4 day transformation

So this isn’t actually about improving a scorpion pose in 4 days, but it is relevant! Bear with lol!

This is the progress I have made in….. ( dum dum duuuuuum !!!) 4 days 🤷🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️🙈😂…. just joking! it’s not at all!… well kinda!! 😂The 2 pics ARE only 4 days apart! & I WAS doing the deepest expression of the pose available to me on that day after a warm up but my body certainly didn’t miraculously change so quickly!

So why so different?

A lot is to do with how I was feeling on that particular day and the circumstances around me! Last Thursday the kids were all around ( that includes my hubby btw who demands the most attention of them all 🤦🏼‍♀️🤪😂) so my mind and body were being pulled in all directions! I was feeling the stress and overwhelm that day of the chores/ to do list/ money worries in the lead up to Christmas/ lack of sleep/ worry of poorly coughy baby/ plumbing leak/ emails and phone calls to be made… ( to go on any further would get really dull 😂🙈 ) I really needed to move my body to release some of the build up to refresh me enough to be more productive, so I grabbed the first 15 minute time slot I could to get wriggling…

My life is just as rich in the moments of beautiful messiness as it is in the moments of stillness..

My self practice is mostly lead by intuition now and this day I happened to be inspired to go upside down with a heart opener thrown in to get as much fire going as possible and this was what I got!… (” but that’s great !! “, ” I could never do that ” I hear you say?! … Yes it is a good scorpion, I’m more than happy to be in that shape ☺️, this isn’t about the pose I’m doing, yoga certainly isn’t measured by what ‘pose’ someone can do! I am part of my own story and can only use examples of that though, so bear with me lol! )

My pinch’s Scorpion in 2017, 6 weeks preggers with Bodhi

“When we hold on so tightly to expectations and grow attached to them it sets us up for pain when we can’t reach them, that just drains are energy unnecessarily

The point is that it is not my personal best, it’s about 6 inches off that. I wasn’t expecting much tbh as inversions, especially Scorpion pose, haven’t been included in my practice much recently due to ‘time’ restrictions and risk factors ( ie: my kids in near proximity ready to pounce 🙈😂) so I had no attachment to the outcome, I accepted that I was off what I could do a few months back. I felt good getting to where I did though, especially as Bodhi was circling me like a hyena 😂… there was no way my spine wanted to go any deeper, so I listened, didn’t let the ego try and tempt me into pushing it further to where I knew I was capable of getting and just let it go where it wanted. It was the perfect place for me to go to that day and that short 15 mins, in amongst the chaos, gave me enough power to plough through the rest of the days demands….

Most days look like this 😂🙈

If we accept and appreciate the kaleidoscope of possibilities and outcomes available with every changing day then life gets a lot more colourful.

Fast forward 4 days later and Bodhi is having a delicious 2 hour nap, it’s just me, the house is in ( some sort of ) order, my lesson plans for the week are sorted and I allow myself time to really absorb myself in practice. My mind is ‘ In it’ completely, my body has plenty of time to find its way and I can fully observe how every inch of me is feeling. I can breath fully and richly through everything, without having to worry about wiping a snobby nose, monitoring wolf cub wrestles or watching for little hands ready to set me off balance… In that luscious hour of freedom I was able to play, learn some new techniques on how to improve my backbends from the beautiful Talia Sutra via her online course ‘ THE METHOD’ and give my body the time it needed to open up.

2 very different days produced 2 very different results from the same body.

2 very different days contrasted in the way they influenced how I felt and the way I responded emotionally and physically.

Those 2 days were so close to each other, nothing major happened in between ( apart from putting up the Christmas lights, that’s always quite momentous 😉😀) truth is neither day was better than the other. My life is just as rich in the moments of beautiful messiness as it is in the moments of stillness.. they are just different. My practice on the Thursday was of equal value to me than the Tuesday’s practice. The shape I made as a result has no bearing on how both sessions helped replenish my needs for that particular day, or fuelled my personal growth.

Once upon a time, as a dancer, I would have given myself a reeeeallly hard time for ‘losing it’/ ‘taking steps backwards’/ ‘disappointing myself’ if one day I couldn’t do something I expected myself to be able to do. When we hold on so tightly to expectations and grow attached to them it sets us up for pain when we can’t reach them, that just drains are energy unnecessarily. If we accept and appreciate the kaleidoscope of possibilities and outcomes available with every changing day then life gets a lot more colourful. My practice is more commonly the messier version, and even though some days I feel like I’m cruising, (if anything), the days when things do fall into place I get to realise how much I have been growing, in all manor of ways.

