Tag Archives: yoga

In a Vase on Monday: be present with yoga

“Calming the mind is yoga. Not just standing on the head.” Swami Satchidananda

This week, despite the heat in Manchester, I’ve done quite a bit of gardening in the evenings, when most of our North facing garden is in the shade.  I notice my mood is better if I’ve spent time outdoors, especially pottering around and watering the plants.  I’ve rationalised my plants into bigger pots, pushed together so that I can water everything I need to and bigger pots retain the moisture.  It’s also the first summer I’ve watered shrubs in the garden. It takes me about half an hour to water the pots (with a watering can and water from the water butts).  We have had so little rain here – and the temperatures have been in the high 20s for a couple of months.  Also, I’ve put succulents, sedums and drought tolerant plants in my hanging baskets.  Gardening helps me be mindful – as does yoga.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

7 August 2018 – posy of sweetpeas, lavender and dianthus – with The Book of You and a Be present yoga print

How yoga helps my mind, body and spirit

I’ve been practising yoga, on and off, for about 12 years, starting completely by accident.  A friend of mine had a pal who was learning to be an Iyengar yoga teacher so needed people to practise with.  It was right next to work, straight after work so it seemed a good thing to do. It changed my life.

When I was younger I had poor spacial awareness and was always tripping over, which lead to some hilarious incidents including my Steve (my former partner) pulling me out of a peat bog as I’d sunk up to my knees and was slowly falling face forward into the bog.  Another time I went flying, just as a busload of tourists came round the corner in very rural Ireland.  I was always collecting bruises from bumping into things.

It’s a long time ago, but the first things I noticed doing yoga was that it helped me stretch (especially my hamstrings), helped calm my brain as I was concentrating on breathing and the position of my limbs.  I learnt to do corpse pose (Shavasana) not ‘banana’ pose as my first Yoga teacher Jacky named it.  Yoga isn’t a quick fix – it took me about 6 weeks to see the real benefit. I carried on with Jacky’s classes and then John Aplin for years until my work pattern changed.

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#100happydays challenge 1-5 photos

Much of this year has been very difficult for me mentally and physically, especially after my friend died in April 2015. A couple of weeks ago I saw the #100happydays challenge – http://100happydays.com/

I decided to have a go – it’s pretty simple really…It’s asking

  • Can you be happy for 100 days in a row?  
  • Every day submit a picture of what made you happy!
  • It can be about anything or anyone.  
  • It’s a way of getting in touch with the moment you’re in
  • People can submit photos privately too.

My flowers and garden have brought me so much solace this year during such difficult times; my garden has been my sanctuary.  The Great Gardens (like Tatton, Helligan, Bodnant and Dunham Massey) we’ve visited have helped too as well, as have all the beautiful flowers from all gardening bloggers across the world.   I’ve been getting back into yoga (it helps my back trouble) and have been doing some mindfulness practise too.   And of course, my friends and especially my Chap have supported and loved me.

I hope doing this will remind me of things, people and experiences that help make me happy.  I’m definitely getting back to where I want to be.

#100happy days dahlia, vinegar, acorns, mindfulness 1-4

dahlia (1/100), vinegar (2/100), acorns (3/100), mindfulness (4/100) #100happydays

1/100 – mini dahlia in a very mini milk bottle

I found this flower lurking among the slug-ravaged leaves. I wrote about it here

2/100 – blackberry vinegar

We had huge amount of blackberries from both my mum’s and my friend’s gardens so I froze some for crumbles and other puddings   I decided to have a go a blackberry vinegar; it was very easy to make and it’s hidden away in the cupboard infusing.

I’ve got to wait a couple of weeks before the next stage; it will need straining, simmering with some sugar and decanting into smaller bottles and apparently it will last for years.

3/100 – acorns in my friend J’s hands

I went to see my pal J, who’s on maternity leave waiting for her baby to arrive. We talked about growing an oak tree to mark her baby girl’s birth.  She and her husband have decided that they’ll take the sapling to be planted in the National Forest in Derbyshire. It needs to grow for a couple of years first (just like their baby) before they can plant it out. Isn’t this a wonderful idea?  Find out how to grow your own oak tree here:

4/100 Mindfulness and Wellbeing Rooms

I’ve been doing mindfulness at work (and at home) which is definitely helping.
Find out more about mindfulness which is an ancient meditation technique and also how it is used within Mindful cognitive behavioural therapy – http://mbct.co.uk/ and the Guardian wrote about it today (20 October 2015) by Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School who brought mindfulness concepts to the West in the 1960s.

I’m very fortunately that there are many wellbeing classes I can attend at work, like mindfulness, as well as counselling (there are lots of stressed students).  Also, I’ve started tai chi and am doing yoga again which helps with my chronic back trouble. I do Iyengar yoga, which is very good for people with injuries, and the teachers have to study for about three years before they can teach it to others.  More information:

I started practising yoga nearly 10 years ago and it has made a big difference to my life.  I’ll write about more about yoga another time.

5/100 a visit to Dunham Massey with my pal C

Dunham Massey mansion - 5/100 #100happydays

Dunham Massey – 5/100 #100happydays

My friend C and I have birthdays close together so we usually go out for the day.  It was a glorious sunny day so we went to Dunham Massey – which is owned by the National Trust.  Dunham Massey  is a Georgian mansion, near Altrincham with a beautiful garden (including a walled rose garden) a deer park and a saw mill. It’s a wonderful place any time of year, lovely walks too and a lot to see.  As you’d expect from the National Trust, it’s got a couple of fine tea rooms and their cakes are great too.

Until 11 November 2015 Dunham Massey is Stamford Military Hospital where they have recreated the first world war hospital where over 300 soldiers recuperated from 1917-1919.  I’ve been twice – it’s a very powerful evocation of the soldiers’ situations, lives and illnesses recreated with actors.

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Come back again for the next instalment of my #100happydays challenge – it’s mostly about Lisbon

You can follow my photos for #100happydays challenge on twitter feed everyday (@becinmonton)

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Anyone around the world can get involved in #100happyday or just have a look for the hashtag or on facebook too.                                                                  

What has made you happy today?

Carpe Diem