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  1. fearThe use of fear

    Who would want to use fear you might ask.  It would seems strange to purposefully create a fear in another human being.  Yet it is something that, at least in our culture, we are brought up with.
     
    Think of parenting, using fear as a way to protect a child from harm, yet embedding in them an uncertainty as their very foundation and all they know, their base is put under threat. 'Mind you don't fall; don't go to near the edge, don't burn your fingers, even though not meant to be, are all suggestions of the danger that is waiting to harm safety.  If you read the 'Continuum Concept' by
    Jean Liedoff, you will discover that in some cultures trust rather than caution is used to keep the children safe, still maintaining that wonderful feeling of safeness and security whilst exploring and discovering.  So phrases like 'this is where you balance really well; you know how far to go; its good how you know fire can burn' for instance are much more positive, not taking away their individuality and self preservation instincts. The examples in the continuum concept are even less prescriptive and much more trusting.
     
    So is it any wonder that as a culture and as individuals we are open to being influenced and made fearful by predicted failures insecurities and disasters?
    The worried parent who is fearful that you will not achieve the status they think you deserve, telling you what you have to do or else you will never amount to anything! But it's too late you already are 'something. and the person that you may become might not be everyone's idea of successful but if you are happy ....? or That not very nice husband or boyfriend who has worn you down with predictions of your helplessness and worse if you leave him. His fear of losing what he wants is influencing him to intimidate you.
     
    On a less personal level and prevalent right now politicians who spread fear in the hope of encouraging the masses to listen to them and get them what they want, when the fear is simply based on their opinion and exaggerated at that. 
    They are unable to trust the populace to make their own informed opinion  Difficult when the facts have been so warped from political fear.
     
    We have been brought up to move away from perceived fear and run to protect ourselves.  Yet deep down we know this is not the way.  Look at all the super-heroes that we love to watch.  They go into real danger only, face it and sort it out.  They don't sit wondering what might happen and imagining dangers..
     
    Franklin Roosevelt famously said 
    'The only thing we have to fear is fear itself' 
    Quite right it sabotages and freezes, limits emotions and opportunities.
     
    Makebe this avoidence of fear is why we often like to experience fear in entertainment, watch feaful things happening to others and feel the horror or take part in scary activities that you know are safe and controlled.
    Because our natural instinct before all the indoctrination is to face fear and overcome it - enhileratingly satisfying!
     
    If you can be a little analytical when you hear someone sprouting fear at you then you can begin to be your own super-hero and move away from fear developing your freedom, potential and emotional intelligence.  Asking yourself why they feel the need to attempt to give you that fear. What is in it for them?
     
    So one last fear to think about: Be brave, be happy, make your own decisions and live your life not the one that other people want you to have. Here comes the fear - otherwise you may never really find out who you are.
     
    Andrea Lowe
    Hypnotherapist and Trainer
    Mind and Body
  2. Barry training

    I have been a yoga teacher for about 15 years and in the early days most of the attendees were women. Well I might as well say, all the attendees were women. I can't really remember any men attending in the earlt 2000's. Then around 2010 there were a few men attending with wives and girlfriends mainly from curiosity or compulsion! 

    It's all strangely surprising when you consider that yoga all started with men, for men despite it's notionally being open to all humans. Still for many years it has appealed to women with men often seeing it as the soft option to exercise. Of course those who practice yoga know it is neither of those things. When you've tried some of the core postures you soon realize its not a soft option. Further more it's not strictly an "exercise". It is physical but with a different agenda. 

    Yoga is really about calming the aggitations of the mind through the body. As we know it's difficult to separate the body from the mind. Humans are somapsychic animals and yoga practice gives us the opportunity via a diverse range of postural positioning to work deeply with our muscles and soft tissue to release knots and tension so allowing us to deal better with pains and discomfort and provide a physical environment that allows us also to be mentally comfortable.

    Even if you wish to avoid all the mental, emotional stuff of yoga there are physical bye products such as greater flexibility, toning and strength and more joint stability. This is great for sports people and sportsmen. Ryan Giggs the great Man United player swore it transformed his game and allowed him to avoid injury more and play into his 40's. There are also many other celebrities now turning to yoga both sports and none sports.

    I said about avoiding the mental stuff and you can decide to do that but in reality your body won't let you. Over time regular yoga practice incorporating correct brathing and relaxation will naturally begin to quieten you down and bring greater calmness enabling you to see tensions and callenges coming earlier so you can deal with them and recovering from stress and emotional attacks more quickly.

