READING YOUR BODY’S POSTURE

tashabe25

I recently wrote an Instagram post about how being super physically flexible isn’t necessarily always a good thing. In it, I wanted to express how there is an absolute connection and continuity between your physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual and environmental worlds.

Bringing awareness to our posture or physicality can tell us a lot about our approach to life – the way we respond to stress or threats, what kind of company we keep, how our upbringing was, why we experience certain illnesses, what habits we have, and so on. Thus, decoding and making positive changes to our posture will help optimize our quality of life and ability to thrive.

CUES YOU CAN GLEAN FROM YOUR BODY:

Continue reading

Advertisements

CHANGING THE STORIES

IMG_8566
We have all created narratives throughout our lives that keep us locked into unhealthy thought patterns. Even though these stories make us feel fearful, angry, sad or anxious, we love them because they feel like home: they’re comfortable, familiar & predictable.

One of the stories I love to run is that life = worry. I pick through my day to find something to hyper focus on and build into a worry story. This story is great at keeping me occupied and stopping me from venturing out of my comfort zone. Another common story people love, is to find ways of blaming other people for the misfortunes in their own lives. As long as they can blame others they’ll never have to look at their own part in the story and change their ways. There are many, many stories we tell ourselves…do you know yours?

Despite our stories having strong pathways (due to constant use!) it is totally possible to re-write them, I can vouch for this. The steps outlined below have been incredibly helpful in rewriting new nourishing stories.

Continue reading

BRIDGING YOUR PRESENT STATE WITH YOUR DESIRED STATE

IMG_4684

The Tasha Be movement practise is my primary tool for helping myself and my clients better organise our physical bodies in order to find balance and clarity within every aspect of our lives. When you’re working physically on your body there is no way you are not also affecting other aspects of your life. For example gaining strength through your pelvis and legs will invariably have you feeling more grounded and self assured, which may then gift you the courage to make big decisions such as changing jobs, leaving a relationship, or signing up to study something you’re passionate about but have never given attention to.

Continue reading

WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET GLUTEN-ED

loaves-of-bread

 

Those of us with food allergies know all too well the side effects from accidentally consuming foods that don’t agree with us.

Despite loathing the instant painful feedback my stomach gives me after consuming something that does not agree with me, I am grateful as many other symptoms people experience require a bit more awareness or detective work. Some people can experience eczema, asthma, brain fog, acne, depression, all of which you wouldn’t immediately associate with what you’ve eaten. This is why it is so important to cultivate body and self awareness and to make changes slowly: my action plan below will help kick start your healing and better direct you towards what is and isn’t working.

THE ACTION PLAN

FOODS TO OMIT

All the obvious ones – gluten, dairy, soya and sugar. Also omit onion, garlic, leeks, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruit and dried fruit.

FOODS TO CONSUME

SUPPLEMENTS

DRINK

  • Filtered water – consume plenty of fresh water to help clean out
  • Organic nettle tea- drink throughout the day

MOVEMENT

Belly massage – massage clockwise in a circular motion around your belly 5 times. Then massage in downward strokes from between your front ribs to your belly button, 5 times. Then massage in downward strokes from underneath your the right side of your ribs (liver)to your belly button, 5 times, Then massage in downward strokes from underneath the left side of your ribs (stomach) to your belly button, 5 times. Then repeat the whole cycle twice more.

Breathing with deep squeezing exhales – Breathe in through the nose allowing the belly to rise, breathe out through the mouth allowing the belly to soften down towards the spine, blow every last bit of air out of your mouth so you can feel your abdominals naturally tightening and your ribs gently squeezing inwards and breast bone dropping. On the inhale visualise the six pack (rectus abdominis) rising, on the exhale visualise the length of the six pack sinking, the deep corset muscle wrapping from the back around your sides and knitting together at the front (like wrapping a dressing gown around your middle) and feel your lower abs drawing upwards fro behind your pubic bone to up out through the crown of your head.

Stretching and twisting – It is especially useful to stretch and massage down the inside and outside of your thigh muscles. This stimulates the blood flow (and therefore healing) to your belly. Using a foam roller is best, but a tennis ball or spiky ball is also great.

Twist, scissors and cobra are three great exercises to help bring healing to your system – find all the cues and descriptions here.

MEDITATION / MINDFULNESS for 1-5 minutes daily

Sit with crossed legs and a long spine, or lie on your back with legs long and arms beside you with palms facing upwards. Simply follow your breath in and out – don’t change your breath pattern, just watch it. Let stillness and calm wash over you by taking your attention inwards. When your mind wanders, when thoughts, emotions, sounds, or physical feelings occur just acknowledge them and let them pass without getting involved and come back to your breath.

