Lets talk about community………………I’ll let you into a little secret, a loving, nurturing and resilient community can help heal a lost soul. Your lost soul. Yep thats it, community is everything. It can shine a light on your deepest desires, confront you with your scariest shadows, hold your hand through the toughest of times, be your biggest support and cheerleader, honour your space of growth and even occasionally water your seeds of dreams when you are unable to. They wont let you down and they sure as hell wont let you give up on your self. I have tears running down my face writing this, because I’m not just writing this from a book I’ve read or a post I liked on social media, I’m writing this from a place deep in my heart. A place thats has been lost for to long a time. Why share this piece of vulnerability with you? because I know now, that I’m not the only person to feel this way, especially when it comes to community amongst women. All to much do I see women including myself, dumb down or suppress their femininity, in order to become harder and stronger in this prominently masculine world. Being successful is often thought of as dominance, notoriety and winning. If you take a moment to breath deep and connect with your heart, ask yourself, what does success mean for you? A whole multitude of things could come up from this, its a pretty big question and everyones answers will be different, but the chances are your thoughts don’t include causing pain and suffering in others, or to make anyone feel less than because of what you think is right. If you had it your way, your path to success would be of learning, growing and loving in a thriving community where everyone is able to follow their dreams whilst in the love and support of the men and women around them. There are no feelings of lack or not enough to go around. The abundance of this planet provides for every single one of us, we all have the space to plant our seeds of dreams and create the perfect conditions for them to grow in. It can seem so far away from your experience right now, but I’m here to say, that it doesn’t need to be like this. There are changes happening right now, right this moment, another woman is experiencing and receiving a gift so powerful, so much bigger and brighter, that her heart fills with so much love and high vibration. She feels the change as a force greater than herself, she knows now, it is the time for her to let down here walls of fear and walk out into this world as a woman of the earth, a woman who embraces all that she is, a guiding light for others to see her, join her and truly bring change into this world. The importance of creating balance between the masculine and feminine, is so important right now and it takes every one of us to step up and be their own voice of change in their communities around the world. Great leaders listen to the voices of all their people, great communities are built in the same way.
After having a reiki session a couple of years ago, one of the insights she received was to tell me to ‘not be scared of the dark’ I explained to the reiki practitioner I was having anxiety about living in Norway during the winter. She then went on to share her own experience of living in the north Canadian winters. Her dive into depression and even questioning her life. All of this depression and anxiety seemingly coming from no where but having a potent and harming affect on her wellbeing. It made me look back to the prior winter I had experienced, where my depression and self doubting were at their highest. I spent my days off in bed crying inconsolably and unknowing why I was so sad. The frustration made it even worse, when I couldn’t even give a realistic reason to why I felt that way. It put strain on my relationship and I didn’t know how to help myself. Its bitter sweat now, as the darkest times were what pushed me to do something about my wellbeing. I booked my yoga teacher training that winter, to be in a tropical country for the next winter to come. Just booking the training instantly gave my brain a boost of happiness. Knowing that I had put my foot down and made a decision that would unknowingly change my life forever.
Having had time to recollect on my experience and just listening to others, depression, no matter in what form is completely normal. It’s a state of being that all of us at some point in ours lives encounter. It can last hours, days, months, years. Its something we can’t avoid but instead we can change our perception on how to move through it and learn from the experience. Depression is often said to be your body talking to you, telling you something needs to change. To truly feel great happiness you must also feel great pain, they are one of the same and we can only strive to accept them as flow states forever morphing between the two. Learning to feel gratitude to all moments in life, as they will inevitable bring us deeper into our existence.
The tips I will go on to write about are routines or rituals that I use and have been helpful to my rising wellbeing. I’m native English so grow up with wet miserable winters, now I live in the mountains of Norway, where winter is on a whole new level. Some of these hacks are things I do daily, weekly or once a month. You don’t need to do everything at once, more like keeping all these goodies in mind for when you feel a little down or you just feel like it.
