Category Archives: Depression

My (and others’) tips on using yoga to boost mood in Surrey Occasions (published October 2016)

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Click here to read it

Thanks Karen Glaser for including my tips on using yoga for anxiety and depression.

What helps you feel better naturally (this is NOT about not taking prescribed medication or getting medical help and advice from your GP – complementary not alternative)?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve

 

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My Weekly Summer Health special – mental health feature (published 4/8/16)

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If you struggle with anxiety, post traumatic stress, depression, OCD or any other mental health issues, what helps you be extra kind to yourself?

You can read the full piece by clicking the links below. I used to be able to easily create one pdf from several pages but this skill has (temporarily, hopefully) eluded me today.

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Hope you find it helpful.

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve x

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Safety pins and self-compassion

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What a week!

Apart from here, the floods in Ghana, attack in Turkey…

There have been high emotions in the aftermath of the vote. I’ve shed a lot of tears, hearing about the increase in racist attacks, wanting to connect and collaborate with the world at large, not be cast adrift.

Also, respecting the democratic process and knowing we’re all doing the best we can with what we know at any given time.

A lot of us are struggling with our sense of identity.

I’ve been clumsily attempting to be super friendly to people who look like they might be not from here.

Then, to increase the strange looks resulting from my beaming at strangers in London and Essex, trying to be extra friendly to everyone.

Being naturally more introverted (I think I’m an extraverted introvert), I’m sometimes exhausted by it all.

In attempting to be more smiley to people, I’m no longer hiding behind books and newspapers on public transport but making eye contact (the horror! Joke – it’s actually refreshing), I’m remembering that the heartbreaking stories are far from the big picture.

Still, what could I do to (without freaking anyone out by being too smiley), help others feel safer?

I was delighted to hear about the safety pins being worn to show solidarity with immigrant communities (again, as the daughter of an Irish and Indian, via Kenyan, immigrant, it feels a bit odd to show solidarity with myself so am aiming for some self-compassion rather than beating myself up for all the times I’ve cried or welled up since Friday).

The safety pin is such a great example of someone doing something simple to stand up (quietly and maybe not even needing to stand up at all) and say racism is unacceptable. And I can dial back my beaming at people so minimise the risk of freaking strangers out by being potentially over friendly in an effort to compensate for a tiny by vocal minority of racist individuals.

I’m also aware of the reports of Muslim women being targeted more than men (sexism as well as racism) and talk of older people being accused of voting badly and the need (my name is Eve – am still working on my overdeveloped sense of responsibility for the whole world), recent progress for gay and trans rights and desire for everybody to be safe, free to flourish, able to be their glorious wondrous selves without fear of attack.

Is there something you’ve been feeling hopeless and helpless about?

What is something small – safety pin tiny – that might help you begin to remember that no matter what’s going on around you, everyone is doing their best?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve

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Camel pose benefits

Camel

From a high kneeling position, tuck the toes under (unless you want a deeper back bend) and take the hands to the lower back / sacrum. Gently open the heart centre as you tilt the chin and head and lean backwards.

This may be enough of a backbend for you or, if you want to go further, take the hands to rest on the ankles, keeping balanced, and reach the head towards the feet as you continue to open the heart centre upwards.

Notice what’s happening with the breath and, as well as aiming to continue with your longer exhalation and lower abdominal breath, Camel can be great for training the breath to the back of the lungs encouraging full thoracic breathing.

If it feels good, stay for five complete breaths.

Camel can help bring us new perspectives as well as offering the mood boosting benefits of backbends.

What do you like most about Camel?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve

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IF YOU’RE NEW TO YOGA AND DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THESE POSES, GO TO A YOGA THERAPIST OR INSTRUCTOR. IF YOU’RE NEW TO EXERCISE, CONSULT YOUR GP BEFOREHAND. ALWAYS HONOUR YOUR BODY’S OWN WISDOM

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Yoga benefits for ‘Blue Monday’ – Wheel (and other backbends)

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Tomorrow’s ‘Blue Monday’ – that day of the year where, in this part of the world, we’re apparently most likely to feel down or even depressed.