Obviously, doing a scorpion pose is not on many people’s wish list 😂🙈that’s just my example for today! But the idea behind it can be applied to anything. A PB time for a runner, a piece of art created, the perfect photo taken, sales targets met, a blog written, a high note belt achieved, a tennis match score, goals scored…. achievement and progress doesn’t have to work in a linear fashion, as long as we’re making the most of what we do have, then we always moving forward in the right direction, the winding diversions offer more interesting views and perspectives ☺️.

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When I first started working on Scorpion pose…. I worked on it most days at this time so change happened quicker
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The one you feed

There’s a wonderful Cherokee parable I often share with my students…

A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us which are always at battle. 

One is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery, and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred, and fear.

The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?”

The grandfather quietly replies, “The one you feed.”

It’s one whose meaning for me has grown as deeper layers of understanding about the human condition have been pulled back! I’ve recently found an incredible podcast station totally dedicated to the parable where amazing speakers and teachers share their own personal interpretation and through these new insights my personal application of it into my own life has evolved. I’d love to hear your personal thoughts on it?! Is it something that resonates with you? The first reaction for me is to ask myself

WHAT PHRASES HAVE I SAID TO MYSELF, ABOIT MYSELF, TODAY?

We all feed ourselves a lot of stories, quite often not even noticing we’re doing it, it can really take a moment of sitting back, observing and listening to the messages we send both inwards and outwards.

“I’m not strong enough”

“They don’t like me”

“My body is too soggy”

“My turnout/jumps/ pirouettes (insert an assortment of tasks here 🙈) is/are crap”

“I’m not Pretty enough”

Just a few choice phrases that I’ve said to myself, especially as a dancer! I repeatedly tell myself that I’m crap at inversions, yet I taught myself this 👇🏻🤷🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️

seems pretty ridiculous really…🤷🏼‍♀️The only purpose these types of phases serve is to drain us of the energy which would benefit us more by being channeled into the unique abundance of good that we DO have available to us. As humans we tend to bias towards the negative and sit in defensive mode to protect us from what may be around the corner, but being in alert negativity is exhausting and by freeing ourselves of those thoughts we can get out of our heads and into our senses to fully enjoy the moments of now. No feelings of judgement or dissatisfaction.

Try to rephrase ….

“I grow stronger with every new step I take”

” My vibe attracts my vibe,….. besides, there’s 7 million people on this earth, we don’t need to connect with everyone… that would just be exhausting 😂😜

“I’m learning new/ getting better at skills all the time, if I choose to work at them”

We have everything we need inside of us .

WHAT AM I WILLING TO FEEL ABOUT THE PHRASES SAID TO ME BY OTHER PEOPLE.

We can’t control the words that come out of someone else’s mouth, but we don’t have to let their words dominate our attention or hold power over us. That’s not to say we won’t rollercoaster over a range of emotions, especially when at the receiving end of phrases intended to hurt us. This ability to ‘ feel’ is what makes us beautifully human after all. Show self compassion when emotions are felt so rawly in the body and mind. Be present and open to them. Work through them, get to the other side… then let them go….. The world is much bigger than one persons ( or even hundreds of people’s ) opinions, they don’t need to anchor us to the spot, we can grow in a positive direction, regardless. We have power in choice and we can choose how much attention we give something. We also have the power to disarm negativity by showing forgiveness, it renders the intention to harm ineffective and by releasing the anger or hurt we may feel,we are creating space within us to find the light they are ultimately seeking for themselves.

WHAT ARE OTHER PEOPLE BEING FED MENTALLY AND EMOTIONALLY ?

I’m sure most of us have come across an example of where the bullied has become the bully. The playground menace who lacks their own self worth, The Boss who uses you as a scapegoat for the pressure they feel themselves, the terrorist who was brought up amongst the tragedy and suppression of war. Personal feelings of inadequacy can lead to jealousy, unfair treatment drives anger and hatred. By recognising what others are being fed with, we can better understand their actions that may occur as a result, not take them as a personal attack but as an opportunity to help change the dialogue they receive.

What do I feed other people?

How does my 4 year old feel when I tell him the outfit he has chosen looks silly?

How does my hubby feel when I call him lazy?

How does someone feel or respond if I refer to their opposing political viewpoint as stupid?

How about instead?

I LOVE how creative your outfit is, shall we save it to enjoy later and find something more appropriate for this next little adventure?

I would really value your help?

I’m looking at things from this viewpoint…(insert here)!…. can you share how you came to your opinion ?….. ( a seed of change may get planted or they may question their own point of view if their reasons don’t sound so valid when the day them out loud…. or maybe I might change mine?)

Would love to hear your thoughts on the parable? Your take on it? On any situations that you’ve seen recently that reflect its meaning? I can think of one that I saw last night.

