Yoga for Anxiety

As many of my followers know, the catalyst for my own wellness journey was my battles with anxiety and panic attacks. I was delighted to be asked by an old friend to partner up with him when he released his new book ‘For help with Anxiety’, to write for his blog.

My first post is titled ‘Yoga for Anxiety’, check it out on the link below –

https://www.forhelpwithanxiety.com/yoga-for-anxiety

To correspond with my article i decided now would be a great time to also publish a hatha yoga for anxiety practice that i had been working on. With more people staying at  home than ever before anxiety levels are high, i made sure this practice was simple but effective, making it accessible for everyone.

By sharing our own struggles and experiences with anxiety, we can show others that they are not alone, and more importantly – that it gets better !

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Books read 2019.

I’m not really into setting new years ‘resolutions’ or the whole ‘new year new me’. As a life coach, yogini and spiritual devotee self development is an important part of my daily life and therefor i constantly revisit / reevaluate & make changes to my current habits and goals throughout the year wherever i see fit and would encourage others to do the same.

I do however love to set ‘things i would like to do’ for the coming year, set intentions or set myself some goals.

For 2019 i decided that i would like to read more books. When i was younger i would read constantly, my parents would often come up to my bedroom to check on me and i would just be lying there reading for 12 hours straight enchanted by the stories and depth of my favourite books. The past few years i have found myself reading less and less with the excuse of being too busy or having more important priorities. So I decided in 2019 to read at least 2 books per month.

I ended up reading 32 books in total so managed to read more than my target. The books i chose were a real mixture of novels, science, spiritual, knowledge & learning and i feel like I gained so much from reading again. I really fell back in love with reading and i know that i don’t even have to set that as a goal again for 2020 as it has now become such an important part of my routine taking the time to read that i will continue to read just as much in 2020 and after.

I thought it would be nice to share the books i read as they all were so important to me in one way or another i want to spread the word !

I have scored the books with a rating out of 10, of course this is just my personal opinion and is based on my own preferences, how much i enjoyed the book & how much i gained from it.

Sapiens – Yuvah Noal Harari – 8/10

The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz – 8/10

Siddhartha – Herman Hesse – 8/10

A Guide to your Chakras –  Anodea Judith – 6/10

The Mastery of Love – Don Miguel Ruiz – 8/10

Tantra – Shashi Solluna – 6/10

Why we Sleep – Matthew Walker – 10/10

You are the Placebo – Joe Dispenza – 10/10

The 49th Mystic – Ted Dekker – 10/10

Inner Engineering, A Yogi’s Guide to Joy – Sadhguru – 7/10

Rise of the Mystics – Ted Dekker – 9/10

Waking Up – Sam Harris – 8/10

The Bhagavad Gita – Eknath Easwaran – 10/10

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne – 8/10

Own Your Day Own Your Life – Aubrey Marcus – 7/10

Cant Hurt Me – David Goggins – 10/10

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman – 6/10

Red Dragon – Thomas Harris – 7/10

21 lessons for the 21st century – Yuval Noah Harari – 6/10

Accelerated Learning – Dale Clear – 7/10

Travelers in the Third Reich – Julia Boyd – 7/10

Coaching for Performance – Sir John Whitmore – 8/10

Co-active Coaching – Fourth Edition – 6/10

The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris – 8/10

American Sniper – Chris Kyle – 7/10

The Forgotten Way Meditations – Ted Dekker – 5/10

8 Limbs of Yoga – Yogani – 6/10

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Patanjali – 9/10

The Untethered Soul – Michael Singer – 7/10

Be Here Now – Ram Dass – 10/10

The Yamas & Niyamas – Deborah Adele 9/10

Walking Each Other Home – Ram Dass & Mirabai Bush – 9/10

Autobiography of a Yogi – Paramahansa Yogananda – 10/10

How to take back your power, reclaiming your energy.

Boundaries is a repeated theme that seems to be coming up in all areas of my life at the moment. Okay universe, I hear ya. I’ve been seeing’s posts on social media, noticing this coming up in shows I am watching, in podcasts I am listening to, mentioned in books I am reading. The final kicker was boundaries coming up as a main focus on one of the modules i am studying at college.

