Love

I recently wrote a status on Facebook proclaiming that Yoga had changed my life. Which I agree sounds kind of dramatic. My former self of a year ago would have read a statement like that and been naturally dubious. Really? It changed your life? Huh, right, okay…. And yet it’s true.

Perhaps I should have elaborated a little more on how it changed my life, after all I still live in the same house, in the same town, I am still married with two children and I still do the same job. And yet I am totally transformed. With today being International Yoga Day, I thought it was perfect timing to go into a little more detail on the profound effect yoga has had, and is still having on me.

Firstly I’ll let you in on a secret. I am not a very sporty person. I have been known to hang out a bit at the gym in an attempt to try and keep fit but it’s always begrudgingly and I can never seem to sustain it longer than a few months. I have been known to feel a bit self conscious in the gym. I never really felt comfortable sweating and turning a deep shade of tomato in front of strangers.

Day 1 of Kundalini yoga and my first lesson was ‘We leave our ego’s outside of the yoga studio’. Refreshing! And yet I thought, easier said than done. I definitely stepped into the class with a first rate ego, always conscious of what others may think of me, eager not to embarrass myself, look composed and keep up with the class.

By the end of the lesson I had more of an understanding of what my lovely teacher Corrine meant. Even though I may have felt a little self conscious doing some of the more ‘ out there ‘ breathing techniques and yoga moves, within a few weeks that awkwardness had completely disappeared. I was there for myself, this was entirely my journey and I was in the zone! As far as I am aware there is only me and Corrine in the room while I am doing my class, it helps that the majority of the class is done with our eyes closed too.

So how did I come along the path of Kundalini yoga? Totally by accident, or perhaps totally meant to be, who knows? It was Christmas 2018 and I was reading a book called ‘How to be your bad ass self’ by Jen Sincero. It was good read and got me thinking about my life and where I was at this point which to be honest wasn’t quite where I wanted to be.

You see I’d been struggling to manage my stress levels and moods for quite a few years. I found the slightest thing triggered me whether it was the children misbehaving or something not going my way at work. I put it down to having a young family, running my own business, planning a wedding and renovating a house, all at the same time. I sure had a lot on my plate so it was no wonder I felt crappy. Deep down I knew I was still ‘me’, the me I liked, the joyful, creative, kind person but I felt like I was drowning in this heavy overcoat I didn’t want to be wearing. Only I couldn’t take it off. It was a constant struggle between the person I wanted to be and this person who was just not really okay. Kind of trying to be ok, maintaining I was okay to the outside world (I think?) but really not being okay on the inside. Sad, angry, confused by everything and nothing I could quite put my finger on. I mean I had a great life but I still didn’t feel great. Why didn’t I feel great?

On a whim, I googled yoga classes in my area and came across Corrine’s class. I attended not knowing a thing about Kundalini yoga or what was in store for me! Wow, I was in for a surprise. Reaching out for some kind of spirituality and finding everything I needed and more, so much more.

What is Kundalini yoga?

Perhaps I need to back up and give you a brief introduction into Kundalini yoga as like me 6 months ago you probably hadn’t heard of it. Kundalini is both a physical and spiritual yogic practice that works on awakening the kundalini energy through movement, breathing techniques, mantra and meditation. It’s goal is to build physical vitality and consciousness within the individual so they can realise their life purpose. It’s an ancient form of yoga and it’s believed to go back as far as 1000BC.

Kundalini yoga is healing to me. Through movement, meditation and deep relaxation, gong healing / sound therapy I heal each one of my chakras. Each lesson we tackle a different area to work on. We strengthen our neutral mind and learn to quieten our negative minds. I read somewhere that 90% of people live in their negative minds, wow! A yogi is neutral which means they are not controlled by their minds. We open our hearts to love and most importantly love ourselves so we are so full of love that we are complete. Being loved by others is only a bonus!

So how has yoga changed me?

In the past 7 months, I’ve changed a lot. To an outsider maybe nothing has changed. I am still the same person, in the same house, job and personal situation. But inside I’ve changed. Each week, each month that passes brings new changes and is still bringing transformation. Some are subtle and continually evolving, some are more obvious to me.

I’ve changed mentally

It took me about 2-3 weeks of attending classes with Corrine for my moods to change. Everything felt lighter. I shifted from the negative mind into the neutral. I seem to be able to deal with stress and I don’t sweat the small stuff. Ragey people in cars no longer make my blood boil inside of me, I’m pretty much indifferent. Work stresses no longer make me feel tight in my chest and like I can’t breathe. Instead I just knuckle down and deal with the situation to the best of my ability, it’s all I can do after all!

