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Grace's Blog

How do we still the mind in meditation?


Meditation is often referred to as the stilling of the mind.  But what does that mean? How do you make your mind still?  When I describe meditation, I often liken it to a moving train.  Our thoughts are our thoughts – they will always be there. Coming and going, doing their thing.  To cultivate a calm or still mind, think of your thoughts like a passing train.  The train (thought) travels along. It stops at a station to allow passengers to enter or exit. Then without hesitation, it journeys on to the next stop.  When a thought enters your mind, allow it to enter. Then just like it stops at a station and lets passengers off, allow your thought to exit. And then move on.  Another thought will arise… and then do the same.  Allow it to exist just as quickly as it entered.  You see, when we hold onto a thought, we start building associations with it, to do lists and emotions all come along for the ride… we can begin with one thought and then get completely lost in it and not even remember what the initial thought was! But if we see ourselves as observers and watch the thought just pass us by, we avoid getting caught up in it.  The mind stays focused and calm and we allow the next thought to enter and exit once again… Meditation is a practice. It is a discipline.  It takes patience and perseverance to become better skilled at it.  And no meditation is the same – one session will be different to the next. Also, teaching us to avoid attachment to a feeling or outcome.  Can you sit still for 5 minutes and practice observing your thoughts – coming and going like a train passing by a station?  What has your meditation experience been like?

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Grace's Blog

Having fun in the day to day…

I went ice skating the other day. I haven’t skated since I was probably a teenager.
It brought back some fond memories of my childhood!

I couldn’t believe the fun I was having. I felt this lightness in my body that I haven’t felt in a long time. I realised that this overwhelming feeling I was experiencing was FUN!

I can be so serious sometimes with all my jobs and responsibilities that I feel overwhelmed with in my daily life.
The wife hat.
The mother hat.
The teacher hat.

I practice yoga because I love it, but I wouldn’t always consider it to be “fun” necessarily. Although it’s my outlet and I can’t imagine life without it, I find it can be quite a serious practice.

It’s also a very disciplined practice.

Perhaps that’s why I love handstands and challenging arm balances so much, as I feel I can have some fun with them.

After the ice skating session, I realised how good it felt to do something that wasn’t so structured.

Something that took me away from the work of managing the household.

Gosh, I was just having fun!

Since that day, I have made a commitment to myself to try and let loose and have fun in my daily life more.

I don’t need to go skating to do this of course. I can find opportunities in the day to day to find enjoyment.

Whether it’s making jokes with the kids, singing songs or dancing with them.

Dancing is such a great way to increase endorphins (feel good hormones) and just have fun!

Your body can express itself through movement and not worry about being so structured or disciplined.

Do you make time to dance?

Did you have fun today?

What do you do for fun? 🙂

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Grace's Blog

I saved myself

My kids were playing around the yard today and were pretending to “save” each other from being stuck somewhere.  It was all fun and games and they love taking turns to rescue each other.

This particular time, my daughter yelled out “Mummy, I saved myself!” and released herself from her “emergency”.  She was so pleased with herself that she repeatedly “saved herself”, much to my son’s frustration 😀

It got me thinking how we all too often look to outside sources to help “save us” when we might be going through a rough time or seeking answers to a problem.

We may speak to a friend or family member for advice, jump on line and read other people’s experiences or we may seek counselling to help us through a challenging period.  Whilst I definitely believe there is value in these avenues and would never suggest removing these networks from your life; I do think that in today’s times, we are too quick to do this before even looking within ourselves.

I am referring to tapping into our inner wisdom.  The process of how we can, in fact, “save ourselves”.

In our modern-day technology and social media culture, we expect results instantly.  And we all seem to be in a big hurry to resolve things quickly.

I all too often hear the phrase, “let it go” or “move on” when someone is talking about an issue they’re having.  This kind of response often builds a culture of brushing things off and not dealing with the issue.

I have walked with dear friends who have experienced grief – the loss of a loved one, or a baby… real deep, traumatic stuff.  And if you have experienced any kind of loss, you would know that it is tremendously difficult to see joy in life when you are grieving.

The griever can sometimes feel pressure to “move on” and feel normal again.  But this is completely unrealistic.

It is much more beneficial to accept that grief is part of the process of healing.  And there is no rush to actually “get over it” or move on.

The biggest thing though is that no one can “save us” from this grief, pain or circumstance.  In fact, the healing needs to come from within…

How do you tap into this inner wisdom?

Through a regular yoga and meditation practice.

Through faith in something greater than yourself whether it is an understanding of God or simply an acute awareness that there is something greater than yourself at work in the universe (this is a whole other topic!).

We can continue to heal our daily hurts and our long-term hurts through a regular internal clean out.  Yoga is called a practice for this reason.  It is an ongoing process – an internal workout for the mind and soul.

By giving the mind time and space through the practice of focused silence, it has the opportunity to process what is happening on the inside. An opportunity to connect to something greater than yourself.

