{My first} Meditation.

We hear the words’ oh you must try meditation’, ‘meditation, is so good’… etc, often. Especially if we are stressed it’s quite common (well for me and the world I live in) to hear these recommendations, about the greatness of meditation.

‘The purpose of meditation is personal transformation.’ Henepola Gunaratana

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Surprising as it may or may not be, I’m the type or personality that simply thinking of sitting still for 20 whole minutes simply petrifies me,

Although of course Ive done the research, heard the ‘meditation changed my life’ stories, I simply resisted it. Perhaps a sign I needed it. However I do know I’m not the only person to feel this angst when it comes to practicing meditation. Is it because it’s hyped up to be something you do for enlightenment, the monks practice mediation several times a day? Is it because you are meant to not think??? (this is my issue). Is it because it seems to crazy, hippy, for lack of a better word.

‘Meditation makes the entire nervous system go into a field of coherence.’ Deepak Chopra

For myself, mediation looks sacred. It looks like there is an art, I mean who can sit for 20 minutes without thinking thoughts of what they are about to eat, what they have to do that day, what did he really mean in the text…It looks hard.

Mediation with all its glory and benefits is simply focusing on the breath. Learning to focus your intention and thoughts on one thing, this is called focused mediation (there is also mindful meditation, simply sitting and being aware of your environment with no reaction). It really is simple (not always easy, as its natural your monkey mind will try to distract you, but the practice itself is simple).

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‘Meditation is all about the pursuit of nothingness. Its like the ultimate rest. Its better than the best sleep youve ever had. Its a quieting of the mind. It sharpens everything, especially your appreciation of your surroundings. It keeps life fresh.’ Hugh Jackman

Today, I practised my very own {guided, from an app called Omvana} 20 minute practice…for the first time ever!!! And it was amazing!!! I was sitting, smiling, peaceful and content. What I also loved about this particular guided mediation was the 6 phases it went through, including gratefulness, visualisation and release (these are all the things I do promote daily).

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I must admit I had set myself an intention to practice every morning (as I’m taking time off from my morning cardio to get more sleep and balance my hormones/sugar cravings), which I have failed at. I practised once on Tuesday with a 5 minute guided meditation and now today with 20 minutes. Still twice is better than nothing.

‘Meditation is the life of the soul: Action, the soul of mediation; and honor the reward of action.’ Francis Quarles

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Next week, Im going to start with 5 minutes every day (making a commitment after todays experience), hoping that this will lead me into 10 minutes, 15, then 20 per day (some people do recommend 20 minutes 2 x per day, but remember it is your life, its about what works for you). As you may know by know, I am a big believer of what we think, we become and our thoughts create our world…so why not start planting seeds of positivity, of love, of happiness in your mind with a morning meditation everyday? (I used to use my morning movement/cardio time for this).

So whilst we can make excuses such as I don’t have time (genuinely a sign you need to get to practice), I don’t know how (find a class or download an app or simply sit still and focus on your breathing), meditation is the greatest secret of all. Being able to actively create light within your body/mind/heart, to release negative thoughts and replace them with love, to be able to commit to a practice that is a beautiful act of self-love but also love for humanity… why aren’t you meditating?

‘If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, you get in touch with the soil, the rain, the sunshine. You get in touch with Mother Earth and eating in such a way, you feel in touch with true life, your roots, and that is meditation. If we chew every morsel of our food in that way we become grateful and when you are grateful, you are happy.’ Thich Nhat Hanh

Benefits:

Connect to your sense of Purpose in Life

Create a sense of calm, contentment and belonging

Increase mental clarity, focus and concentration
Develop a more flexible and balanced mind
Improve overall Mental Fitness
Reduce Anxiety and depression
Connect to your Creative Potential
Overcome restlessness and inability to pay attention
Increase your ability to deal with Stress while developing a calmer less volatile mind
Gain a better understanding of life and how to make the most of it

Even Oprah & Deepak Chopra have created collab magic with their 21 day Meditation Experience {because we know it takes 21 days to break/create a habit}.

‘Dedicating some time to meditation is a meaningful expression of caring for yourself that can help ou move through the mire of feeling unworthy of recovery. As your mind grows quieter and more spacious, you can begin to see self- defeating thought patterns for what they are, and open up to other, more positive options.’ Sharon Salzberg

Why not give it a try?

Love & light, Charlie x.

Off to have the amazing day Ive already visualised.

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Connected; under the starlight…

Last night I did something I havent done for a while, something that makes me truly appreciate the world we live in.

‘Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better’. Albert Einstein

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I took some time to lie and star gaze. What a beautiful sensation. Allowing the cool breeze to caress my skin, my thoughts to come and go, and just to be quiet and lie, still.

