring the power of the sun at its daily peak.

Practice simple sun salutations at dawn (or dusk)
If you choose to rise with the sun, this is the perfect opportunity for you to start your day with several yoga sun salutations since they are best done in the early morning hours on an empty stomach. The sequence of poses that make up the sun salutation are meant to be practiced in the direction of the sun while cultivating gratitude, awe, and respect for it. Start your practice with 8 to 12 sun salutations in the morning at sunrise (or even at dusk during the sunset)

Dance, sing & celebrate
In the warmth of summer we often find postivity and hope flow more easily.  Finding ways to move our body & to share with others helps to nourish our souls and celebrate our triumphs and achievements throughout the year.  If the year has been tough and taken all your inner resources – lay out in the sun and let it restore and heal you.   Ask yourself what are you grateful for?  What have you learned?  How have you grown?  


I hope you allow yourself the freedom to dance and be free this Summer Solstice – let go of control, celebrate, release.

With love & blessings,

Sharna 
xo.

SUMMER PATTERNS

With Summer comes the season for action & energy …

Element:  Fire Organs: Heart/Small Intestine/Pericardium/Triple Heater (metabolism)
Emotion:  Joy
Colour:  Red
Sense-organ: Mouth 
Taste:  Bitter
Sound:  Laughing
Cultivation:  Growth

Common problems: fever, profuse sweating, vomiting, weakness, shortness of breath, wheezing, diarrhea, bloating, irritability, inflammation, headaches

Recommended: watermelon, lemon, apple, pineapple, summer squash, zucchini, alfalfa, spinach & cucumber

Avoid hot, spicy, greasy or overly oily foods, also avoid over consumption of stimulants like coffee, alcohol or sugars (not that easy at Christmas: time!)

nutrition + nourishment relationship + connection values + intention wisdom + love

Winter Solstice Blessings

June 21, 2018

 

Winter is the end of the season cycle – the pause before the birth of a whole new cycle.  It is the time of metaphoric death and renewal – the stillness (yin) just before expression (yang).  Everything in nature appears to be lifeless & to have stopped growing.  Today’s Winter Solstice (in the Southern Hemisphere), signifies the shortest day and the longest, darkest night.  This day and this season are a time to turn inward to the stillness and darkness as a path to find the spark of light that leads us on the path back to the light and warmth as the sun’s warmth starts to grow again.  Surrendering to the stillness on the winter months allows for the potent gestation of the seeds of renewal & to new beginnings. 

To be in tune with the winter months we must become more introspective and storage-oriented; one cools the surface of the body and warms the inner core.  It is time to rest, to meditate deeply, refine our spiritual essence, and store physical energy – in the form of a little added weight for the cold season.  But we must also remember to stay active enough to keep the spine and joints flexible….

Gentle stretching

Our energy tends to become stagnant in the colder weather. Gentle stretching can help to keep the energy moving through our bodies and is a key element of staying balanced and boosting our immunity during the winter months.  Perhaps join a yoga or pilates class or indulge in a few gentle stretches before bed and first thing in the morning.

Energy conservation

Snuggle under the quilt (even if it is on the couch) and indulge in some fabulous guilt-free rest!  Like the bears in their caves, take a tip from nature and take some time out to hibernate.  Conserving our energy when it’s cold outside helps our body to rest & repair and build energy for the warmer months.

Warm, nourishing foods

During winter it is important to keep the chest and lungs warm and relatively dry.  Vegetables that resemble the shape of the lungs are particularly nourishing for them – such as cauliflower, broccoli & broccolini.  Warm hearty soups, whole grains, roasted nuts and steamed wintergreens are also great for boosting your immune system.

Listening to inner wisdom

Flowing on from the slowing of Autumn, the stillness of the coldest months gives us a chance to turn inward and reflect on our wants and needs.  Take regular moments to embrace the silence and listen to your inner wisdom.  Ask yourself where are you heading?  does your course need correction?  what do you need?  what can you give?  

 

WINTER PATTERNS

With Winter comes the season for rest & deep meditation….

Element:  Water
Organs: Bladder/Kidney
Emotion:  Fear
Colour:  Blue
Sense-organ:  Ears
Taste:  Salty
Sound:  Groaning
Cultivation:  Store

Common problems

lumbar pain, hearing difficulties, fluid retention, urinary infections, exhaustion, joint ache/pain

Recommended

warming spices (cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, ginger, mustard seed), vegetables that resemble the structure of the lungs – cauliflower, broccoli, broccolini.  Grounding vegetables like carrot, radish, fennel and beetroot.

