Essential Oils and how to use them

The beauty of essential oils is the body knows how to use them. As essential oils are 100% plant, the body (a natural living organism) recognises and can integrate and utilise their benefits easily and efficiently. There are a few good ways to use them.     1. AROMATICALLY: Through smell we can directly impact how we feel. Molecules of oil are inhaled, through the olfactory system, a message is sent straight to the parts of the brain that triggers our emotions and balances the coordination of the nervous and endocrine systems. Get these benefits by: • Diffusing the oils. • Aromatic spray – spraying oils combined with filtered water around you. • Smelling oils straight out of the bottle, or a few drops in cupped hands, with a few deep breaths.   2. TOPICALLY: By applying oils straight onto the skin Essential oils are readily absorbed into the bloodstream as the body understands how to work with them. Essential oils are best combined with a carrier oil (one drop of oil, a few of drops of carrier oil) to increase absorption and massage the oil into the skin. Carrier oils can be anything – jojoba, almond, olive, sesame. I like fractionated coconut oil which is coconut oil without smell and is no longer solid, but liquid.   3. INTERNALLY: A good therapeutic grade oil (no fillers or chemicals) can be used internally. For example, a drop of Frankincense oil under the tongue daily provides systemic support for your cells. Or you can add lavender to your hot water to help you relax.     EFFECTIVE OILS for getting...

It’s Time to Change How We Respond to Stress

Let’s face it, with the potential for stress everywhere, we need to drop the crisis response as a general coping mechanism. It’s just not meeting the needs of the time.     Historically, as a human race, the mind has been trained to assess possible danger or threat in any situation. Generally, threat assessment is our first response to most things. Years ago, this response served to keep us alive. Potential threats were stored in our long-term memory as a matter of survival. Over the ages, this developed what is called a Negative Bias; a general wariness towards potential threat embedded in our muscle memory and our neurology.   The triggering of this bias can dominate our experiences when we feel overwhelmed with all the things we need to get done. It can feel like this underlying fear anxiety is ever-present, making us snappy and impatient and wary of what could come next. It’s time to change how we respond to life.   Yogi Bhajan spoke in the 1960’s about the high levels of mental health issues and what he called ‘info-dementia’ that would occur in our time today. This is due to the hugely accelerated pace of digitally enhanced living and working. The human nervous system takes a lot longer to adapt to such change and people are really struggling.   Through yoga and or meditation practice, we embed new muscle memory experiences that are calm and relaxed. We take time to really clarify that feeling so it is familiar and easy to remember. This lays the groundwork for a more sophisticated internal response to small stressors in the...

Simple steps to Calm Down

It’s not only remembering TO relax, there’s the HOW to relax that is a factor – how does one relax when you’re stressed out and tense? Without strategies or tools to help you move out of feeling overwhelmed, you might find yourself reaching for alcohol or drugs in an attempt to calm down. This can work temporarily, but ultimately makes you feel less in control of your state of mind and wellbeing.   Even though at times it feels like you can’t relax, your body can actually remember how to, with the right prompts. This can happen when practicing some simple steps to spark the chemical shift in your body that conveys the message that all is well and it’s ok to calm down.     THE FIRST STEP is to attend to your breath. Slow it down by deepening it. Why? Because the increased flow of oxygen calms the panicked feeling. The slow deep breath mirrors the body’s natural state when calm and therefore tricks your mind into thinking you’re relaxed and you then become relaxed. It also gives you something to do – when you just don’t know what to do.   THE SECOND STEP is Presence. Draw your attention to how you are feeling without labelling it or judging it as good or bad. Simply become present to sensation. This act of drawing your attention away from the external to an internal focus creates a chemical shift, prompting the body’s relaxation response.   THIRD STEP – make stress work for you. We get stressed as a way to heighten and sharpen focus, to deal with the...