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-england-leeds-46369501

Grounding Gravitas – Downward dogs 8 benefits

(Believe it or not I thought my arms were straight in this 🙈)

When yoga is mentioned, one of the first postures that springs into peoples mind is Downward dog, and for good reason. It provides a multitude of benefits for beginners and advanced practitioners with its simultaneous stretching and strengthening action in a moment that encourages a connection with the centre. Turning inwards whilst stretching the body into a long line has a unifying effect. It’s the first asana that both my boys started experimenting with and a go to for me if I’m struggling to find motivation to step on to my mat. By getting on my paws ( see what I did 😜🙈) to gently pad into this mild inversion and breath for 5, I’m given just the right burst of energy I need to fill me with inspiration to stay for that 5/10/30/60 mins longer. So whats in a name? Broken down in Sanskrit it reads as…

AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna)
adho = downward
mukha = face
svana = dog

and watching a dog stretch it’s way to being awake it all makes sense ☺️. You’ll notice that many of the Sanskrit and English names of asanas ( physical postures) are taken from animals and other entities found in nature. In yoga, the natural world is especially important. Unfortunately, for our canine best friends, dogs don’t fare well in Indian history, being considered dirty and to be avoided at all costs but I did manage to find out about one that is loved and revered near the end of the Mahabharata, Indias monumental, national epic.So here’s a little snippet of that for your enjoyment…( scroll down for Downdog instructions )


..After winning the Mahabharata war, the Pandavas decided to renounce their kingdom and begin their final journey to Heaven. As they ascended a mountain, Yudhisthira – the eldest Pandava – led the way, followed by Bheema, Arjuna, Nakula, Sahadeva and Draupadi. A dog also accompanied them on their journey…

And now only Yudhisthira and the dog were left, continuing the journey together.

And finally, Indra descended in his chariot. He praised the extraordinary qualities of Yudhisthira and invited him into the chariot to ascend to heaven.

“The dog must come with me,” said Yudhisthira

“That is not possible,” said Indra. “All cannot attain heaven. The dog is old and thin and has no value.”

“In that case, I do not seek heaven, “replied Yudhisthira. “The dog was my faithful companion and I cannot abandon it. It sought my help and gave me unconditional love. The pleasures of heaven will mean nothing to me in comparison to its grief. It has done nothing to deserve abandonment and had none of the weaknesses of my wife and brothers. If it does not deserve to go to heaven, then neither do I.”
And so he turned back.

“Stop!” cried Indra. “None have the qualities that you possess, O Yudhisthira! The dog is Dharma, from whom you have descended!”

And indeed, the dog had transformed into the God of Dharma and blessed Yudhisthira for his complete lack of selfishness and dedication to righteousness in all circumstances.

And thus rose Yudhisthira to heaven in the chariot of Indra…..

HOW TO DO DOWNWARD FACING DOG

STEP ONE

start in table top position on hands and knees, hips stacked over knees and hands slightly in front of shoulders, spread energy through the 4 corners of the palms and out through the fingers to protect the wrists, brace your core and take an inhale.

STEP TWO

on exhale tuck toes under and lift tailbone towards the sky, drawing in the navel, feet and hands hip width apart.

STEP THREE

the first point of focus is to get a straight line from your wrists all the way up to the tailbone so it may help to keep the heels lifted at first ( you can place a block or rolled up blanket under them for support) and keep the knees bent.

STEP FOUR

Your tailbone should be the tip of the angle so encourage a tilt from that point to work towards flattening the back forwards, simultaneously draw the shoulder blades towards the pelvis, feel like the armpits are 2 eyes turning to look at each other, widen the shoulders creating space between them and your ears, draw upper arms towards each other and slightly rotate inwards keeping arms straight.

STEP FIVE

Feel the energy through the knuckles of fingers and out to tips, find a connection with the earth whilst drawing energy upwards through the palms up through to the pelvis and beyond.

STEP SIX

Once this side of your triangle shape has been established you can then lengthen your legs, push thighs back and extend heels down to the ground until. To avoid hyperextending knees ( guilty 🙋🏼‍♀️🙈) think about keeping a microbend in the knees. Engage and slightly rotate inner legs inwards.

STEP SEVEN

take 5 deep, slow breaths. Find length through the spine and lift through the tailbone on the inhale and melt through any tension on the exhale.

POINTS TO CONSIDER

Although this posture is recommended for beginners, it can actually be very challenging and overwhelming at first, here’s some things to help support you…

FOR WEAKER ARMS OR TIGHTER SHOULDERS

Use blocks, a hard chair or even a wall to place hands at a higher level to take weight off them so you can focus on alignment of upper body with less pressure

FOR LEGS THAT BOW OUT OR STRUGGLE TO STRAIGHTEN

Hold a block or cushion between upper thighs to encourage thighs together and help strengthen.