My course includes a lot of time for self development & reflection. With every module, or every new tool learned, I learn more about myself and revisit things I thought I once knew to see if this new information changes my perception in any way.  Discussing the topic of boundaries with my peers this week really allowed me to dig deep and check in with myself.

What am I tolerating?

What is frustrating me right now?

What boundaries am I setting?

Well it turns out i am tolerating a lot of shit that doesn’t match my energy or my values. I’m frustrated that my energy is low and I don’t have enough time for me, to look after myself and just relax. All because I am NOT setting enough boundaries.

This isnt just in one area of my life but actually in a few different areas. I got into a lot of specifics when hashing this out and ‘coaching’ myself and ended up making a list of boundaries that need to be set in work & in my relationships. Even making this list and seeing it down on paper was really empowering. In such a short space of time I identified what exactly was taking my energy, how I was allowing this to happen & what i was going to do about it.

Setting boundaries is THE most direct and effective way to take back your power, to reclaim your energy. 

Setting boundaries is never easy, it may feel uncomfortable at first & it may ruffle some feathers BUT if the people around you respect & care about you, they will respect your needs. Remember, it’s not just about setting boundaries, that is the first step. The hardest part is reinforcing those boundaries whenever somebody tries to cross them, not tolerating or allowing somebody to cross that line. Checking in with yourself from time to time to honestly ask ‘is this boundary still serving me?’, ‘am I enforcing this boundary firmly enough?’, ‘do I need to set any more boundaries?’.

If your energy is low, your feeling drained and worn out, try this below exercise –

  1. Make a list of your current frustrations.
  2. Make a list of anything that your tolerating right now that could be causing these frustrations.
  3. Now list the boundaries that you have already set. Chances are if your feeling this way, you arent setting any boundaries, your boundaries aren’t strong enough, or your not enforcing them!
  4. Now, based on the above list, starting listing some boundaries that will help you take back control of the situation. That may mean saying no to overtime at work, saying no to social events so you can have some me time, setting expectations with a friend or colleague about how you expect to be treated going forward. This is your list so you will know based on your current frustrations and tolerations what boundaries you need.
  5. Let anyone involved know what your boundaries are and set expectations. If you feel like it, you can explain to them why this is necessary, or not – don’t feel like you need to explain unless you really want to.
  6. Reinforce those boundaries whenever necessary, if anyone tries to cross them remind them of the discussion you have & be firm.
  7. Check in with yourself from time to time and reflect on your boundaries – are you enforcing them correctly? – are they still serving you? – do you need to set any more?
  8. Enjoy your reclaimed energy and power, you are amazing !

 

I find this excercise incredibly effective and I hope you do to. This is my own method that i would use with clients in coaching sessions to help them reclaim their energy but it is also a useful tool to use on myself time and time again. I’m only human, we all need to check in with ourselves from time to time and get some clarity on certain aspects of our lives.

Good luck with reclaiming your power and if you feel like sharing I would love to know how you found this exercise.

Archery

I’m so late writing this post, it was almost 6 weeks ago now we went and did Archery and we are planning to go again some time very soon.

We were away for Easter weekend at Carton House hotel in Maynooth and were looking through the brochure of activities the hotel gave us and were trying to pick one. We were thinking about booking in at the Golf range on site at the hotel, when in Rome, but i remembered doing Archery as a child in first school and having the most amazing time. Our class went on a weekend trip to High Borrans in the lake district (any Northern English child will remember this place) and one activity over the weekend was archery, along with orienteering, canoeing, bouldering and other fun stuff. My super competitive streak came out and i ended up winning most of the awards over the weekend, from then on my school teachers called me mighty mouse (proud moment). Out of all the activities that weekend i very vividly remember the Archery competitions and how much fun we had, so i chose Archery for our day out at Carton House as well.

We booked in for Archery at Abbeyfield farm and equestrian Centre in Kildare for only 30 euros each & it was worth every penny ! It was so sunny out we picked the perfect day for it & we were the only two people booked in at that time for archery so we had the place to ourselves. The guy who met us & talked us through everything was so sound, he would watch us shooting an arrow and give us little tips or tweaks to help us make improvements. Then once he decided we were getting the hang of it and making some good shots he left us to our own devices for a while and just let us keep going and practicing. It was so much fun and we were much better at it than I expected us to be.