If you’re in need of a lift, you might want to boost yourself by using your body. Just as forward folds are typically calming (not for everyone – the more you practice, the better you’ll get to know your own body and what works best for you), backbends help energise us and can improve our mood.

You’ll want to do this towards the end of your practice when you’re warmed up (injuring yourself is unlikely to improve your mood). Sun Salutations to warm the whole body (especially in this weather) can be helpful along with poses like Chair, Equestrian and Pigeon to warm up the larger muscles in the legs.

Starting with Bridge pose, a great backbend on it’s own, once your spine feels warmed up and if you feel like continuing into Wheel (it may be that the idea doesn’t boost your mood in which case, listen to your own body’s wisdom!), lie back down onto your back and bring the hands over your shoulders and into position for Wheel.

You may want to stay there (check in with yourself at every step and if you’re not familiar with yoga or have any injuries or hesitations, don’t do this without support or supervision). If you want to continue, lift the hips and come onto the crown of your head, pausing. If it feels good for your body, come up into the full pose.

Notice what’s happening with your breath, aiming to continue breathing fully and deeply for as long as feels comfortable (maybe one complete breath, maybe five. You know yourself best).

When you come back down, notice what’s happening with your mouth. Are you smiling? Notice however it is you’re feeling.

It may be that coming out of the pose is what lifts your mood but it’s a great one to play with if Wheel appeals. It’s also wonderful for helping us retrain our nervous systems over time, increasing our allostatic load which, in turn, helps us better manage bigger stresses off the yoga mat.

You can get many of the benefits by coming into the pose over a Swiss ball. This way, you’re opening the body in the same way but don’t have to support all of your weight with your arms and legs.

If Wheel doesn’t appeal, Sphinx, Cobra, Bow, Up Dog or even Mountain pose with a small backbend can all help you work with your body to help change the way you feel.

Does ‘Blue Monday’ have an impact on your mood?

What helps you cheer yourself up?

What are your favourite backbends?

Maybe you know deeper issues are at play. What changes could you make to your life, work and/or relationships so you enjoyed this day of the year more?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve x

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IF YOU’RE NEW TO YOGA AND DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THESE POSES, GO TO A YOGA THERAPIST OR INSTRUCTOR. IF YOU’RE NEW TO EXERCISE, CONSULT YOUR GP BEFOREHAND. ALWAYS HONOUR YOUR BODY’S OWN WISDOM

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My last yoga classes in 2015

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While I can’t believe it’s nearly 2016, it IS. So I thought I’d flag the remaining classes I’m teaching in case you’d like to bring some extra peace into your festive period by joining one of my small, friendly yoga classes.

Or maybe you’d like to book yourself in for the New Year.

 

Focusing on emotional health and wellbeing as well as strength, stamina and flexibility, they’re ideal for beginners (all levels welcome). You can find out more about my teaching style here.

I currently have two more spaces for my Yule classes on Monday 21st and Tuesday 21st December.

And I’ll be teaching on the Monday and Tuesday between Christmas and New Year – a great time to think about what you’re ready to release as well as what you want to invite into your lives and practices for 2016 and beyond.

You can view the current class schedule here.

Also, after more than a year teaching a weekly yoga class on Wednesdays at 5.30pm at DS Fitness, this Wednesday (23rd) will be my last (unless I cover).

Big thanks to Mark, David and the rest of the staff and all my students there – you’ll be in very good hands with Mina who’ll be taking over in the New Year. And if you want to take some much needed time for yourself before Christmas Eve, hope to see you there this Wednesday (this can be booked via Reception at DS Fitness).