Coming back to the reiki practitioner story, she sat with me after the treatment and gave me her best advice to what helped her ( apart from her moving to live in a tropical country, but we can’t all do that) and this leads me nicely to my first tip for self care during winter…………….
Full spectrum light
I use my full spectrum light as soon as I wake up. I drink a big glass of water sitting in front of it, often I stay and meditate there for 5-20 minutes. I’m sitting about 30cm away from the light for roughly the recommended 30 minutes. If you live somewhere where you don’t see natural bright light in the mornings, the full spectrum light could help trigger your body into experiencing the same effects of natural bright light. It has helped me feel more invigorated in the mornings, whereas before I would struggle feeling groggy and be slow to wake up. There is some really interesting info about light in the article tagged here. Light
This is a traditional Ayurvedic ritual called garshana. Gently brushing your skin toe to head, with a bristle brush. The idea being that you brush towards the heart, to help stimulate the blood flow. I have been pretty consistent with this one, as I really enjoy the benefits. I use a long handled dry brush, think I bought it in Boots. I also like to mix an essential oil into some coconut/almond oil and put a few drops on the brush, I particularly love using cardamom oil, rosemary oil or silver fir around mensuration. Its best done in the morning or before you shower/bath. It’s a great way to wake up and does wonders for the lymphatic system, boosts mood and leaves your skin silky soft. Depending on your skin type, I dry brush 4-6 times a week. It’s not recommended for people with skin irritations or damaged skin. Check the link below for more info on dry brushing and why you should give it a go. Drybrushing
Ramp up your moisturising routine
I have fair skin and so the cold dry winters are not my best friend. Dry flaky skin and cracked lips are no fun. Its taken me a while to actually find a skin care product that I feel good buying. So I advise trying out different brands and researching what products our out there for your skin type. Especially if you are looking for ecological natural skin care. At the moment Im using Rudolph. I love to follow http://livingprettynaturally.com/ she has a ton of information on her website, I definitely recommend checking her out for good quality natural brands. I’m also starting to learn about essential oils, for mood, health and skin care. I’ve been adding a drop of rosemary oil to my daily moisturiser for an extra boost. Organic Rose otto is also great for a natural organic moisturising toner, I find this website extremely informative, if you would like to know more about the benefits and history of hundreds of oils. Oils
Its pretty much the Norwegian version of Hygge, that the Danes are so famous for. So, basically making your home cozy af. Lighting Candles, twinkly lights, warm blankets, big cups of hot tea, reading books by the fire, oh and changing bed covers is the best. Anything that creates nostalgia, or the feeling of coziness and warmth. It could also be inviting friends/family over for a home cooked meal with a bottle of red and later on playing silly board games. The point being to not be alone all the time, make sure you spend time with people you love and enjoy their’er company. It helps a million to spend an evening belly laughing so hard you nearly pee yourself.
Having a sacred bath/shower ritual that leaves you feeling all kinds of amazing
For all you people out there that have baths, you can totally go to town on creating a goddess worthy bath experience. Your favourite music, candles, scented bath oils, crystals, incense, scrubs, masks, rose petals, the perfect beverage to sip on and reading a good book. I could go on. Go nuts. If you are like me and don’t have a bath, then don’t despair, showers can also be goddess worthy experiences. You can still set the scene the exact same way you would for a bath, maybe whirl some palo santo around and dry brush with your favourite oil before you hop under the shower. As the water hits your skin visualise the water cleansing away the day. You can even play with hot and cold to give you an exhilarating boost. Bathritual
No matter how cold it looks. Make sure you are actually wearing warm enough clothes for the weather. Moving to Norway introduced me to actual warm, weather proof clothes.
I had obviously never worn woollen thermals and dune jackets before growing up in England. But if you’re not wearing the right clothes or footwear, your chances of actually being able to enjoy being out in the cold are much less likely. Wrap up and go for a walk or even a run, you’ll be surprised with how warm you get from the movement and you get to be out in nature, which is always good for the soul and releasing endorphins. JonnaJinton for some truly inspiring nature loving.
