Our body is infinitely intelligent, and like an archive, it holds all that we have experienced in our life. It is always seeking to come back into balance and has the innate capacity to heal itself.
There is no doubt that our mind is a powerful instrument, however our reliance on it to solve what is misaligned in our life is overestimated.
Since we were infants, our mind has done a great job to create mechanisms to keep us safe and protected; however, as adults these entrenched mechanisms cease to serve us well. Rather, they work to keep us separated on many levels. Although we like to think of ourselves as masters of our own mind- few of us are. Therefore, our attempts to navigate the world and reconcile our experiences with our past traumas, dramas and core wounding is oftentimes beyond us. I tend to see it like our mind got us to where we are now and it is not the most objective assistant to get us out! Finally it's my personal experience, as well as something I have witnessed with hundreds of clients, that body-based therapies are essential to get inside and beyond the mind.
How do we do that?
Energy medicine exists in traditions all over the world, and arguably, is one of the oldest forms of healing. While a single definition of energy medicine is difficult to pin down, I see energy medicine as a way to channel the power of the energy fields from the Earth, the Universe, and from one’s own internal life force to balance and heal all aspects of mind, body, and spirit.
This energy is limitless - and we each have the opportunity to access it, cultivate it, and utilise it. Furthermore, everyone can benefit from the practices that work with the subtle energy body, Spirit and Soul, in order to restore flow, vital energy and wholeness.
I have long been drawn to subtle energy practices and after many years of yoga practice I completed my Reiki training and was initiated as a Reiki Master in the holy city of Varanasi, India in 2011. Building on my practice of Reiki and therapeutic breathwork, I have spent the past few years studying Journey Work with shamanic teachers who are psychologists and psychotherapists (going full circle!).
Although each system is unique in approach, they are not exclusive or separate from each other. In the words of one of my favourite scientists, Albert Einstein, "Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter... Everything is energy and that's all there is to it".
Within us, our thoughts are energy, our feelings (e*motion = energy in motion), our words, our physical sensations, our body animation and senses... everything is energy. As long as our energy is flowing in an even, harmonious and vital way we feel well and at ease, however as soon as it becomes deplete or stagnant we see the onset of ill-health or dis-ease.
Understanding Energy Medicine from the Perspective of Reiki
Just as blood flows through our body, our vital life force flows through channels commonly known as meridians and the 7 major energy centres that run along the spine.
Like any channel, meridians are also susceptible to blockages and poor flow. This occurs when we are not nourishing our body well, have unbalanced emotions and negative thoughts that result in disharmony, dis-ease, physical deficiencies, and emotional & mental unbalance.
Reiki was developed in Japan in the mid 1800s and is derived from Japanese and means “universal life energy” (Rei = spirit, Ki = energy) and is a powerful, harmonising and natural energy healing method for stress reduction, balancing, relaxation & enhancing the body's natural ability to heal. Reiki increases the vibratory level of energy in and around the physical body and offers a natural, holistic & relaxing treatment. It can performed in-person or through distance healing, and is an amazing tool for supporting the healing of others and oneself.
Reiki is known to be helpful for a wide range of concerns, such as anxiety, depression, stress, digestive issues, fatigue, pain of all kinds, healing from surgery, injury, or illness, and more. I think it’s wonderful during times of transition, when things feel “stuck” and the path forward is unclear, or during periods of emotional or physical stress and trauma, when one’s energy feels depleted. Because it is non-invasive, safe, and very gentle, Reiki is a great complementary therapy to other forms of medicine, and is appropriate for people of all ages and states of health.
To learn more about the benefits of Reiki, or to learn how to do Reiki on yourself click here
Understanding Energy Medicine from the Perspective of Journey Work
Shamanic Journey Work is also energy medicine, however unlike the hands on healing of Reiki, it uses a drumming meditation to shift our brainwaves into a more meditative and dream-like state (theta waves). We do journey work for our own personal exploration: for information about ourselves, to open up to messages from our subconscious, our dreams, our compassionate guides, our ancestors or the land.
If you wish to learn more, I am offering a workshop: Introduction to Journey Work on June 7th, 2019.