{Look how they shine for you}

When was the last time you connected with nature?

Nature heals. This is true. You only need to sit quietly with her to realise this.

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I know that a cure for insomnia nad anxiety is to walk barefoot on the grass. Why? Because you feel connected, or the new term for this practise is ‘earthing’. We all want to feel connected to something, to the people around us, the world we live in and ourselves. But sometimes life gets in the way.

“The earth has music for those who listen.”  George Santayana

As I lay gazing up at the night sky, open to whatever thoughts I had…I looked at the stars in wonder.

Some shine bright…so bright that you almost think they are the only stars there. Then as you train your eye, as you look deeper, you can see the other stars shining, perhaps not so bright, but they are there. Then if you know constellations, you can start to connect them all.

‘Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.’ Anne Frank

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In a philosophical manner, I saw this as seeing some of my own qualities/shining brightly as my strengths, other qualities/the ones I have to search for my not so strong points, but they were there, and they all connected to make me the person I am today. I truly felt the essence of the statement ‘everything you need is within you’. The stars/qualities I had to look for are an essence of the qualities I am searching for within myself to find strength and trust.

I also contemplated the stars like life, like people. Some people shine brighter than others, so much so, they are all you see at first glance. But, as you adjust your eyesight/personality and own life, you start to realise there are so many other people/oppourtunites, that are there, sometimes not shining so bright or getting attention, but they are there. And we are all connected.

I felt myself connected. I felt appreciated. I sent love to my family who I miss every day of my life. I let go of all my worries. I just lay in the darkness, underneath the starlight, breathing.

It was only more perfect when I realised that yesterday was earth day.

‘I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.’ Helen Keller

 

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For no matter how ‘busy’ you get…it is imperative that you make time for the things that matter most.

‘Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished’ Lao Tzu

Love & light, Charlie x.

Yes, I am a dreamer, I live in my own reality and I like to think about things deeply. I think its important to take time to be still.

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Sunday Self Love; SLOW down

With so much change occurring in my life; taking the leap to work for myself doing what I love, I have been filled with so much excitement and nervously (graciously) overwhelmed with disbelief about how quickly it is happening for me. I’ve been finding it hard to return to myself, to be calm, and be still.

‘You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside’.

IMG_0110I was lucky enough to be invited to attend a master class with Nicole Walsh (absolutely amazing and accredited with years of experience) at Flow Athletic today (perhaps the owner Kate knew I was needing it 😉

After a morning working away at my love/hate affair with In design (trying to get the images for the second book edit complete), I was well aware I needed a break. Research shows you are productive for a period of no longer than 90 minutes, then its best to walk away and do something else (this can be hard to do when you feel the pressure of a deadline/to do list). In fact professional musicians and athletes alike will train intensely for this period of time, rest then return and train/practise again.

I decided I needed the well deserved break and the master class; unwind & let go (even the name sounded exactly perfect for what I was needing) was a perfect reason for one.

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As we were welcomed by Nicole, I couldn’t help but be in awe of this beautiful woman, she had something inside of her, a warmth, kindness, love that radiated out. There was an instant feeling of calm being in her class, and as she mentioned that we wouldn’t be doing any intense asanas (a slight sigh of relief on a sunday afternoon), but we would be returning to the breath, to calm our nervous system and be still.

I wasnt quite sure what to expect, 2 hrs of breathing? I must admit, I have  been dedicated to my yoga practice (5 x per week for 2 whole weeks! Yes, a little proud) I was nervously anticipating the 2 hr class, I wasnt to sure how I would actually manage (I was feeling slightly sore after personal training the day prior).

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Nicole opened the class with a humming breathing technique; Bhramari Pranayama (Bee breath). I’ve never practised this, or heard of it before, but my goodness, how pretty, it felt so soft on the throat, and so soft on the ears.

As Nicole guided us with her gentle voice through gentle asanas (postures), we were reminded to return to the breath at all times. In a way of meditation; mediation does not mean to not think, (you can never not think, but it means to focus your thought and be aware), so always returning our focus to the breath whilst feeling the body relax (sometimes breathing into the fire/stretch) and wind down.

The  class was over before I knew it! There was a relaxation period to promote Yogic sleep, and Im still unsure if I fell into this yogic sleep (not actually asleep) or if I actually fell completely asleep.

‎”The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind & the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar

When I left the class it felt as though I was floating on air, (even thought it was an earthing/grounding class), I felt a certain freedom, perhaps as though the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders, I was present in the moment and it felt like I was free.

“Yoga takes you into the present moment, the only place where life exists.”

Todays self-love remember to be calm. To be still can be as effective as to be chaotic/busy trying to get things done. In actual fact, spending some time rewarding your mind-body and soul works in a regenerative manner, and can benefit that ‘to do’ list you feel is weighing you down.

