THE GIFT OF GIVING = Nov + Dec 2018 / Focus of the Month

Our bi-monthly focus for November + December is the Gift and Spirit of Giving.

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As always, I encourage this to inspire and fuel our yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices, to come into our classes, workshops and sessions, and I will certainly keep this focus in mind over the coming months for my own personal practices and life.

Happy November, Happy December – the last two months of 2018 are upon us!

As the end of the year and the holiday season approaches we can often feel the pressure mounting - Christmas (here in Dublin) seems to come earlier and earlier each year! 

Each of us has our own traditions and unique ways of celebrating or marking this time of year (whether practicing a specific religion or not).

Often this means time spent gathering with friends and family. This social time can be full of fun, love and laughter – but it can also be stressful, have us feeling on edge and exhausted.

It may mean spending time on your own over the holiday season (and many people do). This solo time can be peaceful, contemplative, and nurturing - but can be also be lonely, have us feeling down and agitated.

I personally have done the holidays many ways (and for me the holidays means celebrating Christmas and New Years’). I have shared this time with loved ones and I have also spent it on my own due to various life circumstances, as well as by my own choice, travel or deciding to go on retreat. 

The one thing this season has in common for us all, no matter how it’s spent,  is it presents us with both blessings and challenges! 

 

It’s easy to get lost in the fun, frenzy and  feelings and to forget the insights that this time of year and the season of giving can offer to us.

 

It is important to remind ourselves that in giving (to others, as well as to ourselves!) there is a beautiful gift… Giving evokes a spirit of Gratitude.

We naturally express gratitude and thanks when receiving, but there is gratitude in the giving too!

  • Gratitude for having that person to in our life to give to.

  • Gratitude when giving to ourself, being thankful for the ability to nurture and care for ourself.

This Gratitude is the Gift of Giving!

 

An article published by The Greater Good Science Centre at UC Berkley notes the following:

In a 2006 study, Jorge Moll and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health found that when people give, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect.

Other research has found that gratitude is integral to happiness, health, and social bonds. And I would add that gratitude is also integral to connection to ourselves.

Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, co-directors of the Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness, found that teaching college students to “count their blessings” and cultivate gratitude caused them to exercise more, be more optimistic, and feel better about their lives overall. 

A study led by Nathaniel Lambert at Florida State University found that expressing gratitude to a close friend or romantic partner strengthens our sense of connection to that person. 

I would propose that it would also come to reason that expressing self-gratitude also strengthens our sense of connection to ourselves.

Barbara Fredrickson, a pioneering happiness researcher, suggests that cultivating gratitude in everyday life is one of the keys to increasing personal happiness. “When you express your gratitude in words or actions, you not only boost your own positivity but [other people’s] as well,” she writes in her book Positivity. “And in the process you reinforce their kindness and strengthen your bond to one another.”

So, it seems that science agrees with what ancient wisdom has said for millennia, The Gift of Giving is Gratitude!

 

We can look to Pantajali’s Yoga Sutras on how to bring this spirit and gift into our practice and ultimately into our life. 

On the yoga mat in our posture practice and in our meditation and mindful practices we can look to one of the five Niyamas (internal observances) of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, called Santosha.

Santosha is considered an essential and fundamental foundation of yogic practice. 

Often translated as ‘contentment’- Santosha can also be translated, perhaps in a deeper and more useful way, to mean ‘Equanimity.’ 

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Equanimity is a state of psychological mind/soul stability and composure which is balanced and undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, discomfort, or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind/soul.

In essence, from a yogic perspective, Equanimity is the ability to be with what is.

We can practice Santosha (equanimity) in Yoga posture practice by letting go of the desire to attain the perfect looking pose, by working within our current ability and feeling and accepting the experience of the pose as it is without wanting to force or to change it.  

We can apply Santosha  (equanimity) in our Mediation and Mindful practices by noticing our thoughts, feelings, emotions in a given moment, by observing without judging, without criticising or analysis and by acknowledging and accepting whatever arises.

Through cultivating Santosha (equanimity) in our practices we become present in our life to what is actually happening, we become aware of what experience is being given and of what we are giving.

This allows us to take space for the beautiful Gift of Giving and for Gratitude. 

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Wishing you Joy, Fun & Laughter and many moments of Gratitude.

And I look forward to sharing space and cultivating Santosha together over the coming months.