Weather patterns of your body and the return to balance

Right now I’m up in far north Queensland teaching yoga by the beach. I’ve been here for 3 weeks and each morning I watch the changing weather patterns of the ocean. No two days are the same. For a few days it will be still and sunny, then the winds will come, or stormy rains. Sometimes the tide is way up and the ocean feels close and threatening; the sand covered in debris, while other days the tide is way out and it’s still and warm and clear.   Your own body is like a small microclimate of changing weather patterns. An inner storm is a short-term prompt that something needs to shift or re-adjust to return to balance, as is natures way. Sometimes this storm is ours and needs attention, sometimes it’s someone else’s and it’s a matter of just letting it pass through.   Our bodies are a natural wonder, working 24/7 to maintain homeostasis (a state of balance), The body has a message system that is constantly juggling the necessary release of hormones via the glands; oxygenating the blood; digesting food and ridding the body of toxins. All of which requires energy.   Prolonged stress and external demands can create an abnormal amount of pressure on the body, which works harder and harder to return to homeostasis. So we can feel constantly tired. Due to this pressure, creating unfiltered stress, the ability to relax, or to even know what that truly feels like, is diminished. The body gets locked in a ‘switched on’ hyper alert state – leaving us tired and wired.   Sometimes, the amount...

Choose What Energises You

Just a little reminder for you that you have choices. It’s easy to negate our own responsibility when things aren’t working in the way we’d like them to. There’s all sorts of situations we find ourselves in that feel like hard work.., and we’d just rather not…   So rather than give all our power and choice away to an imaginary puppeteer – it’s important that we stay engaged in the world in a way that is true to Sat Nam – to personal truth (who you are and what you have to offer the world). Take a moment to reflect on why you are doing whatever it is you’re doing.   With growing numbers of life coaches, personal trainers, yoga teachers and “change your life” advocators promoting step by step “how to’s” on improving your life, it’s important to remember that it’s not WHAT you do, it’s WHY you do it.   Checking in with the inner WHY can help guide you towards decision-making that will serve you in the long run.  To find the ‘why’, ask yourself – what gives you the most energy?   If your WHY is clear, you can be sure you’re on the right track – and coming back to that ‘why’ will give you the energy to keep going. Shiv Charan Singh calls this changing the “con-sequence”. The ‘con’ is allowing yourself to get stuck in a sequence of negative energy draining thoughts instead of focusing on that which drives you – your intention – the ‘why’.   We can find this ‘why’ in the biggest project to the most mundane tasks....

The Power of saying “NO”

This post is inspired by women leaders out there who are offering their wisdom and standing behind their truth to influence world change. Yogi Bhajan was hugely committed to the spiritual growth of women in our world, saying that women are the ones to create lasting change for the better –for ourselves and our daughters, nieces and friends by honouring our own personal truth in all the little or big situations we find ourselves in daily. Positive, effective change comes from women who are comfortable with, and who know themselves enough to answer only to their truth. Just a small ask! – considering all the conflicting incoming cultural, lineal, feminist/post feminist/new feminist images of what represents power, strength and impact that we are presented with across the globe.   But then again, it’s also far from impossible –   I’d like to highlight one aspect of change-creation that is a starting point for action towards what we, as truth-seeking heartfelt yogi practitioners hold dear (whatever that is for you). This aspect is the power of saying “NO” and/or the power of NOT doing.   If you attended my Pleasure & Emotions workshop a week or so ago, we focused on this idea quite a bit – the negative space and the not doing as a source of great power – which is also a guide for what to do when you don’t know what to do. Our workshop homework is to practice saying “NO” with grace and I’d like to encourage that homework practice with you all too.   Shiv Charan Singh details this idea in his book “Let...

Want more energy? Deflate your ego.