This process of daily internal-reflection is extremely powerful in transforming our lives.

Create room in your life for things to change.  Take one step every day to create space in your life for silence, stillness…quiet.

We can “save ourselves” – heal our wounds, repair what feels broken, find what feels lost… we just need to hear what is inside of us.

Once the mind is silent… you can hear the voice within…

And yes, save yourself.

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Grace's Blog

For the First time

My little baby Raya sits on my lap in the early morning while I’m still trying to wake myself up. Who needs an alarm clock when you have a little bubba to do the trick every morning?

And this little alarm clock comes with a beautiful smile that lights up the soul.

While I was bouncing her on my lap, she was beaming with joy and her face lit up like there was absolutely nothing more amazing than just simply being present on my lap.

When I stopped, she gazed outside the window and seemed mesmerized by something out there. She stared for a long time. Just curious and content. I think it was the movement of the branches. She was completely in awe of them.

Not long after, I called her name and she looked back at me, beaming with joy again.  Like she was seeing me for the first time. A type of joy that comes from within. Deep down into the soul.

A type of joy that exuberates contentment and peace. An inner sense of love that we see so often in babies.

What happens after that? We grow up…. and that inner light seems to slowly wane and sometimes diminish. We find ourselves in low moments… sometimes even in a web of depression…. and this inner joy seems like a distant memory we have no idea how to reignite.

That’s what happened to me. I was such a happy child. But as I grew up and became so much more aware of suffering in the world, it ate away at me. I began to feel my inner light extinguish and I was losing that child-like joy.

It was in my early twenties that I discovered yoga. I was looking for an alternative to dancing, something I had done up until that point in my life but was no longer pursuing. I wanted to stay fit and so I took up yoga.

Little did I know that yoga was far more than stretching and doing some impressive postures. After some months of regular, dedicated yoga practice, I soon discovered the true depth of yoga.

I realised that yoga was a spirituality.  A way of life.

It formed a pathway that would lead me to re-discover and experience this child-like inner joy that I had lost in the “growing up” stage of my life.

I discovered how to be happy again – truly happy. A happiness that I could feel inside myself. It was an awakening for me.

And naturally when you find something amazing, you want to share it with others.

After years of dedicated practice, I started teaching yoga classes and loved witnessing the essence of yoga transform people’s lives. From the outside in and the inside out.

The richness of the yoga tradition lends itself to a life of transformation. An ongoing transformation.

Yoga is my greatest teacher.  Through yoga, I have re-discovered that inner child-like joy inside me once again.

Just like my little Raya, yoga helps us see things for the first time. It reminds us to see things for their natural beauty and appreciate them.

If you want to experience happiness from within, open your heart to yoga and all it has to offer you. You just need to accept the invitation!

I’m here to support you on this journey and help reveal the jewels of yoga by passing on the teachings that were passed onto me by my teachers and their teachers…. what an incredible lineage I am part of!

Maybe it’s something you want to be part of? Are you seeking inner joy? You’ll also learn some cool yoga moves along the way 🙂

If you’re already a yogi, how has yoga helped you through life’s ups and downs?

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Grace's Blog

Yoga & Motherhood – will I ever practice again?

Yoga has taken on a deeper meaning for me since becoming a mother…

My days of waking up at 5am for my daily 1.5hr yoga practice have been on pause for the last 4 years. Instead I find any window of opportunity to sneak in a small or big practice around my daily busy schedule with my kids.

When I first became a mum almost 4 years ago, I really struggled accepting that this intense daily asana and meditation practice was just simply not possible. I was either pregnant or breastfeeding and quite simply, the children were my number one priority and I couldn’t invest all that time any more in a long daily practice.

But yoga was never lost.

It was still part of my life.

Some days I managed an intense asana practice. Some days I managed just one sun salutation. And some days there was no asana at all.

But I always had to remind myself that YOGA IS NOT JUST ASANA.

The physical postures are just one element of the yoga practice.

Yoga means union. Union of body & mind.

Yoga is about mindfulness.
A state of equanimity.
Balance.

I have never practiced yoga so hard since I had children and I didn’t even have to get on my yoga mat to do it.

All those hours sweating it on the mat don’t compare to my daily yoga sessions with my children. Every minute with them is yoga.

When I try and stay patient when all I want is some time out for myself.

When I clean one more dirty butt while trying to potty train.

When I break up an argument between siblings.

When I care for my children when they’re unwell.

When they demand so much of me every day that I feel I can’t take a moment to breathe.

When they chew my ear off and I can’t hear myself think.

When I have to listen to the Wiggles on repeat in the car.

Every day, I put the needs of my children first. I feed them. Dress them. Ensure they live happy, healthy, fit and well-nourished lives.

I try and find a balance where I can even just manage a little meditation. A little asana. A warm (not cold!) tea in between sorting out my household.