With Love & Blessings

RESILIENCE = SEPT+ OCT 2018 / Focus of The Month

Reminder of our bi-monthly Focus of the Month in case you missed it in or perhaps want to read it again & refresh.

Happy October!

The bi-monthly focus for September + October 2018 is Fostering Resilience.

This will inspire and fuel our yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices, our classes, workshops and sessions, as well as my own personal practices and life!

Resilience is our ability to adapt and bounce back after challenges and difficult times when things don't go as planned or as we had hoped for.

Fostering Resilience allows us to go with the flow, while cultivating a positive mindset, with acknowledgment of where we are and what is happening in any given moment of life. 

Life can be tricky, it moves in a continuous ever-changing ebb & flow. The journey is full of beauty and sorrow, joy and pain, ease and challenge - and we all experience a full spectrum of thoughts, feelings and emotions.

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How we cope with adversity, stress, the good, and the bad affects how we experience our life, and this why that having a resilient mindset, heart and spirit is so important.

It is through our experiences, perspective and how we navigate life that we learn and grow and have the opportunity to connect to each other, to Soul, to Universal energy and the Divine.

There are many practices, habits and attitudes that can Foster Resilience in our life... Yoga, Meditation, Breathe, Mindfulness, Gratitude, Appreciation, Kindness, Intention, Compassion, Empathy, Letting go of judgement, Letting go of criticism, No blame, Taking personal Responsibility, Playing an active role in our life, Commitment, Love... the choices go on and on.

Identifying and adopting what support us in facing challenge and flowing with what is, rather than trying to force what isn’t, builds our ability to be present and is key to fostering resilience, increasing our health and well-being, and ultimately inviting 'be happy feel good' energy into our life!

Over the coming months, I invite us all to practice, to self-enquire, self-reflect and explore building foundations for what Fosters Resilience in our life and in ourselves. 

With Love & Blessings

RESILIENCE = SEPT+ OCT 2018 / Focus of The Month

The bi-monthly focus for September + October 2018 is Fostering Resilience.

This will inspire and fuel our yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices, our classes, workshops and sessions, as well as my own personal practices and life!

Resilience is our ability to adapt and bounce back after challenges and difficult times when things don't go as planned or as we had hoped for.

Fostering Resilience allows us to go with the flow, while cultivating a positive mindset, with acknowledgment of where we are and what is happening in any given moment of life. 

Life can be tricky, it moves in a continuous ever-changing ebb & flow. The journey is full of beauty and sorrow, joy and pain, ease and challenge - and we all experience a full spectrum of thoughts, feelings and emotions.

resilience-training_yogarani_blog_rani sheilagh.jpg

How we cope with adversity, stress, the good, and the bad affects how we experience our life, and this why that having a resilient mindset, heart and spirit is so important.

It is through our experiences, perspective and how we navigate life that we learn and grow and have the opportunity to connect to each other, to Soul, to Universal energy and the Divine.

There are many practices, habits and attitudes that can Foster Resilience in our life... Yoga, Meditation, Breathe, Mindfulness, Gratitude, Appreciation, Kindness, Intention, Compassion, Empathy, Letting go of judgement, Letting go of criticism, No blame, Taking personal Responsibility, Playing an active role in our life, Commitment, Love... the choices go on and on.

Identifying and adopting what support us in facing challenge and flowing with what is, rather than trying to force what isn’t, builds our ability to be present and is key to fostering resilience, increasing our health and well-being, and ultimately inviting 'be happy feel good' energy into our life!

Over the coming months, I invite us all to practice, to self-enquire, self-reflect and explore building foundations for what Fosters Resilience in our life and in ourselves. 

With Love & Blessings

Full Moon Blessings from Rani Sheilagh

Happy August Full Moon!

Those of you who have practiced with me in classes, workshops and sessions will have already heard my thoughts on the full moon and new moon in relation to yoga and meditation - and will know that I love the Moon! and personally resonate with its nurturing energy

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Moon cycles are a useful rhythm and present an opportunity to take time to pause, to reflect and to quietly contemplate what brings us harmony, generates joy and fuels our be happy feel good.

I remind and encourage us all to take time around the Full Moon, this month (26 August) and every month, to invite release and let go of what no longer serves us, to complete what we intended to do and make space for the new.

Let's send our intention to the universe to free any blocks, shift what needs to shift, to put in motion our intentions and empower us in taking actions that manifest our 'highest' aspirations - with gratitude for exactly where we are right now and appreciation for the journey ahead.