After a while of us practicing he came back and got a few competitions going between me and Stuey which really added to the whole thing and got us hyped up and laughing. One of the competitions was to hit the balloons he had pinned to your target before the other person hit theirs. Another one was to try and get one arrow in each colour/circle before the other person did. The last one was to see who could get the most points in 60 seconds.

As soon as we left we were already saying let’s book in to come back very soon, we both thoroughly enjoyed it & for 30 euros each it was definitely worth the price. We’ll go back again to do archery next time & then maybe the time after that we will try the clay pigeon shooting as that also looked super fun. Basically… take my money we will be back.. a lot !

This would be such a great day out for friends, couples, families, team building, basically for everyone. Let me know if you go and try it out or if you have been before.

The Avonmore Way / Clara

Anyone ever bought a car with the intention of ‘this means i can start walking more’?

Living so close to the Wicklow mountains but not having a car to drive in and do the trail routes was always a pain point of mine. Now that we have a car and my leg is finally healing after my surgeries we couldn’t wait to get out in to the mountains for some exercise, fresh air & views. Stuey & I set the intention to complete ALL of the hiking/trail walks in the Wicklow mountains. How long will this take? I have no idea. How many trail walks are there? I also have no idea! Regardless, we will complete them ALL, however long it takes. Of all the intentions/goals i have ever set, i think i’m most exited about this one.

We set out on Sunday to do the Vale of Clara forest walk, but we ended up doing 1/2 of the avonmore way instead. It was very difficult to find the route’s for the vale of clara.. we drove down the R755 laragh to rathdrum direction, looking for that beautiful white church and bridge in so many photos. Driving in the same direction look for Clara Lara fun park on the left hand side, keep driving past the fun park and a few minutes later you will see a small sign on the left saying Clara RC Church and a very steep slope down. Take that left and drive down to the bottom of the steep bank. You have arrived in Clara!

What a beautiful & picturesque tiny little village. The river, arched bridge, church & nature make for some really breathtaking scenery. We didn’t drive over the bridge we actually parked just in front of the big house at the bottom of the bank. We were unable to find the starting routes for the Vale of Clara walks, however looking back on maps afterwards we should have walked over the bridge and took a right up that steep road to get to the start. Instead we went in to the gates of the church, around the back of the church building, and saw a stick with a yellow man & arrow on directing us on to the starting point for ‘The Avonmore Way’ trail.

We followed the Avonmore way route up a steep woodland path through the trees. The path was very clearly marked throughout so once one the Avonmore way route it is impossible to get lost. On our way up to Clara the rain was torrential however by pure luck as soon as we started on the route the sun came out and stayed with us for the entire walk. We were blessed with that ‘after rain earth smell’ & sunshine glistening through the trees all at once, it was truly beautiful.

We were laughing and strolling along seeing how high we could throw sticks and acorns when we spotted two wild deer up ahead. It was so unexpected. We stopped to watch them as we didn’t want to frighten them but after a minute or two they caught wind of us and leapt off in to the mossy forest, it was so magical. Seeing wild deer was not what we set out to do but it was sooo very welcome.

The forest walk itself was like something out of a fairytale, we kept stopping just to take it all in or to take a few photos. The green moss across the rocks & forest floor, the tiny little streams trickling & winding their way through the flora, the sun beaming down through the foliage and highlighting the little ponds on the forest floor. It really has to be seen to be believed, the beauty of this place is something else.

After some time walking through the forest the trail made it’s way out on to a tarmac road (unlike the grassy forest road we were previously on). We walked around to the white house overlooking the mountains and the view from the road up there was so worth the trip, nature is incredible. If we continued on the yellow marked route this would have took us another 2 hours and lead us towards Rathdrum. As we had the car parked down at Clara church we couldn’t walk 2 more hours to finish this trail and then 3 hours to get back, so we turned around at this point and followed our same route back down.