 

(IMG)

VIDEO: THIS IS WATER

Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment. We also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing.” –  Jon Kabat-Zinn

This commencement speech from author David Foster-Wallace is a wonderful reminder to stop, breathe and get perspective. It is so important to practice stepping outside of your own stories, your own self-centred world and to be aware of the bigger picture – to notice the people around you, to act with compassion and without judgement and to realise we are all in this together.

I had a personal reminder of this recently when I was out at a show. I had been looking forward to it for weeks, but I became particularly annoyed when a woman sitting in front of me kept wriggling around in her seat all throughout the first half. Thankfully, through my work with a variety of clients and from my mindfulness practise I was able to watch myself getting irritated and reframe my thoughts and experience.

As difficult as it was I chose not to get wrapped up in my own petty and selfish thoughts, I instead focused on how grateful I was to be there, and how nice it was to be around so many people having a good time. Perhaps, I thought, this woman is moving around for a good reason. As it turned out, when the lights came up for the intermission the woman turned around and said “I really hope I’m not annoying you, I have a muscular disease where I can’t sit still and have to constantly move. I can swap places with my friend if it’s upsetting you, I’m so, so sorry”. In that moment I thanked my practise, and did my best to help reassure the woman that everything was fine and I hoped she continued to enjoy the show.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Victor Frankl

MINDFUL EATING FOR THE HOLIDAYS

IMG_0432

Not only are the holidays a lovely time to celebrate and have a change of scenery, they also provide the opportunity to have a shift in gear. As I outlined in my previous post, this is a time of year when emotions run high, so it really is worth taking a moment to decide how you’d like things to unfold. Make sure you look after and nourish your body, as well as your mind along the way.

Looking after yourself does not mean you have to behave like a saint – what it means is avoiding any opportunities to beat yourself up, to feel guilty, anxious, unwell or regretful. Because so many people punish themselves by either over-indulging, or over-restricting during this period, I’ve dedicated this post to helping choose the best way to eat and drink for you.

SIX TIPS

1. Get clear about how and what you want to eat and drink, and if you want to consume alcohol or not. If you adhere to a specific diet for health reasons decide if you want to stick to it, or if you’re happy to deviate. Be honest and make these decisions from a place of love and compassion, rather than fear and control.

2. Commit to your intentions. Once you’re clear about what you want to consume, then commit to that decision. Associate good feelings with your decision and remind yourself of these regularly. If you decide to stick to your dietary needs then the next two points are key:

3. Research and take time to find out what’s on the menu, be it at someone’s house or at a restaurant.

4. Communicate your dietary requirements before the event – I spent years needlessly suffering for fear of upsetting people and being polite. If people make you feel uncomfortable about your needs that is definitely their problem. Do not make your decisions based on what will make other people happy, this will never turn out well – lies, pain, resentment and irritability will likely ensue. You owe it to yourself and to your host to communicate clearly what exactly it is you need so as to not upset any plans on the day.

My food choice suggestions:

  • Fill up on the vegetables and proteins. If you’re a meat eater choose meat close to the bone. Skip the gravy unless it’s gluten-free. If you’re wanting a sweet treat for dessert then choose fresh fruit, dark chocolate or cheese. If you opt to skip dessert then you can go straight to the coffee or green tea to help aid digestion and curb the sugar cravings
  • My beverage suggestions: drink a decent amount of still water with a squeeze of lemon before and after your meal. If you’re not drinking alcohol then honour your decision and stick to it! (any peer pressure to drink comes from insecurity and selfishness). Sparkling water, green tea or freshly brewed black coffee can be good options for a booze free buzz.

5. Avoid the post-booze blues by following my tips on this blog. The main points:

  • Never drink to forget, to hurt, to manipulate, to cope. It’s a better idea to take a sip after you’ve tuned in and found something to smile about and celebrate
  • Choose gluten and sugar-free drink options
  • Drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink
  • Eat nutrient dense food before and after

6. Supplement to support your digestive, immune and detoxification systems. Here are my recommendations

Bonus tip: MOVE!

One of the best things we can do for our bodies is to MOVE. When we move we stimulate and pump the fluids around our body that manage, feed and clean our organs, muscles, skin, nerves, hormones and bones. However you are feeling, go for a walk, do a few stretches, put on your favourite music and dance! Choose whatever you most enjoy – sometimes that’s all you need to do to perk up.

To help you along your way here are 5 exercises to help beat the bloat!

And for a daily and weekly movement guide read more here.

__________________________

I hope these tips hold you in good stead over the holiday period. Please take note and put your needs first! Happy holidays! 🙂

 

Photo credit Matthew Valdr

ORIGINS: OUR ROOTS, OUR PLANET, OUR FUTURE

“Four years, 19 countries, and 24 experts in anthropology, medicine, ecology, and health have exposed the roots of our DNA and how to prevent the modern world from making you sick.” – well.org

This film is informative, thought provoking and well-substantiated. It addresses many of the issues I have written on and am passionate about. I highly recommend you view it while it’s still free to watch.