IMG_0190Take some time out. Your body, your mind will love you for it (and we love a little self loving)

Love & light, Charlie x.

If you would like to try yoga, my suggestion is find a good studio, I LOVE www.flowathletic.com.au

If you would like to be inspired and do a little more, follow Nicole:

http://www.inyoga.com.au

Thank you Nicole & Kate for having me in class x.

‘The attitude of gratitude is the highest yoga’ Yogi Bhajan

 

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Your Wellbeing (6 easy steps)

Happy Friday beautiful people!

After 2 long weeks of work, I am starting to feel exhausted and definitely ready for a little ‘me’ time tomorrow. At times life gets busy, we tend to forget about the little things that contribute to our wellbeing. So today, as I have been reminding myself all week, I thought I would share a little reminder with you…after all it is the little things that matter.

1. Smile more

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Have you ever had those days were life has just been ‘good’, brilliant even? And you find yourself walking around seemingly in a daze, radiating positive energy and maybe with a small smile on your lips or a twinkle in your eye…those days tend to get better and better. You attract what you give. So SMILE. Share yourself with the world, and as the saying goes, smile and the world will smile with you. I have recently tried this myself, smiling at every person over for the duration of a day. Most likely many thought I was some kind of crazy, but on the rare occasion the smile was returned, and my day got brighter. Try smiling to the people who my be assisting you with a frown, to the random stranger that smiles at you, even to ‘that’ person who is perhaps agitated with you (think road rage, customers etc).  Even on the phone to the customer service teams we all dread dealing with.

Smiling and being nice will get you everywhere.

2. Drink more water9

 

How much water are you drinking daily? I personally struggle drinking 2L per day and am constantly reminding myself…water…drink it. Water is essential for our bodies as we are anywhere from 55% – 78% water (interesting, the brain is 90% water, muscles 75% and blood 82%), It is imperative we stay hydrated as water carries oxygen to our cells. Perhaps you are a chronic migraine or headache sufferer? Many times, this will be due to dehydration rather then anything else. Water can assist in preventing fluid retention (that awful occurrence on my problematice areas). Keeping your fluids up will also help provide a feeling of satiety for longer, hence why some claim water can aid in fat loss. Water is also a natural cleanser and detoxifier for our bodies (and we all need a little help in removing toxins).

 

3. Get moving

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Every little bit counts and there is NEVER a good excuse not to move your body! There are so many wonderful reasons why exercise and movement is good for us. Lets start with weight loss. Exercise assists any weightloss program and will improve the quality of the muscle. More muscle, burns more fat (actually, muscle burns 3 x as much ATP/energy as fat). Exercise releases Endorphins; the happy drug. Endorphins make you feel good (so get moving NOW). Regular exercise decreases the risk of serious health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Exercise is essential for brain health, muscle strength and nutrient delivery.
It doesn’t matter what you do, just do somethingeveryday. Create a healthy habit. you might surprise yourself and ENJOY it.

YOU earn YOUR BODY.

 

4. Restrict processed foods

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Nutrition can be so confusing. So lets make it simple.

*Fresh IS best. (Organic is even better). NBB: Add in as many green vegetables as you like.

*Stop eating processed, refined foods. NBB: Be REAL not FAKE.

*Say no to the white powders; Sugar, white flour, artificial sweeteners. These act like a drug in the body.

*Eat unlabelled food. If there is a label, if you cant pronounce an ingredient, Don’t eat it.

*Don’t drink your calories. NBB: Swap for Green tea.

*Quality vs quantity.

‘Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food’. Hippocrates

 6. Be grateful (every day)

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Wake up each morning with an attitude of gratitude. be thankful for everything you have in your life, right now. Appreciate the present moment, stop reminiscing over yesterday, planning for what tomorrow will be, be thankful for the here and now, the very moment you are alive, breathing and living your life. You have so much to be thankful for.

‘Gratitude opens the door to…the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the universe. You open the door through gratitude’. Deepak Chopra.

7. Slow down. Just breathe

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Take a moment to stop. Breathe deeply and release. The power of the breath has been researched for years, and the benefits reported are many. But all you really need to do, is stop right now, breath in deeply, slowly, controlled, fill your lungs up with as much oxygen as possible and slowly release. Repeat x 10. Take a moment, do it now. The sense of calm that washes over me is like a sense of euphoria. When life gets busy, when I think I could be about to react. I breathe. Try it. Something so simple, but it works. Practising breathing techniques is also a great healthy habit to get into before sleep, to appreciate the stillness and sense of calm.

Hope you enjoyed these small healthy habits. Health is not hard. Just start doing something good, everyday and you are on your way to wellness.

Love & light, Charlie x.