Any questions, do let me know.

love,

Eve x

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Dealing with life’s ‘Grr!’s by looking at some sticky shadow stuff

Rainbow investigating HER shadow side*

Rainbow MagnifiCat investigating HER shadow side

 

I’m seeing a lot of posts on Facebook about people defriending others due to political beliefs. I’m aware that my rate of deleting posts I’ve typed before publishing them has increased massively since last night, too (and am conscious that a friend joked about a secret tool they have to read deleted posts!).

So I thought I’d spend some time with my shadow today. Jung popularised the idea of our shadow selves, where we project what we’ve disowned in ourselves onto others (be they loved ones, colleagues, strangers, politicians or people from other parts of the world and religions).

The bad news is that this leads to much acting out unconsciously.

The good news is that by reclaiming those unloved aspects of ourselves, WE CAN HEAL. We literally become more whole.

Thinking about this in the pool today, I realised that one of my personal triggers is people blocking the lane in the swimming (it’s a verb) pool. They could be standing to chat in a million other places, my incensed thought processes rant, and there are so few places to swim…

And on a good day, I can smile to myself recognising that this little Grr may have more to do with me than with the thoughtless people chattering away (ditto people blocking doorways, cycle paths, putting feet on train seats etc – I could go on but will restrain myself).

I can ask myself if there may be (even a teeny tiny) part of myself that may be jealous of their casual oblivious approach to life? That maybe I can acknowledge that swanning through life with less consideration for others could potentially be more fun. And as soon as I can acknowledge that, yes, of course, there’s a thoughtless, oblivious aspect of my own personality, I suddenly feel far less bothered by the previously seemingly Evil Lane Blockers.

Sometimes, like today, as soon as I have that epiphany, they move away!

I have a tendency to be overly empathic sometimes, focusing more on others’ needs than my own. This can be a useful thing (in my work, for example) but I’ve also worked hard to dial it back in my personal life as it’s not helpful (or fun!).

By being aware of this shadow aspect to caring and empathy (RAGE towards thoughtless people who don’t give a ****), I’m better able (progress not perfection) to own my own stuff and have a much nicer swim / bike ride / train journey / life etc.

If I remained oblivious to my own shadow, I might act out (swimming violently to SPLASH said Evil Lane Blockers (I’m joking, they’re totally normal people, just like you and me) or even saying, ‘Excuse me!’ in a slightly passive aggressive way.

You get the picture…

What springs to mind when you think about the people and situations that irritate / infuriate you the most?

Think about who makes you go ‘Grr!’ (if you want to – this is not for the fainthearted. Our shadow aspects are parts of ourselves that we, at some stage, unconsciously deemed So Awful, we cut them off, burying them in the dark).

Does a particular person (known personally or maybe on social media or on TV – anyone at all) really trigger you?

If you were Really Honest with yourself, what might your irritation or anger be trying to tell you about an unclaimed shadow aspect of yourself?

I’d love to hear your thoughts (if you’re happy to share) so do feel free to use the Comments section below and let me know what makes you go Grr and what that means to you?

And, of course, if you’d like to explore this in more depth, do get in touch.

love,

Eve x

 

 

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Silent Minute for peace – 9pm every evening (from the comfort of wherever you want to be)

 

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If you’d like to join the movement, all you have to do is pause for a minute at 9pm (when possible) and envision a world of peace and returning light. You can click here to read more about it if you’d like.

I’ve been stopping whatever I’ve been doing when my phone alarm reminds me of this these past few days – had become a bit lax about it but it’s a great antidote to those times the world feels that bit too scary.

I have absolutely no idea how many people around the globe are doing the same (or if it’s just me!) but it’s something that helps me focus on ways to bring more peace into my own world. So that’s helpful anyway. But when I imagine countless other people, in their own homes / time zones etc, it definitely boosts that feeling of connection and peace on earth.

Have you tried it?

What helps you?

Feel free to comment below.

love (and peace),

Eve

 

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Inside Out – fab film and potential reminder around mindfulness of our emotions

InsideOut

I saw it last night and loved it.