Eat warm and nourishing foods
If you like stews, curries and soups, winter is great for these types of meals. Food is pretty personal, so I wont say too much, just follow your intuition with what feels good to you. Get into your herb and spice cabinet and get creative. It can be easy to consume a ton of carbs in winter trying to feed your satisfaction, but try adding more veggies, seeds and nuts as they also give a great nutritional boost whilst keeping you feeling satiated. Pintrest is my fav go to, to find inspiring recipes. I also recommend getting a routine for breakfast, having all the ingredients stocked up for the week, so that you don’t run out mid week. Eary morning trips to the shops are no fun in the cold and dark. I make a smoothie most mornings but as the weather gets colder I will add a bit of hot water to bring the temperature up. Cold smoothies in the winter can be harsh on your digestion, so brining it up to room temp can be much more pleasant.
After Ive had a large glass of water first thing, I make my morning coffee with our Aeropress . I add my FourSigmatic 10 mushroom blend and adaptogen blend and mix it all in with a little bit of coconut oil topped up with OatlyKaffe. This combination is heavenly and the clarity and boost I get from this elixir is vital to my morning wellbeing.
Get moving and sweat
move your body enough that you sweat, and if appropriate use a sauna. I know that not everyone enjoys the feeling of sweating, but its an incredible way for your body to release and dare I say it, detox. Go take a spin class, kick boxing or hot yoga. If you’ve had a day from hell and your tense and tired, go find a sauna, drink plenty of water and just sweat it all out. If you are lucky enough to have a sauna at your yoga studio, get all warmed up then float away in a restorative or yin yoga class, by the end of the class winter will feel so far away. Love to sweat
I’am a ski instructor during the winter and although it might be an active job, I rarely break a sweat, so my amazing boss and friend has come up with these awesome winter workouts, check @proskicoach on instagram for the perfect, quick workouts, especially designed for skiers. Proskicoach
Discover your bedtime routine made for dreams
This one Is a big one. If there is one thing I cherish with all my heart, its getting 8-10 hrs sleep and preferably being in bed by 10pm. Now a lot of people would laugh out loud at this and say its impossible. I take sleep hella serious. If you haven’t tried sleeping 10pm-7am consistently for 4-6 weeks, then I urge you to try it and see how you feel. And of course if that’s just not gonna work for you, then aim for something that is regular and gets you at least 6 hours. Bring ritual into your bed time. Mentally and physically prepare yourself for bed. I like to make a turmeric latte, maybe an hour before bed, its like a signalling that bed time is soon. Maybe you and your partner take turns massaging oil into your feet/hands or back whilst lying in bed, you get to relax and catch up on each others days all at the same time. Delve into a good book and wrap up under the covers. Get a salt lamp and relax with the golden glow. If you have trouble getting to sleep, download a meditation app like Insighttimer. press play on a guided sleep meditation or my favourite, yoganidra. Game changer, there is so many to choose from and they are free. Learn more about sleep with Matthew Walker, the man who has written ‘Why we sleep: The new science of sleep and dreams’ check it out. Sleep
Thank for reading xxx
I can’t tell you exactly how I ended up with 15 enchanting women, at a beautiful mountain retreat in the magical surroundings of Norway. I had, had butterflies weeks up to the training, I had even in a conversation with the organiser, said that I somehow knew this would be a memorable week full of magic. Little did I know what was to come.
For the last couple of years, I had found myself struggling to find my voice and speak from a place of wholeness. To often I would experience that feeling of not being able to communicate my thoughts and character. It could feel like a frog in my throat or a heaviness in my heart. It started to happen more often than not and that lead to my self confidence and happiness to become less and less.
Confusion and frustration set in and I would often find my self living in a non reality. I would relive my past, thinking what if and look to the future and plan for good and bad fortune. My outer pain was taking me away from what was the inner me. The walls I was putting up around me were slowly getting closer.