Sending Full Moon Blessings, Rani x

LIVING INTENTION = AUGUST 2018 Focus of the Month

* In case you missed our focus of the monthS for July+August (originally posted on 1st July) - Or if you want to read it again, review and refresh  *

The focus for both July + August 2018 is Living Intention & Setting Intentions and will inspire and fuel our yoga and meditation classes, workshops, sessions, and my own personal practices. (Yes, this focus is extending over 2 months)

As we move into July and onwards into August, with relaxed sunny, summer days, it feels like a perfect time of year to consider Intention a little more deeply, to share some thoughts and practical ways we might bring or re-ignite intention in our lives.

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Intentions are a wonderful way to help us stay grounded, connected and to reconnect with what matters to us most.

Inviting an intention into the centre of our mind and our heart space that is in union with our personal thoughts, values and perspective on life is a beautiful way to connect to our own inherit wisdom and guidance.

 

Silently stating our intention(s) at the beginning of our meditation or yoga practice is a great place to start but we can choose any moment to set an intention like when you wake, before you go to sleep, over a coffee anytime that feels right!

I find it most useful and beneficial to make my statement of intentions as clear and as specific as possible.

For me, this means that I often need to take a little bit of time to reflect on what my current personal intentions might be or daydream and allow an intention to come to me - and I usually stay with the same intentions for a good few weeks, months or sometimes longer as feels right for me.

Here are some ‘thought-starters’ that I like to use sometimes and that may help get you started in forming and connecting to an intention:

  • What are you grateful for?

  • What matters most to you right now?

  • What would you like to build, create, nurture or invite in your life?

  • What would you like to let go of? Or Who would you like to forgive in your life?

  • What fears would you like to release?

  • What makes you feel good about yourself?

  • How do you feel when you are your happiest self?

  • What word(s) would you like to align yourself with?

 

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Once our intentions have come to mind and into our hearts, it is important to keep it positive, to state them in the present with us taking an active role in the intention(s).

For example, instead of saying “Stop being a coward” - Say positivley and actively  “I am courageous, brave and capable”

Here are some simple, positive ideas for statement of intentions:

  • I am grateful / I am grateful for…

  • I nourish my body, mind, spirit and soul…

  • I am healthy and able…

  • I invite peace…

  • I invite and attract abundance in all its forms…

  • I am a magnet for miracles…

  • I am perfect just as I am in this moment, that doesn’t mean there is no room for improvement, and there is no contradiction in this.

We can also choose to use simple word or phrases for intentions that we’d like to align ourselves- Here are some examples for inspiration:

  • Balanced

  • Open mind and heart

  • Peace

  • Steady, Calm and Focused

  • I act with courage

  • I embrace change

  • Give and receive Love

  • I allow myself to be vulnerable

  • Connected with others

  • Love

I hope that you find some of these intention setting ideas useful or that they resonate, but most important is that you connect and create something that is personal for you.

We’ve been enjoying such beautiful summer here in Ireland, hope your enjoying this time of year no matter where you are!

And over these coming summer months (in the northern hemisphere), I invite us all to reflect inwards ,to connect, to live everyday with intention – and to invite, allow and manifest in being whatever it is we aspire to that brings joy, freedom and feel good into our lives!

With Love & Blessings 

LIVING INTENTION = JULY + AUGUST Focus of the Month

The focus for both July + August 2018 is Living Intention & Setting Intentions and will inspire and fuel our yoga and meditation classes, workshops, sessions, and my own personal practices. (Yes, this focus is extending over 2 months)

As we move into July and onwards into August, with relaxed sunny, summer days, it feels like a perfect time of year to consider Intention a little more deeply, to share some thoughts and practical ways we might bring or re-ignite intention in our lives.

live-everyday-with-intention-yogarani_julyaug2018.png

Intentions are a wonderful way to help us stay grounded, connected and to reconnect with what matters to us most.

Inviting an intention into the centre of our mind and our heart space that is in union with our personal thoughts, values and perspective on life is a beautiful way to connect to our own inherit wisdom and guidance.

 

Silently stating our intention(s) at the beginning of our meditation or yoga practice is a great place to start but we can choose any moment to set an intention like when you wake, before you go to sleep, over a coffee anytime that feels right!

I find it most useful and beneficial to make my statement of intentions as clear and as specific as possible.