To learn more about Journey Work and to register for the workshop, click here
Understanding Energy Medicine from the Perspective of Breathwork
Simply put, breath = life force. Our breathing habits directly affect the way we thinking and perceive life. It is scientifically understood that when we hold or limit our breath - negative feelings and thoughts arise.
Over our lifetime, we experience a multitude of situations and events that profoundly influence the way we breath leaving us disconnected from the ease, flow and fullness of our own breath.
Therefore, when you learn to breathe better, you become more present and available to breathe in the fullness of life.
To learn more about Breathwork, click here
Using the time-tested healing systems, my sessions that have the power to bring deep relaxation, harmonisation, insight, integration and transformation.
I welcome you to reach out for a free non-binding call to discuss what may benefit you at this time.
What blocks us from having the life we truly desire?
You want to get your health back on track after struggling with regular colds, digestive issues, stress, depression, allergies...
You may not be 'sick' but you know you ought to feel better than you do.
And you know what you are supposed to do (or at least know what you are not supposed to do), however you keep falling back in the groove of old behaviours.
Back to eating comfort foods, lots of sugar, relying on stimulants like alcohol and coffee, staying up late, not exercising - all the things that you know cumulatively make you feel worse.
You know you feel better when you are eating nutritious whole foods, doing more movement, engaging in stress-reducing practices. But you just can't seem to make those habits stick.
Does that sound like you?
The reality is that adopting and sustaining new habits is difficult. It can take a good amount of time for a habit to stick. Complicating this further is that depending on the habit it can not take much to undo the good habit.
Does this mean you throw up your arms and shout, "What's the point then?"
HELL NO! but it's time to get serious about all the baggage that holds you back.
Over the years that I have been teaching and working with people to become genuinely embodied and aligned with their highest potential: body, I have been taught a lot about this journey. By far, the most important observation I have witnessed is that this struggle is within the mind. The person needs a lot of mental fortitude to make the change.
We humans have a default orientation that is negative. It's evolutionary and served us when we needed to survive a tough environment. To assume there is a crocodile in the water and be ready to flee or fight, helped us to survive. Those that didn't have it were dinner. But this default, has become detrimental to our bodies (read: stress hormones) and the way we live and claim sovereignty in our own lives.
One of the biggest obstacles to manifesting our dreams is fear and self sabotage. Our mind is a powerful vehicle and manifests what we are feeding it. All of our thoughts, beliefs, words and emotions are the antenna that we put out into the world.
We tend to think that our mind is operating from a conscious focal awareness, however the reality is that 90-99% of what you think originates from the subconscious. Beneath the layers of critical-thought functions of the conscious mind lies a powerful awareness (subconscious) that has archived everything you have ever thought, felt and experienced in your life to date. This excellent secretary has taken stock of it all and if you are anything like me (and the 7.7 billion others), life hasn't always been a bliss-filled ride.
I see the subconscious as the lens that we see life through without really knowing we are even wearing glasses. We can reshape our reality by changing what we place in our mind, however in my experience this only gets us so far. For example, daily Gratitude practices are very positive and powerful in fostering contentment and gratefulness,, however, if the wounds of being bullied haven't been healed and embodied we are only placing a band-aid on it.
"How do we go beyond what we consciously 'know' and clear the archives of the subconscious", you ask.
Like many who are called to do this kind of work, I too, am a Wounded Healer. Deeply motivated to understand and heal the pain and suffering of my own life experiences, I have for more than 30 years tried to understand our deepest needs and longings, as well as the incredible legacy of practices that have been passed on in service to our evolution and healing.
As a psychologist and someone who sought safety in the world, I trusted that my mind was the vehicle to healing and deeper awakening. For me, this was a comfortable and familiar place to work from - examination and understanding of my behaviours and thoughts would liberate me from suffering.
What I have learned over the years, both working with myself and hundreds of people is that it is the mind that get us into this mess and it's not capable of fully getting us out.
You may remember that the archives of the subconscious hold everything we have experienced, felt, thought. And because there is no separation, the body knows and holds the energy of everything. It can not be fooled. Over our lifetime, the body comes to hold all that is unresolved and therefore we must also include the body in our healing journey.