FOR TIGHTER HAMSTRINGS

Keep knees bent and pace a block or rolled up towel under heels to lift.

BENEFITS

  1. Calms the mind, releasing stress and tension
  2. Improves flow of circulation and lymphatic system
  3. Energises body
  4. Strengthens arms and legs
  5. Stretches arms, hamstrings, calves, shoulders.
  6. Introduces feeling of being inverted
  7. Helps regulate blood pressure
  8. Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, sciatica

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  1. Dont practice in late pregnancy
  2. Carpal Tunnel syndrome
  3. High blood pressure
  4. Headache or migraine

Everyone’s bodies are all built beautifully different so any questions fire away in the comments section, via my Facebook page or instagram account.

Discover your glow through Autumns changes

Summer lingered in its loving goodbye this year, but it’s safe to say we’re now in the midst of autumn as the chill in the air tickles our faces and creates misty patterns with our breath. It’s a time of massive change, the trees transform through their kaleidoscope of colours before leaving their branches bare, the animals gather nourishment to hibernate in their cosy holes or prepare for migration, the earth softens and browns, the horizon beckons the sun to sleep sooner every day and the increasing winds whisper that change is inevitable, good, bad and everything in between, A serving reminder that everything ages and there are things that we need to let go of in order to find peace and stillness before the emptiness and space of winter arrives.

Autumn brings with it an abundance of air qualities; dry, cool, light, windy, quick and changeable. In Ayurdeveda these qualities are shared with Vata Dosha, one of the 3 energy patterns( Vata, Kapha and Pitta) derived from the five elements that govern behaviour and needs both mentally and physically. Without awareness it can lead to imbalances that leave us overwhelmed, restless, anxious and sleepless, if we observe nature we see Autumn moving through its changes with such style and beauty. it’s breathtaking displays of golds, browns, reds and oranges glow with a sense of wisdom. The seas retain their warmth and the harvests provide rich nourishment ready to be stored. In front of our eyes, nature provides what is needed most to create balance. A sense of grounding, warmth, moisture and nourishment. As humans we naturally and unconsciously take some action to find balance within ourselves, we gravitate towards warming soups, hot drinks and cosy indoor activities but we also tend to rush more at this time, busying ourselves with festive preparations, rushing to meet deadlines and boost finances, an increase in extra curricular activities for the kids as the first term of school is well underway. All this upward energy threatens to knock us off balance but there are many ways in which we can draw this energy back down. Here’s just a few to consider

GROUNDING

During my yoga classes this time of year I talk a lot about Grounding and finding connection with our core, with our ‘constant’ self. Poses such as Child’s pose, forward fold, downward dog, frog squat and tree pose offer great ways to reconnect with ourselves and the earth which supports us. ( I’ll be introducing grounding yoga poses to try in detail over the coming weeks ) surrounding ourselves with the Earth element is another way to physically find grounding energy. I’m personally drawn to the warmth and protection of woodland areas.

MEDITATE

During meditation, find yourself in stillness for a moment. I like to visualise myself against an Oak tree, strong, steady, slow and unmoving, to help slow down my own rhythm, imagining roots spreading and expanding downwards towards the warming core. Focus on the reds we see around us in the leaves and berries as this colour helps draw energy to the root chakra to stabilise our foundation and draw back any scattered energies.

NOURISH:

Stock yourself with nourishing foods using the fruit and veg of the season, provide warmth and liquid to your body. Food helps to ground us too so it’s important to honour these needs, it can be tempting to fulfill these needs by overconsuming all the sweet treats and alcohol available, which is all fine and healthy in moderation, but if we’re mindful to stock ourselves with nutrient rich foods from the earth first ( think root vegetables) then the desire for the unhealthier options will naturally diminish as our bodies will feel more satisfied. ( never hurts to still enjoy those tasty treats though, it’s all about balance 😉)

As well as this, nourish yourself with warming words, kind and positive affirmations that fuel your spirit, guide you to contentment and help you feel the glow of self worth. Here’s a few to get you started..

  • I am Healthy. I am Joyful. I am Amazing.
  • I am Beautiful.
  • I am Authentically made.

Even if you don’t believe them at first, say them, the message will seep through and one day you’ll feel the truth of them wholeheartedly.