For me, this means that I often need to take a little bit of time to reflect on what my current personal intentions might be or daydream and allow an intention to come to me - and I usually stay with the same intentions for a good few weeks, months or sometimes longer as feels right for me.

Here are some ‘thought-starters’ that I like to use sometimes and that may help get you started in forming and connecting to an intention:

  • What are you grateful for?

  • What matters most to you right now?

  • What would you like to build, create, nurture or invite in your life?

  • What would you like to let go of? Or Who would you like to forgive in your life?

  • What fears would you like to release?

  • What makes you feel good about yourself?

  • How do you feel when you are your happiest self?

  • What word(s) would you like to align yourself with?

 

Intention-Setting-yogarani-ranisheilagh-focusofthemonth.jpg

Once our intentions have come to mind and into our hearts, it is important to keep it positive, to state them in the present with us taking an active role in the intention(s).

For example, instead of saying “Stop being a coward” - Say positivley and actively  “I am courageous, brave and capable”

Here are some simple, positive ideas for statement of intentions:

  • I am grateful / I am grateful for…

  • I nourish my body, mind, spirit and soul…

  • I am healthy and able…

  • I invite peace…

  • I invite and attract abundance in all its forms…

  • I am a magnet for miracles…

  • I am perfect just as I am in this moment, that doesn’t mean there is no room for improvement, and there is no contradiction in this.

We can also choose to use simple word or phrases for intentions that we’d like to align ourselves- Here are some examples for inspiration:

  • Balanced

  • Open mind and heart

  • Peace

  • Steady, Calm and Focused

  • I act with courage

  • I embrace change

  • Give and receive Love

  • I allow myself to be vulnerable

  • Connected with others

  • Love

I hope that you find some of these intention setting ideas useful or that they resonate, but most important is that you connect and create something that is personal for you.

We’ve been enjoying such beautiful summer here in Ireland, hope your enjoying this time of year no matter where you are!

And over these coming summer months (in the northern hemisphere), I invite us all to reflect inwards ,to connect, to live everyday with intention – and to invite, allow and manifest in being whatever it is we aspire to that brings joy, freedom and feel good into our lives!

With Love & Blessings 

CONSCIOUS SPIRIT = JUNE 2018 Focus of the Month

The focus for June 2018 is CONSCIOUS SPIRITUAL PRACTICE and will inspire our yoga and meditation classes, workshops, sessions, and my own personal practices.

As we come into June, summer time vibes fill the air and we often feel more energised and alive.

It is a perfect time to connect to intention and to bring more awareness into our practices, into our thoughts, our words, our actions… and into our Life!

It is after all, intention and awareness that distinguishes a Yoga practice from a physical fitness exercise routine.

Conscious Intention in yoga posture practice or any activity with the wish that it bring you closer to Divine energy, to Oneness and the higher Self is referred to in Sanskrit as sadhana.

In essence, ‘Sadhana’ means ‘Conscious Spiritual Practice' and it is always done with the intention to include others - it is never meant to be self-centred or goal-orientated.

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We can develop our Conscious Spiritual Practice, or Sadhana, through techniques and practices like yoga, meditation and chanting – and we can go further to expand our awareness to reflect Conscious Spiritual Practice into our whole life.

As spiritual beings who are having a human experience, Sadhana is one key to making this human experience an integral part of our spiritual growth and to bringing nourishment into our life.

It is through Sadhana, cultivating Intention and connecting to Awareness that we empower ourselves to re-ignite our inner world and transform our outer world.  

Our Conscious Spiritual Practice offers a direct and personal experience and embodiment that brings us to a knowing that we are all truly connected.

So, this month as we continue to dive deep into ourselves, and embrace our conscious spiritual practice, I invite us all to move with intention and awareness - on and off the mat – and to discover what joy it brings to ourselves and those around us!

With Love & Blessings 

THE BREATHE OF LIFE = May 2018 Focus of the Month

The focus for May 2018 is CONNECTION TO THE POWER & WISDOM OF THE BREATHE OF LIFE, and will inspire our yoga and meditation classes, workshops, sessions, and my own personal practices.

With Spring in the air and Summer around the corner (hopefully here in Ireland too!), it seems like everything is on the move and turning a new leaf this time of year.

This time of year often feels uplifting, but can also find us putting pressure on ourselves to go, go, go and do, do, do! 