Avoid

ice cream, yoghurt, cream, potatoes, bananas, chicken

 

I invite you to turn inward this Winter Solstice – to surrender to deep contemplation and travel deep within,

 

relationship + connection

Start Close In

February 27, 2018

In a moment of reflection recently it occurred to me that so many of us are looking for our ‘unique’ expression using other people’s words – in songs or prose or self help books – or in other creative expression – in art or music or fashion or design. So many of us see ourselves in these unique expressions of others, we identify with those elements that seem ‘right enough’ that they’ll do for now in the search of ‘what defines me’ and slip back into the place of comfort again, soothed for a short time in having found a relatively comfortable box to sit in. Until the elements that we’re quite the right fit start to dig into our sides, increasingly more frequently, and throw us back out onto that long and unfamiliar road in search of the ‘real me’, that perfect fit for the uniqueness of our own creative and unique contribution to the world – that thing that will leave the world changed – and slightly (or perhaps intensely) better for us having walked this Earth.

It strikes me that it is not the external seeking of identity per se that is at fault – the analysis and reflection time spent in drawing out that which resonates with our being and that which does not is a vital process in establishing our own special version of expression, and a wonderfully bonding activity for the homosapien community – it is the obsessive human tendency to adopt another’s expression in its completeness as our own, without dissecting the parts and seeking to understand where it fits within the creativity and individuality of our own expression.

We are immersed every day, every second, every moment in a multitude of truly magnificent human creativity, amazing expressions of soul that inspire us to join those expressions and to become one with them, persuading us to draw on those eloquent insights surrounding us, an all too frequently to use the ideas dreamt up by others to tell our own tale and journey.

My point here is in a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) way, that we each possess our very own unique language designed specifically for our own personal expression, and that language – together with our purpose and unique creative expression – is deeply inward. It requires silence, and focus and intense contemplation to reveal itself, in all it’s great splendour. It is a journey inward that we so frequently cut short when we harness the creative expression of others and take it on as our own, relieved to be free of the often unfamiliar and more challenging practice of soul searching.

But it is here that we will find our long term peace. It is here that we will find that endless supply of insights into the big questions – to happiness, contentment, compassion and inspiration, to love and understanding and to our very own language – complete with symbols and shapes, colours and designs for that wonderfully unique, satisfying and purposeful expression of ourselves – which is exactly what we are here to do.

So using your ‘external gurus’ as a guidepost, venture inward…..it’ll be the journey of your lifetime…

 

Start Close In – by David Whyte

Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first thing
close in,
the step you don’t want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way of starting
the conversation.

Start with your own
question,
give up on other
people’s questions,
don’t let them
smother something
simple.

To find
another’s voice
follow
your own voice,
wait until
that voice
becomes a
private ear
listening
to another.

Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
don’t follow
someone else’s
heroics, be humble
and focused,
start close in,
don’t mistake
that other
for your own.

Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first thing
close in,
the step you don’t want to take.

relationship + connection wellness + healing

Stress Less

January 8, 2018

Just take a moment right now and tune in to the level of tension in your body – are you gripping your muscles in places you’d never even noticed before?  Stress in our modern lives has become a chronic and reliable presence in our lives.  Did you know that our stress response – increased heart rate, a rush of blood to our muscles, less blood to the brain and digestive organs – is an automatic response to getting us out of physical danger.  In a short, intense period, we run from the lion that is chasing us until we clamber up a tree to safety and then we rest, for long periods, until the next short and intense incident.  Our bodies had time to recover, our digestion once again became top priority and life returned to normal pace.

In modern times, however, we have a continuous flow of stress hormones in our system – work stress, home stress, relationship stress, parenting stress – with little muscle movement (exercise) to diffuse the stress and no time to rest and repair. 

Stress profoundly impacts the way we function physical, mentally and emotionally and frequently prevents us from functioning at our optimum.   With less stress onboard the body is able to heal itself.

Practical ways to stress a little less

Taking stock of our lives may not be a practice we engage in often, but experiencing the benefits of doing just that can be a truly enlightening experience. The transition into the slower months of autumn and winter is the perfect time for reflecting on where we are at, and whether it is perhaps time to stress a little less.

Spend time in nature
Breathing beautiful, clean air draws us back to the 
simple things. Spend some time walking or sitting in the natural environment and listen to the birds and the stillness. Why not try the botanic gardens, somewhere in the country or a beautiful national park.

Write a journal
Start keeping a diary of your everyday thoughts and feelings. Bringing our attention to how we feel about areas of our life is a powerful way to reshape our lives for the better. It can also help to remind us how much we already enjoy about our lives.

Meditate
Sounds tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Meditation is really all about being completely present in our bodies. In a quiet place, close your eyes and focus on your heart – feel the rhythm as it beats. Now move through your body from head to toe (or whichever sequence you like) and really feel every part of your body. It’s a subtle and peaceful feeling.

Draw a mind map
Brainstorm all the key areas of your life and how they are working (or not) for you. Draw a circle in the centre of the page and label it “My Life”. Then branch out from the centre to other circles containing the major elements of your life (eg. work, family, health, relaxation/hobbies, etc.) and daydream about how you would ideally like these areas to be. It’s a great way to get focussed on what we really want out of life.

Embrace the stillness…