I shout less at the kids. It used to be much more frequent than I’d have liked but these days we can have whole days, heck even whole weeks, dare I say whole months with me not raising my voice in anger. I mean the little monkeys really know how to test me but I have a deep well of patience and good humour I just didn’t have before.

I’m much less afraid. Afraid of what bad things could happen, afraid of what someone might think, afraid of not being liked, afraid of speaking my truth. I trust in the universe.

I’m way more joyful. I SING and DANCE again! I never realised that I’d stopped singing (how sad is that, it really shocked me when I realised that) but I had… I’d stopped singing along to the music. Here’s another secret I actually sometimes want to dance across a carpark because I feel so joyful! I haven’t actually gone for it yet but who knows you may spot me one day, haha!

I’m wanting to spend more and more time out in nature. I was always a nature lover but everything is more beautiful than it ever was before. Every tree, hill, sky, plant is magnified in it’s breathtaking beauty these days!

It’s changed my health

I have no physical pains at all. I’ve never been one to suffer with any chronic pains or anything but I did often hold stress in my neck and shoulders which I no longer do. In fact I haven’t been ill at all, not even a cold in nearly 7 months. Which I think is pretty good going.

Physically I am able to push my body to do more in yoga class and not give in to my negative mind trying to tell me I cannot do it. Some of the Kriyas can really test this and I find an amazing strength and energy from inside me which I find incredibly empowering.

And then there are little things. Like the fact that I have bitten my finger nails since about the age of 7 when I lost my baby brother and never quite recovered from that anxious feeling as a child that someone I loved was going to die. I’ve never been able to stop despite trying many, many times. Even when I wasn’t biting them it seemed my nails still didn’t want to grow. 30 years later and 3 months into my yoga journey and my nails started to grow beautifully as if by magic!

I’ve also spent the best part of 15 years battling with my diet and the way I look. I’ve slowly put on more weight over the years, much to my dismay, as I thought I was a healthy eater. I’m pleased to say I’ve even managed to improve on that, choosing to eat mainly fresh fruits and vegetables and cutting right down on the sugar and processed carbs. A few months of yoga saw me change to being a vegetarian, it felt a totally natural lifestyle change to make aligned with my yoga practice.

What’s even better is I’ve thrown away my weighing scales because they are absolutely NO good for me!

So there you go, that’s just a few ways yoga has changed me but I’m not finished yet! My heightened intuition, my new, more neutral mind are just the start for me, the foundation for me to take the next step.

I’m still working on myself, still healing and learning, uncovering my journey. I’m excited to see where I go from here.

Thank you to my wonderful teacher Corrine for teaching us with so much love and devotion. Corrine teaches yoga in the Nottingham / Newark area, you can find more about her lessons here.

Sat Nam

The month of May is national walking month. Walking is something we love to do as a family. It’s free and not only good for our bodies but our minds too. The children love to be outside in nature, and we are lucky where we live to be surrounded by many fabulous local countryside walks, across fields, forests and lakes.

As a family of six; Mummy, Daddy, the girls, Buddy the dog and Mabel the cat, we all have our unique personalities. Each one of us has a favourite type of walk to suit their characteristics. I personally like to walk on the beach, feeling in awe of the wide expanse of open space and sky before me, drawn to the power of the crashing waves. Always one to treasure hunt, I like to stop and pick up shells, wood and sea glass on my travels.

Daddy’s favourite walk is high up in the mountains. One for adventure he loves the challenges of different terrain and the feeling of accomplishment when he reaches the top.

The children’s favourite place to walk is the forest, preferably untouched woodland where there is plenty of adventure to be found. They like climbing up trees and over logs, finding bugs and insects to befriend and listening out for the call of the cuckoo. Racing eagerly ahead, each one wants to lead the search party for outdoor adventures.

As a much loved family member, we always like to take our dog on our family walks on the weekend. His favourite type of adventure is one where he can be let off the lead and run ahead with the girls excitedly chasing after him. Just like the children his happy place is the forest where he can take in all the sights and smells, feeling free to run in and out of the trees as he pleases. With that same appetite for adventure, walking on a lead is a no no and he bounds ahead with childlike enthusiasm in search of adventure. He competes with our youngest to be the leader of the pack, they are both free spirits absorbed in the magic of the forest and not listening when I shout them to come back!