And it’s another tool to help us notice when we’re being run by our emotions. The ever fantabulous Amy Poehler was especially terrifying as Joy when she was trying to hijack the other emotions, especially poor old Sadness (Phyllis Smith embodied her voice beautifully).

While they were the main characters (Joy suddenly finds herself not the main emotion in little Riley’s life after an unexpected move away from all her friends and hobbies), Disgust (Mindy Kaling – can’t wait for her new book to arrive), Fear and Anger were also essential.

Claudia Hammond wrote a gorgeous book some years back called Emotional Rollercoaster: A journey through the science of feelings. Inside Out made me want to dig it out and reread it.

This film felt (to me) like an emotional rollercoaster – I nearly made it through without crying although they’d been some near misses but, well, no. In my defense, I wasn’t the only one. And the tears felt good!

When you think of the Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust in your own head, which are you most aware of?

Which do you try to repress? (Remember poor old Sadness being instructed to stay in her teeny tiny circle?)

Has repressing your emotions ever worked?

It may seem silly now, considering the work I do, but when I first saw a counsellor in my early 20s, she asked me how I was feeling and although I was clearly being run by my emotions, I simply couldn’t tell her, or myself. Her simple ‘How does that feel?’ may as well have been in Russian (which I sadly cannot speak or understand).

Just checking in with yourself, a few times a day and wondering, which are you most conscious of, can help you better understand the language of your own feelings. There’s no need to try to change anything, simply give yourself permission to feel it.

This won’t, as Fear might have you believe, leave you completely hijacked by your Anger or Sadness. Instead, those feelings will pass more freely and easily leaving you less likely to act out on them.

You might also want to think about ways in which you can express your Joy more freely? What naturally sparks Joy for you?

What helps you deal with Sadness? How might you allow yourself to feel some of that pain, loss and grief and let it go more naturally? (A good cry at a fab film can help! I recommend this one).

What about Anger? We (especially women, in whom, even in 2015 it’s still less socially acceptable than in men) definitely don’t want to suppress this.

Look at how Anger at injustice has changed the world for the better when expressed lovingly by people like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Scilla Elworthy, Gloria Steinem, Eve Ensler – the list is endless.

What makes you angry? How can you channel that perfectly legitimate emotion into action you feel good about?

And, awww, Disgust. I failed to hold back a judgmental and disgusted, ‘Oh dear God’ as a small child spat (maybe he thought he was a professional footballer, whatever – eeeww) on the floor very near me yesterday. I’ve been known to turn this Disgust against myself for feeling it but, hopefully, with Mindy Kaling’s help (she embraced it fully), I’ll come to accept my own squeamishness more.

Are you easily disgusted? How might you express it in as healthy a way as possible?

Just noticing our usual default emotions in different situations can help us being to gain more freedom as we’re guided rather than hijacked by our feelings.

Good luck!

What might you choose to do differently to better express all of your emotions from today?

Feel free to answer below in the comments!

love,

Eve x

 

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Health and beauty fayre in Witham on Saturday – pop over to say ‘Hi!’

If you’re in Witham on Saturday 18th (between 10am and 4pm), do say ‘Hi!’

There’s a health and beauty fayre in the Newlands Centre so you’ll meet all sorts of  practitioners you may not have known worked locally.

I’ll be at the Feel Better Every Day gazebo, doing demos and chatting to people around some of the ways we can all use our minds, bodies, hearts and souls to Feel Better Every Day.

I’ll be answering any questions you might have about:

* counselling,

*coach-therapy,

* life coaching,

* NLP,

* yoga,

* yoga therapy for mental health,

*EFT,

* crystals,

* my work in organisations

and other services I offer from my base on Witham’s high street.

I’ll also be doing a yoga demonstration for DS Fitness (I teach a yoga class there every Wednesday at 5.30pm).

Hope to see you there.

love,

Eve x

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