I truly believe that what you put out into the universe comes right back at you. To pull myself back to the now I put in place the manifestation of finding my tribe. Ive spoken about togetherness before and this is exactly what I needed. People may wonder how I found this openness and trust to explore different perspectives of life and the universe, but I strongly believe that their is only truth in what you have experienced. The world is uncertain and forever changing, so whatever you experience is true or your truth. I see the world in colour, so the idea of things being black and white doesn’t seem quite right.
As soon as Jana Roemer initiated the beginnings of our journey, my heart was already listening intently as if someone had just turned up the volume. You know you’ve become part of something transformational when the women sharing her knowledge and experience, is so full of passion and pure love its radiating out of her and into the room. The pieces of my life so far were all starting to come together.
We were doing Yoga Nidra twice a day, morning and night, the rest of the day was spent in lecture, learning the science behind Nidra and different perceptions of its capabilities. I was fascinated and also finding my brain making connection after connection with what was being said. Our brain is truly amazing, but its so obvious to me now how we over think and use the brain to self sabotage. How many times have you listened to that voice in your head retelling an old story. How often does a hidden trauma as a child or younger version of your self, re appear disguised as a new fear.
Trauma often comes along with its own set of emotions. Those emotions are forever linked to that trauma as long as you let it run the same patterns over and over again. Have you ever noticed that different emotions have different breath patterns? If your angry you maybe hold your breath and tense, if your crying you gulp the air down uncontrollably. When your diaphragm works properly its signals your body to be in parasympathetic rest. The breath needs to feel the body is a safe place to travel, so when you are fully in your body, it will not release stress hormones but instead initiate healing you from the inside.
Every time you experience Yoga Nidra your inviting yourself into parasympathetic rest. Allowing your body and mind to be in a completely safe space. With the idea of letting the mind and body drift into deep sleep, you are left with the awareness of your consciousness. At this point the universe is your oyster……I guess this is where your experience is the only truth, no two Nidra’s are the same and the ever lasting affects aren’t always apparent until its time. Its a journey into to your inner self, the closer you get, the endless universal possibilities become heart openly apparent.
So if this hasn’t at the very least jumped your curiosity I hope that one day your sub conscious mind will remember this post and lead you to take your first Yoga Nidra. And if you looking for another reason to try, just 30 minutes of Yoga Nidra is as much as 2 hours of deep delta sleep. Your pretty much guaranteed to awaken a lighter more rested you.
And I will leave you with some words I wrote during the training.
Never limit your beliefs, dreams or capability of love. When you can realise this, pour loving intention into everything you do. This power alone can change your inner world. There is nothing greater than being your highest self.
I crave togetherness and not just in the sense of a loved one but with a whole community or you could say the whole world. I wish and dream to be part of something where people live with their hearts wide open lovingly and vulnerably.
At the heart of everything I do is this core desire. Its what sets my heart on fire to see people come together, communicating and letting go of all hidden agendas. Letting their open hearts guide them to pure joy and ecstasy. Isn’t that what all human life truly lives for???? To me it symbolises peace and resting, leading to an abundance of inspiration and creativity. People automatically light up and become full of life when togetherness occurs. And yet we are all afraid maybe even overwhelmed by this simplistic idea.
I guess togetherness means we would have to release our ego’s and invite our higher self to embrace all with uncertainty. Our resistance to letting go of the ego holds us back in so many ways. I imagine our minds walking around in a dark room, always walking in the same circular pattern, the safe and trusted way we have learned. If we let our intuition our higher self join us in the dark room, all of a sudden we would brake the old pattern and find a new way. Reaching out to the walls we would find the light switch that would fill the room with light and show us to the door which leads us to somewhere new.
I like to put it as ‘taking intuitively guided risk’ the idea isn’t that its all rainbows on the other side, more that you don’t get stuck reliving old patterns dressed up in new ways. Find the door and walk through into the unknown. We are made to flow and be life living. Every time someone walks through a new door a thousand new possibilities are born.
We create when we trust and let be.