At the starting point of the trail we noticed a few little signs pointing to another path saying ‘our Lady’s statue’, so on our way back down we took a little de tour up this path and we were not disappointed. If you are visiting this area i would strongly recommend visiting the statue. The statue itself was very beautiful and was overlooking the Church and river. At night time the statue must be lit up as there was flood lights underneath, i would love to go back and see her at night one day. The view from up there was also so breathtaking, i’m so glad we decided to follow that little sign and wander up. There’s a little bench behind Mary so we sat down for a few minutes and just soaked up the sunshine and fresh mountain air. So peaceful and quiet, i never wanted to leave.

We’re definitely going to go back and do the full Avonmore way route, but we will wait until the summer when the days are longer and warmer since it would be a total of 6 hours there and back. We’ll also go back and take the right turn up the road past the church and do the original Vale of Clara walks (the ones we set out to do in the first place). I found the directions / explanations of how to find the VOC routes were not clear at all and very confusing so when we do those routes i’ll make sure to be as descriptive of possible to help you all find your way.

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Second time lucky.

***08/02/19***

I’m writing this laid up in bed recovering after having my second surgery on my knee last week.

Let’s rewind..

Last year I had a surgery on my right knee to remove a melanoma. It was sent around to several specialists in Ireland and one specialist in Holland and finally they got back to me and said they all agreed they got it all the first time around, no further surgery needed. Massive sigh of relief ! I can’t even begin to explain the emotions felt at hearing you have Cancer and waiting to find out if it has spread or not. Anxiety, fear, dread, grief, panic, to name a few ! The weight that lifted off my shoulders when I got the call from my Dr to say they got it all the first time around was palpable.

Fast-forward to the end of January..

I then got a call from the hospital only two weeks ago to tell me actually no, your Dr shouldn’t have advised you that and we need to see you again ASAP. I argued blind with the nurse on the phone God bless her.. ‘no you’ve made a mistake my Dr told me you got it all’.. ‘I got the all clear back in December’.. ‘are you sure you have the most up to date records’.. ‘can you check and see if you have the results from all 3 specialists there as they confirmed that it was all gone?’. She had to repeat to me several times that she had my most up to date record and then she advised they recently had a board meeting where they discussed my latest results and the hospital decided that further surgery would be necessary. You couldn’t make this shit up!

I was back in the hospital two days later meeting my oncologist surgeon & discussing my treatment plan. He wanted to take a wider margin from the area and send that off for further testing, no risks being taken here.

1 week later I was in the Vincent Private having my second surgery. It all went well but the surgery was a lot bigger this time and a lot more painful so I’ve been laid up in bed for the past week recovering and keeping my leg elevated.

I was advised to pop back in to the dressing clinic yesterday so they could check the wound as I was worried it wasn’t healing as well as last time. The nurse was so careful with it and told me that it does seem inflamed and it was still bleeding slightly (which it shouldn’t be). Due to the scar being right on the inside of my knee she said I need to be very careful to keep my leg straight and put no pressure on it as bending/pressure can cause it not to heal properly. So that’s me in bed for another few days now before I even think of leaving the house.

To say I’m bored shitless is an understatement. I’m usually so active with work, gym, yoga, walks & cycling. Lying in bed for 8 days straight so far is not going down well but I really do need to make sure this heals well so for a change I’m actually listening to the Drs advice.

On the plus side, I’ve been getting lots of reading done & have finally found the time to stitch missing buttons back on dresses & shirts I have had lying around for a while. Little tiny positives right?

My results should be back next week. I’m staying positive and hoping that my Oncologist was just being very thorough by performing a second surgery but until then… fingers crossed & praying.

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Taking care of me.

Self care, at its core, is giving yourself permission to do whatever it is you need to do to be okay.

Self care isn’t always basking in your own wonderful ness. It’s setting boundaries, and reinforcing them. It’s going to the Dr when you’re sick, going to the dentist to get check ups, going to physio if you need it, taking care of your health. It’s about personal hygiene and keeping your living space clean. Showering & brushing your teeth. Its about taking care of your diet and your gut health, and eliminating toxins. It’s about talking to somebody when you need to, and taking good care of your mind. Breaking behavioral patterns and creating new ones. It’s about forgiving yourself, over and over again, for all the things you did do and wished you hadn’t, or the things you didn’t do that you wish you had. It’s about taking your power back.