Love and Glow filled light ✨

Kerry xx

Dreams are made real by people who show up for them…

Spending so much time on my own is a weird sensation. I show up for my boys everyday, meet their needs, make sure they are happy, safe, secure, clean, watered and fed… but apart from that there’s no other ‘necessary’ thing or person I need to show up for. Potentially nobody would know what I was wearing, if I’d done my hair, hoovered the floor, got on my mat. There is no money/job at present for me to work for. I don’t get paid regardless of what I do or don’t do…It can seem that outside the purpose I have for my sons, there is no other purpose other than cleaning and tidying and cleaning and tidying … did I mention cleaning and tidying ?!? 🙈😜😂and I’m rubbish at that 🙈😂 …In fact, I could spend every day in my PJs if I wanted eating ice cream and watching trashy Day time TV. ….. but settling for this cycle of events just doesn’t feel right,!! ..of course, without question, my sons are my main purpose right now so I show up everyday for them, but there’s one other person that I can’t forget that I need to show up for… and that’s myself. The more I have within myself, the more I can give to my boys, by keeping my dreams and hopes alive my sons can be inspired to follow their own. One thing I will never see my children as is a hindrance. There’s no point getting frustrated about what I was able to do before I had them which I can’t do now because then was then and now is now.: in fact I couldn’t do then what I can do now because I didn’t have enough self confidence or knowledge of my capabilities. They have given me the gift of rethinking, reorganising and rediscovering myself and my life. Strengths and skills have emerged that I never knew I had before and as much as I’m the adult, the carer, the supporter, the nurturer, the teacher…. my little cherubs are lifting me up when I’m tired, filling me with giggles when Im feeling lonely, and simplifying what’s important when I feel overwhelmed. They are the power that overhauls doubt and fill me with reason and purpose..so I step on my mat everyday, I step outside, I step forwards firmly and with purpose and I know the adventures will follow, for all of us. I want to always show up for my dreams, like so many that I admire have done and do so daily. I see people overcome the seemingly impossible everyday just because they ‘show up’. Dreams are made real by people who show up for them..and having the power within ourselves to do that is a pretty awesome thing! 😄😄 ‘As the mind, so the person; bondage or liberation are in your own mind.” If you feel bound, you are bound. If you feel liberated, you are liberated. Things outside neither bind nor liberate you; only your attitude toward them does that.’ Commentary on the Raja Yoga Sutras by Sri Swami

Fizzling with Fever- breathout the burn out

FIZZLING WITH FEVER

Getting poorly sucks!! Getting poorly as a freelancer sucks even more as calling in sick just isn’t an option most of the time, and getting poorly when you have to look after 2 little boys on your own throws up a whole new level of ‘sucks’. Having a temperature over 39.4 whilst your toddler jumps on your head, forgets that poo is for the toilet, not pants, and thinks the best way to show affection for his brother is by lying on/ doing yoga over him and driving cars over his body is pretty challenging 😬😬

Perfect place to practice a 3 legged downward dog 😜

throw in a baby that needs round the clock care and attention whilst juggling Widow Twanky chores and the results are far from pretty 😷😝🙈 Thankfully, under normal circumstances my immune system is pretty tough and due to breastfeeding Elijah into toddlerhood he rarely brought home any nasty bugs for us to contend with for a long time. When I have felt a niggle, normally a steam, some lemon and honey and a lot of garlic fights it off before it gets a chance to set in! 

Circumstances aren’t always ideal though and we are all just human beings after all, alas, I did finally burn out and get struck down, in a pretty dramatic manner at that! A week in hospital with pneumonia and Sepsis, accompanied by severe dehydration despite drinking like a fish! 😷 It all happened so quick!

Get well Love off my boys ❤️

The messages of love and support were so amazing. To have so many people care about me feels extremely special. Of course the obligatory “slow down Kerry “ is always needed as this buzzy bee rarely lets her wings rest. Well meaning messages also come through suggesting maybe it’s the breastfeeding that’s made me sick, and maybe I shouldn’t have been doing yoga! But in truth it’s neither of those 2 things that led me to getting so sick! Breastfeeding makes my life so much easier. I’m too lazy to fuss with any bottle paraphernalia and it’s my all in one golden parenting tool for nourishment, immunity, medicine and trantrum taming. It’s the magic that soothes all the ouchies of the heart or body in one simple gesture of love.. plus I get to lie down.
Post milk snuggles

 

My yoga practice isn’t the hardcore training sessions you may expect either. I have very little interest in ‘working out’. Like my dancing career before, ‘being in shape’ is just a happy bonus that comes with the lifestyle! I only get to do very short bursts of yoga, maybe 30mins here or there, and it’s my small moment to reconnect with who I am between the laundry loads, smoothie splattered walls and snot. It keeps me healthy, happy and peaceful inside and out and it rarely makes me break a sweat. Now get me running 5K, lifting weights at the gym or sparring at this stage post partum and I’d be a ball of mess 🙈😂 The most important thing about my yoga practice is that I listen to my body, mind and soul and what it needs on each given hour of the day. Adapting and learning every step of the way.