My personal journey has seen me explore many things in an effort to become fully embodied... dance, meditation, breath, tantra, yoga, plant medicines, trance dance, shamanic journey work, fasting, prayer, mantra, bodywork...
I have and will continue to peel back the layers using the most accessible and effective tools I have come across in order to live with deep joy, harmony and love.
This is important. You are not broken. What you seek is within you - in fact, it is waiting for you. So despite not always being 'easy', it need not be a dry, serious and burdened journey. Reclaim the joy and innocence of a child - Move, Breathe, Laugh, Share because in the end it is ALL about LOVE.
And isn't that what we ALL truly want?
I want you to shine. Reach out if you would like a free and non-binding talk about how we can work together.
076 389 3264 or email@example.com
No matter your tradition, practice or interpretation, we are all affected by the simple yet significant shift in the sun's light. The spring and fall equinoxes along with the summer and winter solstices, mark the change in the cycle of light on our earth.
The spring equinox represents our movement through the darkness towards light. In the winter the earth holds the awakening energy of life (the seed), and in the spring, this life-force arises from its dark incubation into the light. The natural cycles of night and day, growth and rest, creation and destruction, balance the internal and external journeys of our lives. Think of the power and implications of these subtle shifts in nature and then take a moment to reflect on what that may mean for all of us who are also a part of nature .
Nature exquisitely teaches us that darkness balances light. By accepting this balance we neutralize our fear of the dark, and discover its profound gifts. For it is only through our struggles and grief that we find humility; through trauma we discover grace and healing; and through our depression and anxiety we unearth our illusions and reunite with our innocence, strength and awe.
The balance we seek is within ourselves, in the deep love and gratitude we shine on our wounds and imperfections. Day and night are in balance now and from this equality - new life emerges. Now it is time to bring the dark into the light and the light into the dark. The integration of these opposites holds wondrous potential for us as individuals and as co creators on an interdependent planet.
You may ask what this has to do with my work - breathwork, yoga/ayurveda, energy medicine, psychology? Truthfully, it has everything to with it. My works in both subtle and not so subtle ways, aim to awaken you to Nature within you. By opening the channels of your breath, moving your body, harmonising the flow of life force within, inviting self-care and the body's innate capacity to self-heal - you are awakening to the ecology of your entire being.
And just as an acorn knows it is destined to be an oak tree, your spirit also knows the reality of who you are beyond the self-imposed limitations of the ego and wounded self. Our mind is a wonderful tool, but it is not the driver of this body-vehicle. By honouring the rhythms of nature, we rouse the wisdom of our heart and spirit to guide us and this is where miracles happen.
This month offers a potent day that is wonderful to connect to Nature, March 20th - the Spring Equinox and first day of Spring.
March 20th- Spring Equinox
On this day the northern hemisphere begins its tilt towards the Sun; then, come the spring equinox the big, bright star will bisect the equator and shine down on the North and South poles in the same amount.
Ways to honour Spring Equinox:
Unless you've had serious breathing issues like asthma, pneumonia, severe allergies etc, most people don't give their breathing habits a second thought. Without getting too technical, I would like to share why chest breathing needs to be addressed if you want to obtain abundant energy, vitality, clarity and joy from each breath.
Chest breathing is characterised by an outward, upward movement of the chest wall. Many people get into the habit of breathing only with their chests. In fact, 90% of us are chest breathers with the biggest contributors owing to restrictive clothing, poor posture, stress, and conditions that weaken the muscles involved in breathing.
Chest breathing requires the body to work much harder because the rib cage is being lifted and secondary breathing muscles are engaged in order to accomplish the same blood gas mixing than with diaphragmatic breathing. This means more tension in the shoulders, neck, chest and upper back; as well as greater oxygen requirements resulting in more frequent breaths.
Chest breathing is natural and useful during vigorous exercise but it is quite inappropriate for ordinary, everyday activity.
When we breathe primarily in the chest we stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, or the fight or flight response that occurs when we are aroused by external or internal challenges or danger. As a result, chest breathing is associated with other symptoms of arousal like tension and anxiety. Since there is a reciprocal relationship between breathing and the mind, chest breathing, if continued during rest periods, will lead to tension and anxiety, thus creating a vicious circle.