    In the last few years I've seen an increase in male attendance at classes. Just yesterday the majority of my students were men. Some come for physical reasons such as a compliment to their sport or sports injury recovery. Others to relieve stress from a pressurized job. Still others who are at a crossroads in their life and are seeking to engage better with their inner self - yoga can be "spiritual" but at the very least it is always self enquiring. The increase in male interest in yoga is great because it begins to signal that yoga is a beneficial practice for everyone and can only bring more harmony into the lives of both women and men. 

    Barry Todd (Yog Teacher/Trainer)

  3. - P1010240so .. as I have already planned some exciting dishes for tomorrow which has been cancelled and bought in a lot of the ingredients I have decided to make it tonight and let you into the secret so that you can enjoy it yourself if you want to.

    I love cauliflower and I love curried cauliflower so I have created a dish that is not cauliflower cheese but is a good substitute with a bit more bite.

    ???? And by the way - if you are putting a lot of effort and care into preparing a dish why not make it organic.

    You will need a cauliflower cooked whole and trimmed

    Here is what I did:
    Gently fry some chopped onions and crushed garlic with a chopped red pepper (mine was donated from my friends garden), a little chopped fresh ginger, curry leaves, cumin seeds, a little powdered fennel (not too much as it is really sweet) any other herbs or spices that you feel right.
    Add cashew nut milk and simmer for a while. Blend smooth. Then add some creamed cashew nuts (or any other kind of nut bearing in mind the milk you have used). At this stage I sprinkled a little tumeric into the pot - hence the colout.  Stir until thickened. Season to taste. 
    Put the cauliflower in a dish and pour over the sauce. If you pour it slowly it gives time for the sauce to soak into the cauliflower. It tastes very yummy. Warm or brown in the oven if you need to.
    Let me know if you try it. And those who were expecting to be eating tomorrow I hope this goes some way to compensating.P1010241

  4. ad yoga on lawn1

    In recent years there's been a lot of speculation about how long yoga teacher training courses should be. Perennially, we have had the 200 hour courses. Then some of the yoga associations began proposing 500 hour courses and then almost as an afterthought along came the 300 hour compromise from some yoga schools. Recently, we have been getting suggestions about a 1000 hours! Of course you could always opt for the 30 day fast track style course in some far flung exotic location but who would seriously fancy that!

    So which is right? 

    I'm grasping here for the piece of string concept. There is a belief in learning circles that anyone wanting to become adept at any subject has to be looking at around 10,000 hours of application and of course this would take years. So we are moving towards the idea that the more you do the better you get and that's obvious of course. 

    There are a number of variable factors that ought to be considered when thinking of how long you initially train and what might help project you forward in your progress. 

    My first concern about extended training courses such as the 500 and possible 1000 hour courses is trainee commitment. Even the 200 hour courses can require a full weekend every month for a year with additional attendance for observed teaching practice and maybe assistance work plus added homework. Many of my trainees over the years have missed days and even whole weekends of their course despite signing to full commitment.

    Some prospective trainees also have the hidden belief that a 200 hr course is a softish option and really just about attending the weekends when they can have an interesting interaction with like minded students and practice a bit of yoga with a bit of philosophy thrown in. It really depends on which 200 hour course you do and the syllabus is worth looking at and even asking the trainer what the course work is like and what to expect. Some 200hr courses are superficial and can be a bit like some of those in Australia where many 200 hr graduates are only expected to act as yoga teaching assistants.

    There are 200hr courses that have a lot of depth and where the homework can be more demanding.Its often about striking a balance between exposing trainees to enough (probably 50%) practice and training with methodology and the philosophy, traditions and thinking behind yoga. 

    I insist that trainees do several of their later observed teaching practices with invited members of the public as this gives them a more realistic experience so they don't have to wait till after the course to teach "real people" as opposed to peer group teaching. My trainees are also preparing yoga sequences from month two and teaching their per group from month 3. Where appropriate I also encourage them to start teaching in the community if there is the opportunity and I think they are ready. This will depend on their confidence and early knowledge. Remember, insurance is needed and their students must be informed that they are on a training course and perhaps charge a bit less. In my experience those trainees who can find this opening (not always easy but doable) progress more quickly even if they start the course with less experinec than other trainees.

    Also it's easier to get to grips more quickly with a teacher training course if you have first attended a short (6mnths) Yoga Foundation which is aimed at deepening your practice.