Some of the shapes I create may seem extreme but having been a dancer since I was 4, there are certain asanas that come naturally to me. On my post partum journey so far I’ve kept within my comfort zones, taking shapes that my body over the last 31 years have come to know inside out and enjoy the feel of! Allowing myself to play without punishing the body that has served me so well throughout pregnancy and labour! That’s not to say I haven’t played my part in getting poorly! I’m not one for taking a rest, I feel too guilty when there’s still laundry in the basket, paperwork to sort and toys to clear away … I internalise my anxieties about money, making sure I’m giving both boys enough love and attention and simply getting us all out the door on time. My head constantly swims with a thousand thoughts and I never ask for help when I feel overwhelmed. 

Stress and anxiety brings on illness 10 times quicker than any amount of activity so when I picked up a simple bug and combined it with a weeks worth of sleepless nights due to an under the weather toddler and stress about bills etc my body sunk quicker than a lead balloon. 

In truth, I hadn’t practiced any form of yoga for over a week and I hadn’t been giving myself any time to do the most important elements of all…Pranayama ( breathing) or meditation.. the 2 things I needed most of all in my life. It served as a stark reminder of how temporary and vulnerable our bodies can be. Being told that my levels could have killed an elderly patient and that the Sepsis could have taken a nasty turn had I of waited any longer to see the doc is quite a thought provoking spin out! 

“OBSTACLES ARE OPPORTUNITIES” 

Things do happen for a reason though and despite the bruised forearms from various IV concoctions, I’ve had a jolly lovely time resting, reading, binge watching Game of thrones series 5 & 6 and having lots of one on one time with Bodhi ( so grateful for the NHS letting him stay with me so I could breastfeed )  obstacles ARE opportunities and this has been a wonderful chance for me to catch up on all the yoga philosophy I’ve been struggling to find the time to learn about. Was I bored??? Not at all in the slightest 😀​

BREATHING OUT THE BURN OUT

My yoga practice will certainly take on a more restorative form over the coming weeks though! That’s what I love about yoga, it’s a journey that anyone can take at any time whatever their circumstances! Pranayama ( breathing) is an extremely important element of yoga. It’s easy to skip over the breathing techniques dismissing them as simple, taking our breath for granted, but, it is what fuels us subconsciously every second of the day. It’s what brings heat and fire into the body which converts to energy that drives our actions and heals our weaknesses. 

PRANAYAMA 

Pranayama is about making the unconscious act of breathing, conscious. It is essential that this process is efficient so that oxygen, carbon dioxide and other soluble gas levels in the blood are balanced perfectly. The more stress, pressure and emotion we experience, the more restricted and shallow the breath becomes, in fact most of us only use 2 thirds of our lungs capacity. As the alarm bells of the sympathetic nervous system are constantly being rung, the cycle of stress, anxiety and shallow breathing is perpetuated. This in turn deprives the body of oxygen and the prana essential to its good health. 

THREE PART BREATH

There’s a whole heap of Pranayama techniques that are incredible at helping heal and prevent respiratory illness. A perfect technique for understanding how our own lungs work and their capabilities is 3 PART BREATH! It helps utilise every inch of the lungs effectively by exploring the 3 cavities; the belly, the thoracic and the chest. Here’s a link to a full written description of the technique which I posted last year. 

https://barefootbabysteps.wordpress.com/2016/09/16/give-your-body-an-oxygen-boost-with-3-part-breath/

And below is a video tutorial for you to try out! ( excuse the toddler video bomb 🙈😜) 

Stayed tuned and I’ll soon be posting about more Pranyama, Kriya and Asana techniques that are great for preventing and aiding the healing process of respiratory illness. Always follow the guidance of your doctor though and listen, listen and listen once again to what your body is telling you xx 