‘Origins’ addresses the importance of getting back to nature with how we eat, move and exist. It looks into how many unneccessary modern illnesses suffered by humans of all ages are triggered and the multiple different ways they are made worse. These include over-prescribed medical drugs, our disconnect and disrespect of nature, over-sanitised modern living, the glorification of “busy”, and our inability to slow down and tune in to ourselves.

Enjoy “rare access to 38 of the world’s most respected authorities – from Harvard-Trained physicians to natural beauty experts to heads of sustainability councils to board-certified nutritionists and others.” – Origins Deep Dive

 

 

TUNE IN TO WHAT EXERCISE SUITS YOU

IMG_9638

On my previous blog I illustrated the importance of cultivating a way of living that best connects you with your own individual needs. In this post I will outline three ways that help you choose what form of movement best serves you. The ultimate aim is that every day you can instantly tune in to yourself and hear what it is that your body really needs – rest, strength work, a long walk, an aerobic class, and so on.

TIP 1: WHAT IS YOUR INTENTION?

Whether you’ve worked this out or not, here it is – the motivation behind your chosen exercise has to come from a nourishing place. You cannot expect to feel truly content and have long-lasting results in life if you focus on working out to: lose weight / be different / escape thoughts / control your life, and so on. Because these motivations come from a place of fear and lack, you will always struggle and never feel truly satisfied. It is nature’s law to give you what you put out so watch your thoughts.

This is easily remedied!

Simply reframe and change your language. The aim beyond wanting to lose weight, be different and so on is surely to be happy, to feel good, to be content. So why not focus on these words and outcomes over those heavy, negative ones? This simple reframe of language comes from a place of love and abundance, and as such is a much easier long-term motivator.

So get really clear about why you want to move and use encouraging language. Day-to-day you might feel the need for different types of movement, so without judgement or ego make your decision based on what supports your intention.

TIP 2: WHAT DO YOU LOVE TO DO?

To actualise your intention you need to find what it is you love to do. No point saying you want to work out to be happy then make yourself go for an hour long run when you hate running!

So, sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, breathe. Ask yourself: “if I could be anywhere doing any exercise or movement practise, what would I choose? What kind if movement excites and motivates me?”

There is no one perfect movement practise that suits us all, we all have varied needs, just as there is no “one” way of eating, no ideal job, lifestyle, and so on. So opt out of what you think you should be doing and tune in to what it is you love to do – following what feels good will help you move towards the body, relationship, hobby, job that brings you most happiness.

Some things you could ask yourself when finding out what you most love… do you like being outdoors? Do you like taking risks? Are you someone who has steady energy and a lot of physical strength (favouring running, rowing, aerobics)? Are you someone who has bursts of energy but tires easily (favouring yoga, dancing, easy walking)? Do you like to break a sweat? Do you like to train in a hot or cold environment?

After pursuing what you love you should be left feeling invigorated and happy (certainly not utterly spent and in need of pain relief).

TIP 3: DIP INTO YOUR TOOL BOX REGULARLY

There are some fundamental movements that are always good to do as they act like a reset button for when you feel a little off-kilter or are struggling to connect with what it is you need.

RESET NO.1 – BREATHE

Spend at least one minute each day where you sit in a quiet place and pay attention to your breath. You can simply watch your breath or choose from one of the following guided breath patterns:

  • Breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, pause for 1 count, exhale through your mouth for 4 counts. This is great for everything!
  • Before you eat, breathe slowly and calmly in and out through your nose – great for digestion
  • Breathe in and out through your mouth – great energy booster
  • Close off right nostril, inhale through left nostril. Pause. Close left nostril, release right nostril. Exhale through right nostril, inhale through right nostril. Pause. Close right nostril, breathe out left nostril. Repeat. Great to calm down.

RESET NO.2 – STRETCH

Stretching helps us find space in the body which chemically transfers into helping us find space and perspective in our minds. Think of stretching like a full body yawn, an internal massage for your organs and way to connect back to source. If you know what kind of stretches you love to do then go for it! If not, I have outlined below some of my favourite stretches. If you want to learn more about how to most productively find space in your body please read my previous blog Become Elastic here.