    In conclusion I think the 200hr can be enough to be ready to teach if you apply yourself to the course work and do plenty of background reading while also considering some of the other factors I have mentioned above. It's worth noting that those who embark on a yoga teacher training course will no doubt have been personally practicing for some years and attending regular yoga classes weekly. This should give them a strong start especially if they have been getting their heads into yoga thinking behind the Yoga Sutras and other texts.

    It's courses for horses so to speak and also how you work. Some people just like taking courses all their life. I have heard of someone who has taken no less than 6 yoga teacher training courses and this was while they reamined an assistant teacher! In the end you have to dip your toe in the water and find every opportunity to teach as this is what will make you strong. The course is really to propel you forward to that place.

    Barry Todd (Hatha Teacher and Trainer)

     

  5.  

    relaxswing

     

    WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU DID SOMETHING DIFFERENT???? ....
    Friends I have a challenge for you.????????????????????????????‍♂️????‍♂️????????‍♀️????️‍♂️????️‍♂️????️ 
    How many of you can do something different, stetch your comfort zone, be daring, take a chance .... once a day for 30 days?
    It could be something as simple WEARING ODD SHOES or something you've always wanted to do like PARACHUTE JUMPING (ha ha). Please let us know what you get up to.
    We will be offering some ideas and providing options for you over the period too. Sign up now for the challenge and we'll keep you posted about the things we have thought up for you to accept or not. 
    Just add your name below to show you're up for the challenge and we'll get going.

  6.  

    WHAT HAPPENS ON OUR SPIRITUAL ADVENTURE WEEKENDS
    One of the very best things for us about the retreats is that we have people who we see fleetingly each week for a yoga class and some who come to other activities too or even people that we have never met or who we only see on the retreats each year. We find that it is a time to get to know these people in more depth and when people begin to relax over the weekend their different side begins to come out and we really get to know them well.

    group

    We have people who have been coming to yoga classes for years but on retreat we find a different more relaxed side to them and it really is very fulfilling to experience this and I am sure they would probably say the same about us.

    lawn work

    Each years we have a slightly different set of experiences so here's the story of our recent retreat just to give you an idea.

    We were very fortunate that the weather was fantastic most of the time and we were able to have a yoga session on the beach and an optional swim in the sea which for me I think was the hghlight of the weekend. Some followed by taking a coffee/ice cream in the beach cafe

    beach yoga

    A close runner up for me were the sessions of yoga on the lawns under the shade of the old trees.

    outdoors

    Whenever possible we were outdoors and the only indoor activities were the evening yoga sessions that took place in the atmospheric stone walled chapel and the individual hypnotherapy sessions. It was great to relax to the yoga and then be able to go straight to bed.

    herb labyrinth

    The labyrinth mediation walk was wonderful on the grass labyrinth with bare feet and the pebbly one was a good additional one to try andto smell the bountiful herbs on the way around.. I kept seeing people returning to the labyrinth alone to work some of their aims over the weekend which was great.

    gass labyrinth

    enterainment

    We made use of the marque in the garrden on two evenings. One when we had a professional magic performance and the other was a sing along around a virtual camp-fire (and dance it turns out).

    singing

    Each morning before breakfast there was the option to meditate around the fountain in the grounds, others chose to wander the grounds and explore, others had a lie in.

    magic

    We also had a Qi gong session on one of the lawns which was interesting and a contrast to the yoga

    yoga lan

    We had a sponataneous yoga laughter workshop by popular demand and unplanned, on the lawns. It seems that absence made the heart grow stronger as it was with reluctance that people joined in last year.

    We had a spontaneous peeble art session and left stones to remember our visit.

    The mandala workshop was also very interesting followed by a yin yang yoga session.

    Even the stroll into the nearby village about 15 minutes away was a pleasure as we picked up forgotten essentials and special treats from the local shops.

    yoga in chapel

    It was good to catch up with successful progress of some of the aims and projections made last year on things like the labyrinth meditation workshops and also good to see some people were able to bring problems to the sessions and find solutions. Can't wait for next year to see how they all work out.

    Linz who was offering really reasonably priced therapies sold out and was working untill 10pm some evenings. People were gong back for seconds! we saw so little of her we began to suspect she had sneaked home.

    Last year we had a didgeridoo demonstration as evening entertainment.

     

    Not sure what it will be next year. We will definately be holding an extended version of our regular candlelight meditation evenings which incuded mediation, guided visualisation chanting and mantra for one of the evenings though.

    As we are now offering more days/nights there will be more time to introduce lots of exciting things. So watch this space.

    We already have bookings coming in for next year.....