Sick bowl hats 😀🙈

Breathing out the fear of childbirth

It’s been a while since my last blog post and despite a notebook full of blog idea scribblings, they haven’t quite made it into font form yet which is mostly due to the fact that life has simply had other priorities, and you know what?! that’s never a bad thing. Many of us are very guilty of making our lives more ‘busy’ than they need to be. I’m a prime offender!! I put pressures on myself that don’t need to exist and this only makes me walk backwards. minimalising life helps everything work far more effectively and allows more energy for where it’s needed most.  In the run up to giving birth all that really matters is that I cherish Elijah, cherish my body and mind and emotions, keep the space around us simple and free and spend oodles of time connecting with the life that I will shortly give birth to. One of the most important priorities for me over the last 2 months has been family time. Going from a family of 3 to a family of four can seem beautiful and daunting all at the same time. It’s been important to embrace every moment we have with each other now before the topsy turviness of adjusting to the new arrival, reflecting on what life has blessed us with and absorbing all the strength from the love we are surrounded by. Change can be a really scary thing that we force to the back of our minds, watching the way Elijah explores his raw and honest emotions teaches me a lot about the way I process ( or don’t process ) my own anxieties and frustrations. As he senses big changes are coming his desire and need to be cuddled and reassured increases tenfold. He doesn’t hold back in expressing his fears and the best way to help him grow from experiencing these overwhelming emotions is to give him, and them, acknowledgement, understanding, explanation, support, guidance, time, space and most of all love. It makes sense that I should be processing my own fears in the same way…. Yoga has been playing an important role in my prenatal journey both physically and mentally. Ive posted a few videos and photos to my Facebook https://m.facebook.com/kerryconwayyoga/ and Instagram account @barefootbabysteps of my home asana ( physical) practice, but what I haven’t spoken much about is the emotional and mental nurturing I have been doing through guided meditations. I’m a firm fan of Hypnobirthing, for anyone unfamiliar with the term, self hypnosis helps us to go into deep relaxation. For labour it teaches us to replace fear with confidence in the birthing body and help free the mind of negative thoughts. Hypno birthing Preparation also teaches breathing techniques and visualizations to use during the labour. Hopefully I can go into a bit more depth in a future post about what I have learnt and the theory behind it as I’d love to do give it the time it deserves. Elijahs birth, using the techniques, was more wonderful than I could have ever expected. It certainly wasn’t perfect the whole time though and I wouldn’t want to romanticise it as being so. We had a shakey start and everything happened really quickly which caught me by surprise, I wasn’t prepared. My waters broke like they do in the movies and instead of getting a gradual build up of contractions, what I got was an hour long, no break intense pressure/pain. Without meaning to sound dramatic it literally felt like baby was forcing its way out of a pin hole and if he couldn’t get out that way he was gonna break my whole body in two… after initially turning down gas and air I decided it might be worth a try but the machine they gave me didn’t work and for a while they didn’t believe me when I said I was breathing in but no air was coming… I felt like an idiot and totally embarrassed that the pain had paralysed me to the point that I had to be wheel chaired to the birthing room. I was starting to feel panicky and frightened ( it wasn’t what I was expecting to happen after all ) and I truly believe that had I let the fear consume me things may have gone very differently, fear causes us to freeze and that’s the last thing my cervix needed, instead, I turned a mental corner, caught my breath, shut out all the unnecessary trivialities, turned on the music I’d been doing my hypno birthing prep to, talked myself through the knowledge, guidance and positive affirmations I’d learnt and received, trusted my body to adjust and 10 short minutes later it had found its rhythm and relaxed into the experience, everything changed in that moment, the discomfort I had was no longer my enemy, but a powerful surge that was guiding a new life into the world, the fear that had been causing my body to recoil and close up fizzled away like a deflated balloon and allowed all the necessary space to be created... 2hours later we were having our first cuddles in the birth pool, no tearing, no pain relief needed and a super quick recovery 😀 it really was the most incredibly powerful experience and I grew more as a person in that 4.5 hours than I had done in the 10 years before. Despite the confusion at the beginning it was utterly perfect..Since then though, all I have been hearing is how horrible so many people’s births have been, which isn’t a bad thing, I think it’s an important healing process for women to talk about a traumatic experience they may have had and even more important for someone to be there to listen and support, but I stopped talking about my own positive experience in case people thought I was being insensitive or rubbing it in their face, I even started to doubt myself and feel nervous about giving birth again, were my memories delusional?? but I soon realised that I was letting nonsense thoughts enter my mind and in fact it is a equally important to share positive birth stories so that women don’t need to be afraid, it is an empowering thing and we have choices we can make before and during, whatever the situation, that can help us tremendously along the journey. I choose to trust the gift my body has been given and any moment possible I’ve been listening to the hypno birthing CDs from Katherine Graves during the day then falling asleep every night to one of her relaxation meditations and I can’t begin to tell you how different I feel! the baby is also getting to hear the words and the beautiful meditation music by Catherine Marie Charlton which I used for my birthing experience with Elijah! Obviously we always have to expect the unexpected, I think that’s the misconception from people who criticise women who they say ‘romanticise birth’ ultimately hypno birthing doesn’t take away the pain or challenge but equips us with the strength to believe in ourselves and overcome! I know women who ended up needing emergency C sections who say they benefitted tremendously from using hypno birthing techniques throughout the experience despite not getting the birth they wished for. This time around we’re planning a homebirth, it’s important for us not to get attached to the idea of a ‘perfect’ birth, in case it doesn’t happen that way but I’m feeling excited and confident that whatever happens, it will be an amazing experience where we ultimately get to meet the brand new life that’s currently growing inside of me…. that one fact alone eclipses anything else along the road. Life is created!! I mean, how AWESOME is that 😀🙏🏻👶🏼


