Yoga Nidra Free Download: Giving and receiving love and kindness.

This 15 minute Nidra was recorded in Kerala, India, during my recent Total Yoga Nidra training with Uma Dinsmore Tuli, Nirlipta Tuli and Yoga United.

Listen to the Yoga Nidra recording here

I intend to re record this making it a bit longer but as  I am aware how long it takes intentions to manifest I thought I would offer it up as it is for now- a short practice to cultivate love and kindness towards yourself.

This practice is suitable for all but designed specifically with caregivers in mind, or anyone who feels depleted or that the give and take in their life is out of balance.

Before listening to the practice please make yourself very comfortable, make sure the environment you are in is a comfortable temperature and take every measure available to ensure you will not be disturbed.

Enjoy and do let me know how you find it!

With warmth,

Yasmine

PRACTICE, PATIENCE, PRESENCE (& PARENTING)

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3 simple words to keep in mind on and off the mat.

These 3 words I have found to be totally transformative to my yoga practice.

The more I practice, the more I realise that what is truly interesting in each asana (yoga pose) is not what is happening in the body, but what is happening in the mind.

Thoughts pop up that can be hard to face. Thoughts pop up that can take our attention away and afar, as we rehash old stories, or dream up new ones. Shopping lists, conversations at work, emails to write; the mind is a busy junction with thoughts coming and going like trains. It can be hard to be honest with ourselves and truly acknowledge the thoughts and accompanying emotions that arise within us. We may not like to acknowledge our stubbornness, arrogance or easily frustrated nature- but we are human. We must be patient with our selves, seeing these patterns but knowing they are not us. They may appear within us regularly (or occasionally) but they are not us. We are not rigid, we are flexible, constantly changing, never set in stone.

Yoga asana allows us to hone our skills of concentration as we observe without judgement  what arises as we move our body from shape to shape. When we practice this ability of moment to moment observation, just like practicing anything, we strengthen it. When we are able to be present we engage with life as it is- acceptance. We work on being just where we are within a yoga pose without thinking about where we should be, where we would like to be, or where the person on the mat next to us is. With acceptance of our circumstances we naturally invite patience. Patience leads to all kinds of positive qualities- kindness, generosity, tolerance, selflessness, empathy to name a few.

Practice, patience, presence. This recipe is not exclusive to yoga, in fact these three attributes allow us to navigate more smoothly through all areas of life. I have found this to be incredibly true with regards to parenting. As a mother to a 6 month old I am practicing patience every day, and with that dedicated daily practice I have found my capacity for patience has increased more than I could have imagined! She does not sleep when I want, she does not sleep for as long as I would like, she is a spontaneous and independent little being and sometimes she doesn’t fit in with our ‘plans’. I can only be present because as I sit rocking her to sleep, or as I sit through nights of cluster feeding, if I think about what I would rather be doing, or what I have to do when I can FINALLY put her down I would quite simply go bananas. When I think- ‘but she slept through last week, what’s gone wrong?’ I feel cheated, when I think ‘when will I ever get a full nights sleep again?’ I feel down. But when I notice the softness and warmth of the baby in my arms, when I see what is there in that moment- a baby and its mother, it really is OK.

Presence and patience feels better. It is easier. It opens the way for intimacy, as to be intimate we have to be present, it opens the way for kindness and empathy, as I acknowledge my daughter needs me and is not crying or fussing out of spite!

Being present means we open our self up to the reality of life as it unfolds. We don’t just listen, we hear, we don’t just look, we see, we don’t react we respond. We essentially wake up to a whole life within our lives which when existing via autopilot, planning, and impatience could easily be missed.

So

Practice- whatever that means for you, yoga, meditation, art, music, cooking, changing nappies, driving to work, relationships.

Presence- observing, acknowledging, accepting, being not just doing

Patience- cultivates kindness, empathy and understanding towards yourself and others.

 

Namaste,

 

The divine in me, bows to the divine in you

Learning Curve

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My latest learning curve has come in the form of a round eminence slowly taking hold of my midriff. A baby bump. For the past 5 months I have been practicing for 2. One of us has had more demands than the other.

I am a big thinker and the thought of becoming a parent is not something I haven’t masticated endlessly over in my mind. How to keep a child safe yet not stifled, how to teach ethical and moral values and raise a person that is both strong and sensitive. Yet for all the forethought I never considered this 9 months in transition and how change and concession would occur immediately. The learning starts now.

It turns out pregnancy can be really hard- (and I am lucky to say that I am healthy and low risk.) And I refer to my own unique experience SO FAR aware that the next few months may be totally distinct. I know at some point these sensations that seem so potent now will lose there potency and pregnancy will seem like a brief spell in a hazy waiting room.

Before our baby was the size of an almond I was aware I was not on my own any more. My practice, which I knew would certainly change once baby is born, was already not just mine. Vomiting and nausea struck through out the day worsened by any slight movement meaning asana was out of the question. Even meditation made (and still does) make me feel queasy. And so my practice became totally mental, as the significance of the Yamas and Niyamas took precedence, keeping strength of mind was vital when I physically felt weak and out of control. My yoga practice became a way to observe and ease the sense of guilt I was experiencing over not being able to work, to cook, to clean, to shop, to reply to emails, to get out of bed. My yoga practice became a way to cultivate patience and a sense of gratitude that I knew I was not ill, this was simply a waiting game. My yoga practice encouraged me to be kind to myself during this wait. I read, I practiced yoga nidra regularly and took restorative yoga poses to maintain a sense of spaciousness in my body. And I waited. I googled for other yoga teachers advice on continuing teaching throughout pregnancy and was disheartened by how easy it seemed other people managed. I ignored instagram for weeks, baby bumps in complex yoga postures seemed so laughable I could have cried. Guilt, observe, ease, patience, gratitude, kindness. I stopped teaching completely, rested, waited.

And thankfully I now feel so much better. I am teaching, I feel I have something to offer again and the capacity with which to offer it. I am able to practice some kind of asana daily though it is not just my practice any more. I am enjoying learning what feels good, healthy and sustainable. I often say to my students that each time we come onto our yoga mat we have a slightly different body, a slightly different set of conditions. I am practicing what I preach.