Grace's Blog

Today was a shit day

I said it.

So it’s a hair pulling day. Every moment of the day, one of my children at any given moment happens to need something. And when do they want it? NOW of course.

It was a rough morning trying to get out of the house on time with sibling arguments, baby crying, kitchen absolute mess and everyone having meltdowns (that includes me).

And so it happened that this set up the rest of my day to be absolute – well…. shit.

I got talking to a mum briefly in the afternoon, who with the best intentions, offered these words of advice “just be thankful your children are healthy”.


Because I’ve had a hard day with my kids, does this imply that I’m ungrateful in any way?

Actually, all it means is that I’ve had a bad day.  Quite simple really.

All it means is that motherhood (and life in general) can be challenging.

All it means is that some days are highs and other days are lows.

That’s it.

Doesn’t make me any less grateful because I can openly admit that today was rough.

The best words of comfort I’ve had when I’ve experienced these days are when my fellow mum friends say things like, “oh I totally get it. I have days like this.  I know how you feel”.

That’s it. I already feel so much better. I’m not the only mum that loses her cool with her kids on a bad day. Phew.

Words are so important. One word or one unthoughtful comment can really last a lifetime in a person’s heart.

Similarly, one awesome comment can be a lasting memory in a person’s life and one they always recall during tough times.

When I decided to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) with my third baby, one obstetrician told me in these exact words “you failed twice.  What makes you think you won’t fail again?”

I know these are his exact words because:

  1.  He said them directly to me
  2.  I was gobsmacked that a professional would use terminology like “failure” when referring to birth
  3.  It is not something you can easily “un-hear”

Do you know what I did with those words he said to me?

I gave them right back to him (in the allegorical sense).

They weren’t my thoughts or feelings about myself. I didn’t own them. I didn’t believe them. So for the rest of my pregnancy, I focused on a positive journey to birth and I’m happy to say that I did have a successful VBAC (to which I was absolutely elated about) and I would love the aforementioned obstetrician to eat his words.

I still remember what he said to me, where I was sitting, how I responded and how it made me feel. And worst of all, I wonder how many women he has said such disempowering words to on their birth journey.

Choose your words wisely. They can affect people for a day, a week, a month or even a lifetime.

In the practice of yoga we talk about our thoughts, words and actions being aligned and in synch. When our thoughts are honest and pure, our speech will follow in the same manner…. which leads to actions with the same values.

This union is yoga.

May our thoughts, words and actions of our own lives bring happiness and freedom to all people, including OURSELVES.

The way we view ourselves can often be reflected in how we treat others.

So although my day was not the best of days – well, down right, terrible – After a brief encounter with a mum, I am reminded of the importance of how we speak to one another, how we think about ourselves and others and how this is reflected in our actions.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu 

One of my favourite Sanskrit chants.

May all beings everywhere be happy and free….

And may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way, to that happiness and to that freedom for all.


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Grace's Blog

Our True Nature: Sat Chit Ananda

Last month we finally finished exploring the 8 Limbs of Ashtanga yoga and we discovered that the purpose of yoga is Samadhi (pure consciousness).  We have talked about the aim of yoga is to discover our true nature.  To discover who we truly are.  When we are in this true state of pure consciousness, we say that we are in a state of yoga.  So the spiritual journey one takes up when they start yoga is all about finding out who you truly are.

Yoga is a state.  It is not an activity.  We tend to think of ourselves as ‘doing yoga’ as we are physically moving our body or attending a yoga class so we often see yoga as an activity.  In fact, it is a state of being.  The Sanskrit term yoga in fact is translated to mean ‘to join’ or ‘to unite’ and so is often translated as ‘union’.  So what or who are we united with? When we are in a state of yoga, we are in a state of pure consciousness, or self-realisation.  We are united to the Self (often described as the Atman).  And so what is the nature of the ‘Self’? Our true nature is: Sat Chit Ananda (Absolute Bliss Consciousness)

So we can comprise the Self in three elements:
Sat – translated as ‘being’ (or absolute non changing truth)
Chit – translated as ‘consciousness’
Ananda – translated as ‘bliss’ or ‘joy’

So our true nature is a state of absolute blissful consciousness.  We are said to share this true nature with the divine, or God.  We do not become God, however we share this divine nature with God.  We are said to be all sparks of the divine, just in human form.

This state of yoga is one that is experienced and so it can be difficult to describe it in words.  However some may relate to this state of oneness or unity in other experiences in life.  For example, playing a game of squash – there’s the ball, racket, court, player… all together the player experiences a state of oneness.  The player feels one with the ball, court and racket when playing squash and doesn’t see them as separate entities when engrossed in the game.  Performers and entertainers have also described this sense of oneness when performing on stage in front of an audience where they describe their state as being one with the music or the stage.

In order to experience this state, one must practice.  Yoga is not about talking about yoga.  It is about doing it.  Pattabhi Jois (the guru who is responsible for bringing Ashtanga yoga to the Western world) has been quoted often as saying that yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory.  You can talk about yoga for 30 years; it doesn’t mean you will experience it.  Pattabhi Jois encourages all to just simply practice, practice and practice.  Don’t over think it, or analyse it.  All will come if you practice.  That has certainly been my personal experience.  I just roll out my mat each morning, and do my practice.  All will come.  Whether I feel tired, under the weather or distracted; I just try and have no other intention, except to practice.  Everything else will evolve and change.  It doesn’t matter.  As long as I roll out my mat each morning, I am practicing yoga – union with my true nature.

Bhur Bhuvah Svaha
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi
Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat

The Dawning, the Day, and the Dusking
Those most excellent daughters of the Sun
The Radiant forms coming from the Gods
I meditate upon you and reach to you.
This is my offering.