For a wonderful example of a homebirth watch this beautiful video https://youtu.be/RNhVLKU6zF8

Yogis celebrating Woman’s History Month #marchintoherstory

Millicent Fawcett

Maya Angelou 
March is officially Woman’s history month in the U.K, USA and Australia to correspond with international woman’s day which was on 8th March. I was reading an article on 100 of the most influential women in history and was disappointed in myself that there were only a few on the list that I could hand on heart say I knew a whole heap about.

Audrey Hepburn

Katherine Hepburn

There were many more who I was aware of but I didn’t feel like I truly knew enough about their accomplishments and lives that shaped the world for women and men as we know it today. Of course I’m not going to be hard on myself, there’s so much in this world to learn about that we simply can not know everything about everything and everyone, That’s the beauty to life, we never stop learning or discovering about ourselves or other people. In a few ( rare ) moments I chose to delve a little deeper into some of theise women’s lives and the journeys were inspiring, fun and thought provoking. 

Jane Austen

Cleopatra

Myself and three other woman from different countries around the world decided to get together and share a little of what we’ve discovered and combine it with our love for yoga over on Instagram! I’ve always had a love/ hate relationship with social media. I love being connected with people and places around the world, from lives different to mine, I love art, I love photography, I love travel and I love yoga. What I don’t like is the hard selling, the culture of likes for likes and follows for follows, I could go on, but basically that side of things, quite frankly, gives me the creeps, but I realised that it’s my own choice what I get from it and decided to embrace all that I love and in doing so have connected with some incredible people. I’ve been inspired, made dear friends, had my eyes opened and felt encouraged by people from all over the world sharing their stories. The 3 women who I’m joining forces with at the end of this month are perfect examples of the inspiration I have found. 

@carleebyoga

@weirdomandys

@hana_bladh


Their creativity, drive, approach to life, view of the world and way they treat others is the reason that I am so grateful to be working along side them on this little project that first and foremost we are learning from.  
Between the 20th- 31st March We are inviting instagrammers to join us with #marchintoherstory . Each day we will explore a yoga posture that we enjoy, presenting beginner, intermediate and advanced options, ( I’ll undoubtedly be modifying a few to adapt to my growing baby bump 😀) whilst sharing inspirational information about some of our favourite strong women throughout history. Along the way we hope to inspire both women and men to find their own inspirations within and feel bolder and braver to step forward down the path that they believe in.
If you’re on Instagram and want to join in the fun then we’d love to see you and read about who or what inspires you! 

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend wherever you are.


Be barefoot, playful and free 😀

Instagram @barefootkerry

A month in the life of a pregnant yogi dancer ( and her exceptionally cute mini yogi side kick 😍)

I’ve been asked quite a few times what keeps me fit and active whilst looking after a tot ( apart from generally running around after said tot ), especially now that I’m 6 months pregnant and I figured the best way to explain was by simply showing you. Apart from walking outside with Elijah everyday to let off all his feral energy, my go to is always Yoga. It satisfies all my needs from the physical to the philosophical, it keeps my dancer and creative spirit alive too.
I take my practice outside wherever possible but of course as it’s winter, those times are rather limited, but I still manage to play al fresco occasionally. Most of the time, in my asana practice, Elijah is waiting in the sidelines ready to pounce, joining in or using me as a climbing frame from the start, but that’s how we roll and I wouldn’t want it any other way. We get to play and be inspired together with the freedom to take it anywhere, anytime. I’ve put together a short little video ( see link below ) showing short ( high speed) clips and photos of what Elijah, myself and baby bump have been up to in our little yoga world this last month ( 20-24 weeks pregnant )  Hope you enjoy and if you feel inspired check out my Instagram page @barefootkerry or subscribe to the you tube video as there will be plenty of yoga and dance inspired nuggets going up in the near future. ​​

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N.B. Whilst practicing yoga,​​ always listen to where your body is at. Your journey in life is always personal to you and that applies to your physical body also. Find your sweet spot, flirt with it, but never dishonour it and stay true to the present. My personal practice is adapting as the weeks go by and my pregnancy progresses. ​