It’s about realizing that Gods plan is greater than you could ever imagine, so even when you hit a bump in the road, or things take an unexpected turn around a dark corner, have faith that there is a reason for the detour or the roadblock, and just go with it. Don’t stress.

Who am I to question Gods plan?

I just need to ensure I take care of my mind body and spirit so that I can live out his plan with a pure soul and shine a light in as many dark places as I can along the way.

By taking care of me.

 

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Forgiveness.

My life feels so up and down recently, like a rollercoaster that just won’t end. When it’s good, it’s oh so good, but that anxiety in my stomach and sense of something’s about to change is always right. My intuition is so strong and always serves me well. This past few weeks have been a series of huge and unexpected changes in my life, some for better, some for worse, here I am just riding the wave and seeing where I end up. This time two weeks ago my life was in a very different place. I guess one thing that life has taught me is that God is always on my side, so not to fear change because his plan is always greater than I could ever imagine.

It’s so important when things get a little crazy to take time out and reconnect with yourself, find some balance, and reflect. To sit with your thoughts & emotions, the good and the bad ones. Yesterday was a day filled with prayer, yoga, massage, reiki & floating, I woke up this morning feeling so peaceful inside. For somebody who has suffered with anxiety disorders throughout my life I can honestly say inner peace is not something I usually experience or genuinely feel. I guess we have to go through these changes, endure the rain, and really process and accept it, before we can come to a place of calm and loving kindness towards everyone. A place of understanding and forgiveness.

Life is so hard sometimes, and we’re all just doing the best that we can, even if sometimes our best isn’t good enough. So forgive the ones who hurt you, forgive yourself for allowing it, and in the midst of your pain and suffering, God will lead you to the light. Every time.

 

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Starting Over. 1 week in.

Over the past few months i have really been struggling with pain in my joints. It has been really tough going and has really been wearing me down but i finally feel like i am making a little bit of progress.

I have been waiting for an appointment to see a rheumatologist at the public hospital for 4 months so far and have no idea how much longer i could be waiting, could be 2 months, could be 10. So after finding out from somebody in work that i could go private on my insurance i went straight down to my Dr’s and got him to send off a referral for a private consultant which means i could have an appointment within the next 8 weeks. I then explained to my Dr that the arthritis medication he has had me on doesn’t seem to be helping any at all and he gave me two different pain medications to try out to make the pain a bit more bearable until i find out what’s going on. Anyway the new medications do seem to be helping a lot and i have managed to get in a few pretty good workouts at the gym so i’m really over the moon with that.

I also have been getting  a lot of support and help from my friends & also my colleagues in work which is really nice and has made the world of difference to know i have so many people so willing to help me. It’s a very overwhelming feeling to receive so much genuine concern and support from people who haven’t even been in my life for that long. There are some really wonderful and kindhearted people out there and i’m lucky enough to have so many of them in my life right now.

Now that i have a medication that is helping the pain i really want to get back focused fully on my training and nutrition as it has took a back seat this past few months. Luckily again i have amazing friends willing to help me & support me with my training and goals.

I sat down and decided on what my goals will be in relation to my training and body composition over the next few months. There will be a lot of changes to the method of training compared to what i’m used to, but it’s necessary to adjust so that i can train and minimize the stress on my joints at the same time. This is a totally new approach i’m trying but i have a lot of faith in this training style and i can’t wait to get started.

The physique goals i set for myself this time will be to definitely grow my quads & shoulders some more, & also to get that little bit leaner than i managed to get last time around. I want to get slightly more definition on my legs and arms than i have had before and just push for that little bit extra. Strength wise i really just want to get my strength back up to what it was before i started experiencing this joint pain. Max has a few tricks up his sleeve on how to get me there and i’m going to give it everything i’ve got so i’m really excited to see how my body composition changes over this next few months. Watch this space!

Starting Weight / Measurements – 15.01.2018 – 

Weight – 131lbs.  Waist – 28.5 inches.

End of Week 1 Weight / Measurements 21.01.2018 – 

Weight 127.8 lbs. Waist 28.5 inches.

 

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