I recently heard part of a talk Eckhardt Tolle gave on deflating the ego (the thinking mind) in which he gives a simple but profoundly energising tool, being; “live each moment as if you have chosen it”. Quick example: you want to be home with shoes off, but you’re in the supermarket shopping – you can either mull over the awfulness; which drains your energy – or you can live the moment ‘as if you have chosen it’. Life’s moment to moment clashes between what you want and what you are presented with can take up quite a bit of energy if you let them. If we let the ego have it’s way, it will get quite busy reviewing where things went wrong, how things ‘shouldn’t’ be and (at a deeper level) what you’ve done to get yourself there. This takes time and is a completely unnecessary energy drain. We all know this right? But the decision to be conscious about this mental game-changer, makes all the difference. This one tool, ‘living the moment as if you have chosen it’ is what we use once we’ve made the decision to be more conscious. The keywords are the ‘as if’ part of the intention. The whole idea that we create our experience can get a little heavy sometimes, and we can get caught up judging ourselves about what we’ve done or not done to find ourselves in whatever situation we feel trapped in/ unhappy with / victimised by. This simple practice frees up the hows, whys and buts and moves you beyond that straight into the now – deflating the ego...

Fighting For or Against?

What do you feel passionate about and what change would you be want for your world? What do you consider to be fair or right and what do you consider to be unjust or unacceptable? As you awaken your inner warrior to fight for what you believe in, I encourage you to consider the following: Are you fighting FOR or are you fighting AGAINST? – in other words- is there a personal truth to your fight, backed up by dignity, grace and honour, or are you just fighting? If you find there’s a touch of ‘just fighting’, perhaps it’s time to dig deeper and find out what you truly stand for.  The worthiness and the awareness of that may take you far further towards a result than simply hitting up against walls because you’re angry, …about something… I believe it is more and more important to stand up for yourself and others; to stand as graceful warriors and get behind what you believe to be your personal truth. ‘Where there is love there is no question’ Yogi Bhajan more blog posts image:...

Who Am I?

‘Just be yourself’ – the advice you get when nervous, fearful, anxious about something your attending. Good advice, but who is that self? How can we find that me to be? I’ve come to realise, through personal experience, and through working closely with others on this very thing – that when I recommend taking time for oneself, many of us are not sure how to really do this. How long has it been (I hope it was in the recent holidays) since you have gone on holiday and let go of the ‘doing’ and instead basked in the sweet moment to moment? After some time, you say “ahh, I feel like myself again” – That comfort, that settling, that content feeling of connection. There’s nothing like it right? So how do we lose sight of that once back in the world? How come we just touch on it like some other reality and live mainly in the land of ‘who am I?’ We need to take time to keep that connection / or make that connection. Essentially by listening – to your own soul self. That inner space, heard through the silence of the heart. Create a connection there. That connection is seeded through love for yourself. Compassion is the seed of permission to love, permission to be you. Set aside, just for now, the need to become someone better, become richer, become an improved version of yourself. Instead, make time to reach for yourself, to find that inner quiet. ‘The secret is, don’t discover yourself, don’t transform yourself and don’t recreate yourself. Nurture yourself and see what you...

the image of the peaceful meditator is just another distraction

Think of all the commitment, stamina and focus required to maintain an 11 minute meditation that challenges you mentally, physically and emotionally. Transformational yes? Now, we all know the image of the peaceful meditator, a yogi sitting in  a sublime space, with soft eyes, heart smiling; Beautiful – but, I’d like to suggest this image creates an unrealistic goal for us meditators, dedicated to the gritty reality of developing self awareness and personal growth. This image of the peaceful yogi, sets up an easy opt-out for practicing meditators as we decide a meditation is ‘not working’ if we feel distracted, uncomfortable, irritable, bored, challenged – all good reasons to go do something else – however absolutely missing the point. I say this, as it’s important to recognise the magnificent achievement of sitting in an uncomfortable space and holding that space for yourself.  It’s in this process that we become stronger, more aware of our niggles, our mental barriers, of how our emotions play out, how our thoughts influence our lives. Meditation is an accomplishment of will. Developing the strength to stay with a process creates a holding space, so we can then surrender to grace. The silence that comes from moving through the grit is sublime. But best we leave behind the notion that it is the end goal. Rather, see it as a little flag that you have courageously passed through some pretty big challenges and achieved some degree of self control and mind mastery. Something to be considered, to be pleased with, but far from the finish line – there just is no finish line. Do you...