And while a spirit of self-motivation, embracing change and taking action can definitely be positive, the feeling that  "I should do" and/or "I have to" can prevent us from taking pause to Just Be! 

By connecting to the power of the breathe, we can take pause and foster connection to support ourselves through the spring/summer transition and change of season.

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In the Yoga Sutras, Pantanjali refers to the 'dimensions of the breathe' or 'Pranayama' as one of the limbs of Yoga and a key foundation.

Pantanjali guide us, saying that by cultivating a solid foundation of breathe, we will lead ourselves to the experience of the steady, continuous 'flow of energy' (or 'prana'), which is beyond or underneath exhalation, inhalation, and the transitions between them.

We already know that our breathe communicates with us and that it reveals our inner energetic, physical and emotional states.

... when we feel sad or down we sigh, when angry we breathe rapidly, in the grip of fear or nervousness our breathing is shallow from the top of the lungs, when we are tired we yawn... you get the gist!

Even knowing this and that the breathe is key, when I am on the go or in the middle of life's ebb and flow, I sometimes need to be reminded to take a moment to listen, to observe and recognise that my breathe is in fact a tool for empowerment (and I'm guessing that I'm not the only one?!) 

It is our breathe that  supports our whole-life experience, our vitalityenergy and steadiness; it is a key aspect that enables us to be present with ourselves and with others and it supports us as we move through and navigate the journey of life.

This month, I invite us all slow down a little bit, to take pause and bring attention to the power of the breathe, as we connect inwards to our wisdom, our life-force, and to breathe our way to feeling good!

With Love & Blessings 

INNER FIRE = APRIL 2018 Focus of the Month

The focus for April 2018 is NURTURING THE INNER FIRE, and will inspire our yoga and meditation classes, workshops, sessions, and my own personal practices.

What I am calling the Inner Fire refers to one of the yogic personal observances (or Niyamas), called ‘Tapas’ – and it is present within all of us!

These fiery, passionate seeds have long been planted within and their fruits are available to us in this present moment.

B.K.S. Iyengar described ‘Tapas’ as cultivating a passion for ‘yoga in action’ that is a determined dedication, and a feeling of aliveness.

He stated “Life without tapas is like a Heart without love.”

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This approach feels positive and helps to inspire and motivate me. 

I hope that it resonates with you, and also rings true that passion and enthusiasm bring joy, meaning and fun into our lives!

It is our Inner Fire that supports self-esteem, self-worth and confidence; it is a key aspect that enables us to accept others and embrace new experiences and it supports our evolution and growth as we move through the journey of life.

So, this month, I invite us all to connect, to bring focus and attention to our Inner Fire, or Tapas.

Through mindfully awakening core passion, let's release and allow the ‘burning away’ of that which does not serve, and connect to our internal light, to our creative nature and energise body, mind, spirit and soul... and Shine Bright!

With Love & Blessings 

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INNER SEEDS = March 2018 Focus of the Month

The focus for March 2018 is PLANTING INNER SEEDS for growth, acceptance, release and resilience and will inspire our yoga and meditation classes, workshops, sessions with private clients, and my own personal practices.

The month of March marks the beginning of Spring, a season of freshness and planting seeds.

The days can be crisp, but begin to become brighter and Springtime sunshine breathes life back into the flowers, trees and wildlife that surround us.

We often feel an internal sense of renewal during this time as well, and welcome the brightness and lightheartedness of Spring.

This is the ideal time to bring focus internally and dig a little deeper into ourselves.  

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The energy at this time of year presents the opportunity for taking pause to look inwards and to embrace our authentic Self with appreciation for the journey that has brought us to where we are in this moment.

Taking time to look within and acknowledge the diverse, beautiful, unique and colourful tapestry that make us who we truly are, connects us to our internal workings and inner environment, and to the very centre of ourselves.

When we are willing to dig deeper and reflect past superficial levels of how we define ourselves, we can let go of any inner talk that does not serve and allow ourselves and others to bloom freely!

By connecting mindfully with focus and awareness to Planting Inner Seeds we enable personal evolution, we invite ease and we develop our resilience in the ever-changing ebb and flow of life.

Our March focus will see have us looking inwards to connect, root & ground and breathe, while inviting release and gently awakening into the central energy and very sense of our being.

So, I invite us all to journey, to practice and to live with a spirit of gratitude, appreciation and celebration. 

And to be supportive and kind to yourself and to others... and enjoy blooming along the way!

With Love & Blessings