The body keeps the score

I spent yesterday at the 'Aversion to Stillness' workshop with Alexandria Crow, discussing all things Restorative Yoga. This is yoga specifically aiming to calm the parasympathetic nervous system and move us from 'fight and flight' to 'rest and digest' state. 

Many of us think this sort of yoga is 'boring' or 'just lying about'. If your mind is very active without a good teacher I think these slow classes can make you feel even more stressed. It has personally taken me a long time to move away from fast/sweaty/challenging/stimulating/loud/hard/shouty teacher yoga classes into more gentle, still classes. 

In the workshop we looked at how more passive poses incorporating deep relaxation can open and relax the muscles (and crucially, the nervous system) more than jumping about and straining ourselves in active classes. 

The workshop got me thinking about where I want to develop my own practice and what I am offering out to clients. 

The more I study psychotherapy and learn about neurology the more I believe that the body, and yoga, is
an incredible tool we all have at our disposal when facing many of the mental health issues we are dealing with in modern life. 

I feel like I am still pulling together my coaching, yoga, interest in mental health and Jung course and wondering how they all come together and what that can look like if we tackle the body and mind as a whole, rather than separate entities.

I'm taking a two week break now to reset- if you are interested in the link between body and mind, drop me a message and I will reply on my return. If you're keen to learn more I recommend the book 'The Body keeps the score' by Bessel Van der Kolk and this TEDMED talk below.

Retreat: an act of moving back or withdrawing

It already feels like a lifetime ago but back in September I attended a week long yoga retreat in the Pyrenees. It was my first retreat in a few years, and reminded me just how blissful these holidays can be. Whilst the definition of retreat is an act of moving back or withdrawing, sometimes we need to step back to move forward.

There is something about going away and taking this time solely for you that leaves one feeling relaxed and rejuvenated in a deeper way than a normal holiday. Doing yoga twice a day, eating organic vegetarian food and connecting with new people is deeply nourishing. The recent retreat I went on had a strong focus on ayurveda and pranayama and I felt five years younger by the end of the week.

I’m often asked for retreat recommendations, which I find difficult because yoga teachers and their style is such a personal preference. For me a retreat is all about the teacher, and not just for the way they teach. Many people go on retreats alone and I find meeting new friends to be one of the highlights of a retreat. They say ‘your vibe attracts your tribe’ so the retreat is likely to be filled with people who are like minded, and like the teacher! Don’t be afraid to contact teachers before a retreat and see whether there is a connection for you.  

My recommendations for this year are as follows, all are teachers who I know and love:

Liz Jacobs, Goa

Lucy Roberts, Goa (1 space left)

Bridget Woods-Kramer, Andalucia or North India

Lucy McCarthy Portugal

Caroline Perrineu Norway

If you want to stay closer to home, I am considering running a retreat in Scotland in May/June. Think hiking, coaching, connection and of course, yoga. Let me know if you are interested x