In addition to this, research shows that chest breathers have a higher risk of heart disease, among other serious health conditions
Chest breathers are seldom aware of their breath pattern and commonly breathe in a shallow, jerky and unsteady manner, resulting in unsteadiness of the mind and emotions. Without realising the root cause lies in their breath pattern, chest breather's often resign to living with their symptoms or seek medications and interventions.
We are often unaware of our breath pattern unless our breathing becomes extremely difficult or radically discordant. Without retraining ourselves to breathe using a deep, even, and steady diaphragmatic breath pattern efforts to relax the body, nerves and mind will be ineffective.
If you would like to have a breath analysis and learn to build a healthy relationship with your breath, I am offering my popular workshop, Breathe Into Being on Saturday Feb 23rd from 10:00-12:30. I am also available for 1-1 Discover Your Breath and/or Transformational Breath® sessions.
As we ease into December, it is only natural that we reflect on the year that is coming to a close. The short days of winter offer a precious opportunity to slow down and steal moments of silence for self-reflection.
Ask yourself: What have you done this year that you are really happy with? What would you like to devote more energy to polish? What is awakening in you that you would like to nourish and grow?
These reflections can be fleeting- particularly in a world where we so easily jump from one thing to the next - so I invite you to consider a powerful practice that I use regularly: RITUAL.
I really love the power of rituals to bring a potent aliveness to these reflections and pave my path forward. Rituals truly help to anchor and nourish your intentions.
Rituals can be used for clarity, manifestation, releasing and grounding to name a few. Rituals often incorporate fire, smudging, meditation, song, dance.
This month offers several potent days that are wonderful to perform ritual including the Winter Solstice (Dec 21st), the New Moon (Dec 7th) and Full Moon (Dec 22nd).
December 21st is the Winter Solstice or Yule. In the Northern Hemisphere, this day officially marks the beginning of Winter and is shortest day of the year. It is also the day that we move towards more light.
Here is a ritual suggestion for the Winter Solstice:
1. To greet the return of the Sun on December 21st, wake 30 minutes before the sunrise and breathe in the Solar New Year. There is great feeling to greet the light, both within and without.
2. Light a candle and journal what you wish to seed for this year. The seed holds all codes and transmissions and to speak these wishes out loud and/or to take a seed and plant it into the Earth where it will gestate through the Winter, is very powerful.
3. In the dark, release what you wish to 'compost'. Into the soil of the Earth, you can let go of your limiting beliefs, your "not good-enoughs", your shadows and trust that Mother Earth can transmute them for you.
… do you have a friend who needs to feel the earth under her feet? Share this with them ...
Despite popular belief, being brave is not about being fearless. Fear is natural - it's part of being human - we ALL feel it. We meet it everyday when we stand up for ourselves, to popular opinion, change the way we do things, try something new, experience conflict, feel embarrassed... and when we do it is important to understand that we have two choices.
1. To batten down the hatches, armour up and shut down in order to protect ourselves.
2. Breathe and lean in to it.
Most of us learn from a young age that Option 1 is our only option. It gives us a sense of control and may even feel natural - and honestly most of us aren't taught any other way. We want to build an impenetrable wall around our gentle heart - it's about self-preservation.
And yet, if we breathe and lean into the discomfort - the fear- we open ourselves to the greater possibility of living bolder and fully alive and rewiring the neural pathways that have previously lead us to feel isolated within and without.
I know, I know. Option 2 looks good on paper - but it feels uncomfortable.
So how the heck do we do this?
First of all we ALL need to get better at feeling. If we immediately shutdown in response to any feeling that feels sticky and uncomfortable - we can never know it. In order to truly know it - we must befriend it. If we don't allow for the small feelings to have a voice they become big feelings. And if they don't have a voice they simmer and bubble within like an emotional Mount Vesuvius and lead to dis-ease.