This balance is yoga. This ability to find peace & balance around the chaos is yoga.

We don’t need to go to the Himalayas to find peace and balance.

We don’t even need to attend a yoga class every day (but yes, this would be nice) to find and practice yoga. In reality, busy mums struggle with this.

A little asana practice. A little meditation. It goes a long way in helping us stay present and mindful when with our children and continue to be mums (or dads) who want to raise good children and also find a balance for our own happiness.

Here is a picture of the three mini yogis who remind me each day to stay present. Taken live this very morning 🙂

Here are some of my personal favourite kids yogi designs – onesies and shirts >> http://bit.ly/2ofFc9u

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Grace's Blog

Is ‘discipline’ a dirty word?

I write this as I order a delicious Gigi’s pizza in Newtown. I was weighing up the options in my mind – do I? Don’t I? Do I lack discipline if I order this pizza?

To put it in context, I have been on a healthy eating plan for over a month to help lose the extra kgs after having baby. And I’ve been super disciplined with my daily exercise and healthy eating options and portions. Super proud of me and super great results so far. Even my kids cheer me on as I exercise – it’s quite funny but painful as they show no mercy!

Anyway, back to the pizza. I finished yoga class and was super hungry and kept thinking about this pizza the entire practice. And was thinking would I be totally undisciplined having this pizza or should I go home and have a nice healthy salad as I usually have been for the last month…

Which got me thinking (while I’m in downward dog) about the question – what is discipline? I recall this conversation I had with a good friend many years ago about discipline. I was adamant that discipline was an important part of a healthy lifestyle but my friend didn’t agree – saying that if you need discipline in your life, then that’s a sign of weakness.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Discipline is a sign of strength. A sign that you are able to control your choices in life. Having discipline shows such strength in character and lacking discipline in my opinion is a sign that something in your life needs to change.

So here I am with my tasty Gigi’s pizza. It literally just got handed to me.

And I think that discipline is also about being able to be kind to yourself and rewarding yourself. Discipline is also about balance and allowing yourself to recognise when you can “take a break” and enjoy a Gigi’s pizza. Believe me, I will!!

What are your thoughts about discipline?

To see my personal favourite yogi (and vegan) tanks, click here
>> http://bit.ly/2nfOtRC

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get into my pizza 🙂

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Grace's Blog

Things are sometimes easier than they seem…

I went to my first yoga class since I had my baby 3 months ago. I was a little nervous because of my post pregnancy body and not having a strong practice for a year now due to growing a human inside me and being the size of an elephant 🙂

But I did it anyway. I didn’t let my nerves get in the way of going to class and nourishing my body and mind. My pre-baby yoga body is somewhat different to the body that was the peak of my yoga health and practice and it of course can play on the mind.

I can no longer do the advanced moves with ease. It takes me time to regain my strength. It takes mental strength to get past my ego and what my mind wants my body to do and what my body can actually do. All these things play on your mind and made me feel a little nervous going to practice beside a bunch of gorgeous yogis.

But hey, I pushed passed it and guess what. When I got in there and started practicing, it was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. In fact, it was easier than it seemed. My body just knew what to do. It has a memory and sure, I didn’t look or feel as strong as I did before having my baby, but the fact was, it felt amazing to practice again and it was so much easier than my head made it out to be.

Do you ever build things up in your head and then when you actually do it, it’s no where near as hard or scary as you thought it would be?

That’s why I designed this shirt – MIND GOES WHERE ENERGY FLOWS >> http://bit.ly/2ox7RtK

To remind me that we sometimes need to push past this crazy “chatter” in our mind and put our energy into just doing what helps us push past our fears and anxieties.

Can you relate to this?

Remember – mind goes where energy flows!
>>http://bit.ly/2ox7RtK

Check out this tank as well as many other heart-filled yogi tanks!
>>http://bit.ly/2ox7RtK

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Events Grace's Blog News

Yoga Retreat Day 2015

Grace invites you to enjoy an invigorating day of yoga practice, relaxation and yoga philosophy at the relaxing Colin Matheson Pavilion. The retreat is suitable for all levels of yoga – beginners or those who want to deepen their practice.  It is also suitable for pregnant women.

Check out photos from previous Yoga With Grace retreats here

Just complete the registration form and you will receive details of how to pay (bank transfer or cash).  Once we have received your payment your place will be confirmed.

Sunday
1 November 2015
9.00am–3:00pm

Join me for a day of :

  • Yoga/Asana
  • Pranayama (breathing exercises)
  • Meditation & Relaxation
  • Yoga philosophy
  • Henna tattoos (optional)
  • Vegetarian lunch & afternoon tea
  • Good company!

Cost

$140 per person

Location

The retreat will be held at the Colin Matheson Pavilion, Cooke Point, Port Hedland

 

Registration Form

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Please check your junk/spam box if you do not receive email confirmation of your booking within a few hours.