  • Get into your feet –  roll the souls of your feet on a tennis ball, sit on your heels, sit on the front of your feet. Find more foot opening tips here.
  • Standing roll downs – Start standing with your arms hanging losly by your sides, inhale fully and on your exhale scoop your belly gently back towards your spine, nod your chin towards your chest and begin to roll down through your spine until you are folded over looking towards your thighs or knees or feet (depending on your flexibility), your arms will hang loosely with your hands gently dropping towards the floor. The aim here is not to touch the floor with your hands but to simply hang and gently allow your tissues to stretch, relax and open. Relax your feet into the floor, bring your weight into your toes, soften your knees, relax your hips, neck, jaw and eyes. Stay here for 5 calm breaths. Take a full inhale and on your next exhale gently bend your knees deeper and tuck your bottom underneath you in order to rely on your legs to help you roll back up again vertebrae at a time unil you are back up to standing. Now turn your palms to face forward then take your arms up the sides of your body, hold your hands together above your head and gently sway your torsos from side to side stretching through your arms, side ribs and waistline. Release your arms down and stand still for 10 breaths.
  • Twist your spine to energise your system and cleanse your organs  – explained here

RESET NO.3 – MOVE QUICKLY!

Sometimes our nervous and lymphatic systems can becomes a bit sluggish or locked into fear and anxiety patterns that interfere with our natural healthy functioning. Our lymphatic system is the fluid system that runs throughout our body – seeking out, fighting off and detoxing any foreign bodies that may cause harm. Without movement this fluid becomes sluggish and less effective at battling off viruses, toxins and disease (imagine murky swamp water) – this can manifest in anything from cellulite, allergies,  fatigue, or hormonal imbalances. Because the lymphatic system runs linearly, when we bounce up and down it affects change in the fluid super effectively. As you move around quickly, imagine the “swamp water” getting diluted and flushed clean with fresh spring water.

  • Run on the spot as fast as you can for 20 seconds
  • Dance
  • Skip
  • Jump on a trampoline (more info here)
  • Stand and simply hake out your whole body!

BONUS TIP: GET OUT IN NATURE

Whenever I am feeling a little lost or out of tune with things I always trust in mother nature to pave the way to better health, happiness, vitality, strength and well-being. She is of course the reigning force which embraces and connects all life-cycles – humans, plants, animals, water, the sun, the moon, genetic expression, evolution, and so on. When we are all tuned and synchronized everything moves and thrives with the least amount of effort. Unfortunately modern lifestyles result in negative brain patterns then wreak havoc on a number of things including our ability to gauge what kind of exercise we should be taking and when. Sadly we have taken it to both extremes with people who train far too hard, fast and frequently, and people who sit all day and still fail to take the stairs on their way home.

This too is easily remedied by getting out in nature – take a slow walk around  your nearest park or green space taking in everything you can see, smell, hear, sense, touch, taste and so on.

HOW TO CULTIVATE YOUR INNER KNOWING

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 1.17.54 AM

Over the next few months I want to really focus on how to cultivate a way of living that best connects you with your own individual needs. I’ll do this through breaking up my posts and centering them around different ways of: exercising and moving, eating and making food choices, communicating and choosing the company you keep, and finding mental peace and quiet. The more you are in tune with your real self, the better you will be able to hear your inner-voice, which ultimately has all the answers we need to live a fulfilled life. It might sound clichéd, but the answers are all inside if we want to listen!

Unfortunately throughout life we learn many ways to block our inner knowing in order to be accepted. If our true expressions don’t fit the norm we learn to stifle or rebel against them. We learn to navigate life by “controlling” our emotions through restriction or over-indulging. When you’re feeling stressed, angry or sad do you sit and allow yourself to feel this so you’re able to listen to what you’re upset about and thus allow it to pass? Or, do you choose to shove it away or numb it with a piece of chocolate cake, a glass of wine, by yelling at your spouse, watching TV, over-exercising, surfing the net, going shopping or going to bed?

Because so many of us are numb to ourselves and our true desires it can be difficult to instantly tune in. Like anything we need to learn to cultivate awareness and this can be done by paying attention to how we move and what exercise choices we make; how we eat and what food choices we make; how we talk to ourselves and to others; what kind of people we attract and relationships we have; how we divide our time and if we choose to dedicate time to wind down and relax or not.

Despite what we are taught, the only way to live a truly fulfilling and happy life is by being ourselves, whatever that may be. Thankfully there are small shifts going on around the world that I hope will continue to evolve and help people realize this – school curriculums are incorporating a broader range of subjects that cater to varied behaviours and ways of learning; the practise of mindfulness and meditation is exploding; mental illness is becoming less stigmatised; younger generations are being encouraged to share their feelings; more minority groups are finding their voices.

In my next post I will talk about different movement techniques you can practise to help you know what kind of exercise best suits you and when. My belief is that movement or exercise must be used as a means for nourishing, healing and strengthening ourselves. It must not be yet another means through which we punish ourselves. Movement is life-giving so I believe everyone must move – I do not promote constant rest (unless you are severely unwell) nor do I believe in pushing our bodies beyond our limits… both of which are fear-based approaches. More on this next time.

“Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.”

– Eckhart Tolle