Last month I shared about the second thing we can do (Sept newsletter/blog)- we need to leave the Perfection Party. March on out and don't look back. Perfectionism and our fear of failure sidelines our happiness, ability to be vulnerable, and self-loving. As American TV psychologist, Dr Phil would say "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?"
I understand that the thought of allowing yourself to be imperfect and vulnerable seems less appealing than a vomit flavoured jellybeans (yes, there are such a thing), but vulnerability is a trait that makes us human: approachable, relatable and real.
To do this it is important that we stay open and curious. When we are closed we invite judgment, fear, blame and in both a personal and global way - we eliminate solutions.
Replace “I know” with “I wonder”.
I know that when I do this, when I'm feeling painfully vulnerable; it means things might really change. There's a powerful cultural mandate of “being right” that has built a prison over our own, deep forests of curiosity.
Despite how scary this might feel, I know more and more who are spending courageous heart-time asking very tough, honest questions. This is the work and it is your greatest masterpiece.
Can you name all the ways you're brave? To be showing up in this moment? To be working to make a better world? To choose to really work through the stuff that holds you back? To simply choose kindness, open-mindedness in any given moment?
I think most would agree with his Holiness the Dalai Lama and Buddhist teachings - we all want to be happy. And yet there has never been a time in history that we have had access to so much that promised us happiness - wealth, education, healthcare, technology - and been less happy than ever.
Research on the subject shows that there is a causal relationship between our wandering minds and unhappiness and that perfectionism is a leading cause of unhappiness.
Amongst the research is a 2017 study of 41,000 college students from Great Britain, the US, and Canada by Tal Ben-Shahar, a researcher, positive psychologist and Harvard professor. He found that in the time between 1989 and 2016 the pressure of perfectionism among college students increased and happiness decreased.
In a world dominated by digital and millions wishing to present their perfect self on social media - is it any wonder that our distracted minds are more preoccupied with the portrayal and possibility of a perfect life than what's actually here, NOW? Enter stress and unhappiness.
So what can we do about it? How do we stay present in this moment, mindful and leave the 'perfection party'?
The practice of meditation is key.
Before you say "I've tried it- it's too hard"... "It's not for me- I'm a more active person"... "I can't sit for that long without pain"... it's important to understand nobody (except for perhaps a few exceptions) was born with natural ease in meditation- not even monks. I'm serious. I've asked several of my monk friends and they have all said it took time and commitment to meditate.
The good news is that there are practices that the wisdom traditions have understood for thousands of years that are easy to learn. Quite simply, your breath is your SUPERPOWER.
When we come into conscious awareness of our breath, the mind becomes quiet, steady, clear. Welcome to the present moment (clouds parting, sun shining, angel singing!).
There are untold gifts and freedom to be had when we release the mind, clear limiting self-beliefs, and open to the expansive joy of a full and open breath.
Is it easy? Yes ... and no
Our breath is with us all the time, however our monkey minds have been been in control for at least 3 decades and it's not going to like stepping out of the drivers seat.
Is it possible? Absolutely.
It just takes practice and the strong commitment to bridge a friendship with your breath.
The secret: START.
We are under the illusion that TIME will magically bring us what we seek. However, you must take action because if you keep doing what you've done, you'll keep getting what you've got!
It's time for us to truly wake up and truly embody our experience here, now. You were fortunate to wake up this morning because many assumed they would too and didn't. This isn't morbid- it's the truth: Every day is a gift.
If you want greater health and happiness in your life, and learn the self-empowering tool of breathwork I'd be happy to show you.
Reach out if you are interested in 1-1 sessions or in one of my workshops: Breathe Into Being and soon Breathe, Flow and Let Go - that incorporates movement and breath discovery.
The subtle nature of the breath and our relationship to it is ongoing because our life and circumstances continue to change. For those who have attended a breath workshop or done sessions with me don't hesitate to reach out if you need more support to come back to your fullest and most vital self.
I am endlessly humbled after years of working with my own breath to uncover 'stuff' and go even deeper.
Sunday Oct 14th, I am offering a Breathe Into Being workshop at Loosloo yoga studio in Basel.
BONUS OFFER: Sign up and receive an audio GIFT to guide you into your breath anytime, anywhere ♥
Breathe and be happy!