Just as we are keen to make sure everyone gets out and about in the fresh air it’s also important that the family is eating healthy food and that includes the dog! We’ve always opted to feed him premium dog food so when James Wellbeloved asked if we would be interested to try their natural grain free dog food, we agreed. Although Buddy doesn’t have any food intolerances that we know of, we are very aware that processed food with artificial flavouring is no good for us and it’s no good for our pets either.

So we were pleased to see that James Wellbeloved believe in simple natural ingredients. Each recipe contains top quality natural ingredients (everyone is also listed on the pack so you know what goes into the food) and nothing else. Naturally hypoallergenic it minimises adverse reactions to the food and proves popular with dogs and cats with food sensitivities. It promises firmer poos (pet owners rejoice!) and numerous health benefits from glossy coats to boosted immune systems to keep them adventuring with you for years to come.

The taste test received a resounding yes as Buddy wolfed down his food to which we had added the lamb with vegetables in gravy as a topper (which James Wellbeloved recommend as an alternative option to a standalone meal). I think he’d be a very happy pup if we added these to his dry food more often. He gets extremely excited on Sundays when the family is having a roast and he knows he will be getting some leftovers and gravy. In fact it’s his favourite thing to come home to after a long walk in the woods!

This post is in conjunction with James Wellbeloved but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 


This time of year brings with it the promise of warmer weather, days spent outside, family lunches and pretty spring flowers. Just the thought of it fills me with hope and positivity. By March I am usually well and truly over the cold weather and dark days.

Easter marks the start of my favourite time of year, when we get to be outside, enjoying our beautiful English countryside and our lovely garden.

We have a few traditions that we like to do as a family on Easter Sunday to celebrate together.

Our Sunday always starts with Easter breakfast in bed together as a family of four. We’ve a lovely super king bed which fits us all in perfectly for morning snuggles, chats and breakfast time. Breakfast in bed is a treat we always do on special occasions, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Birthdays and Easter Sunday. We also like to have the occasional lazy Sunday if the little people in our lives are not demanding we go downstairs!

Sometimes our breakfast in bed is just tea and toast, sometimes pastries and coffee. I do always try and make Easter Breakfast a little bit special though.

A few little touches when dressing the tray can elevate a normal breakfast to a thing of beauty! Think butlers tray, gorgeous kitchen accessories, a pretty cup and saucer, flowers… and I personally LOVE the touch these jute placemats bring. For Easter you can find some gorgeous egg cups and the prettiest eggs in pastel shades to add.

Now on to the food! One of my favourite quick and easy but divine breakfast recipes is for Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Egg Breakfast Pastries. Made with smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, a dash of creme fraiche, puff pastry and a good amount of black pepper they are a quick and easy recipe to follow but make an absolute delicious Easter Breakfast treat.

Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Egg Breakfast Pastries

You will need:

  • Pre rolled puff pastry cut in to equal squares of about 15cms (Determine how many squares you need on the number of people eating. They are quite filling and I don’t think you’d manage more than 2 per person!)
  • Smoked salmon slices
  • Eggs (to make up scrambled egg)
  • Creme fraiche or milk to add to scrambled eggs
  • Butter (optional for scrambled egg)
  • Black pepper and salt to season

To make your pastries:

  • Combine your eggs, milk, butter and salt and pepper together to make scrambled eggs. The amount will differ depending on how many pastries you are making but usually one egg = one pastry. Don’t worry about the scrambled egg being totally cooked as it will cook some more in the oven later too.
  • Lay out your pastry squares on a baking tray (with greaseproof paper underneath so they don’t stick) and fill the centre with scrambled egg. Add two small slices of smoked salmon and parcel up, making sure the points overlap and are stuck together in the centre.
  • You can brush the top with a glaze of egg if you’d like to but it isn’t necessary.
  • Cook until pastry is golden brown.
  • Serve with a helping of black pepper and enjoy!

Why not add your own twist?

If you wanted to add a twist to the recipe you could add some spinach too, or go for good old fashioned bacon, egg and mushrooms.

I will be making these on Easter Sunday as well as some mini easter bunny pain au chocolates for my girls! (using pre bought croissant dough, a rabbit cookie cutter and dark chocolate drops for the centre).

We will be off to church after our Easter breakfast and joining the rest of the clan for a big Easter lunch and egg hunt around the garden later in the day. I’m really hoping that snow they’ve warned us about decides to give us a break and we get some well deserved sunshine! What about you? How will you be spending your Easter Sunday? Do you have any traditions you like to do every year?

Disclaimer: I was sent some beautiful kitchen accessories by The White Company in order to create this post. Thank you to The White Company for supporting Lish Concept, we are big fans!

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