Tag Archives: Clare Myatt

My highlights from BACP’s Practitioner Conference on Saturday

Gill Fennings-Monkman MBE
Gill Fennings-Monkman MBE Chairing the Coaching Strand and presenting on her integrative approach to working with clients struggling with eating disorders

I loved Saturday’s conference. From the time I got involved with the planning (meeting people from other Divisions) last year to finally seeing how it all came together.

My highlights included:

  • Seeing my fellow Coaching Exec members – the lovely Gill Fennings-Monkman, Michele Down, Steve Page, Becky Wright and meeting our newest member, Sally Brown. Working with them is my overall highlight of being involved with BACP Coaching.
  • Gill’s presentation on eating disorder work was an inspiration
  • Jayne’s presentation reminded me just how important BACP Coaching and AICTP (the Association for Coach-Therapist Professionals) have been to me as I’ve become more comfortable integrating all my therapies as appropriate. At one point, I felt a surge of joy at being in a room filled with integrative practitioners.
  • Dr Tatiana Bachkirova – a name I recognised from textbooks from my integrative counselling and coaching training – talking about our different selves as coach-therapists and how they fit into Modernist and Post Modernist worldviews. Her view of the coach as a ‘collaborative explorer’ as well as subpersonalities talk reminded me of my psychosynthesis training and how integration often feels like the most natural thing in the world and quite radical.
  • Cathy Towers wasn’t in the Coaching strand but I enjoyed her workshop on money and, of course
  • meeting BACP Coaching members and people interested in finding out more about Coaching as we (hu)manned the stand during breaks.

I was sorry to miss Michele Down and Steve Page, Heather Mason and Shaura Hall, Clare Myatt and Dr Christiane Sanderson as well as other speakers I hadn’t recommended but wanted to clone myself in order to hear.

Were you there on Saturday? What were your highlights? Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve

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Mountain pose yoga benefits (and more on grounding and centering)

Mountain

Brilliant for grounding, centering, stability, solidity, balance and symmetry, Mountain can look deceptively simple but there’s actually a lot going on.

Begin with the feet together or (my preferred variation for stability and grounding) hip distance apart, both feet facing forwards.

Notice the weight of the body on the ball of the foot and the heel as well as inner and outer edges of the feet. (Warning: standing is something we do without thinking so often, the second we start paying attention to HOW we stand, we might feel a little off balance – this is perfectly normal.)

You might want to imagine a mountain behind you, holding, supporting and nourishing you as the ground below you keeps you connected and held and grounded. You might even want to imagine yourself breathing in the earth’s grounding energy through the soles of the feet, up the legs and into the lower lungs before breathing it back out again.

Perhaps imagining yourself with roots growing from the soles of your feet and travelling deep into the centre of the earth will help you feel more balanced and stable.

If these images don’t work for you, just feel the soles of the feet connecting with the mat and ground below.

Reach the fingertips down alongside the body and lift at the crown of the head. You might also (as pictured) like to place your hands at your heart centre.

Notice what’s happening with the breath.

If you have low blood pressure or start to feel dizzy, you might want to come out of the pose or you may want to rise up and down onto the balls of the feet. This allows the calf muscles to act as a pump allowing venous return.

I really wish I’d known this as a kid when I used to pass out on a regular basis, especially when we had to stand in assembly or elsewhere for long periods of time.

I want to add a wonderful tool I learned and have slightly adapted from somatic coach-therapist Clare Myatt (www.claremyatt.co.uk) to add to the grounding and centering here as it’s so beneficial:

Push into the soles of the feet to really feel the ground below you, aiming to keep both feet facing forward and hip distance apart.

Keep your eyes open throughout.

Notice your knees. Ensure they’re not locked and imagine yourself dropping your knee caps.

Moving up to the hips, pelvis, buttocks and belly, notice if you’re carrying any tension here and aim to release it.

Lengthening the spine and moving up to the shoulders, if you’re wearing them as earrings, let them drop.

If there’s any tension in your jaw, let that go. Soften your gaze to relax your eyes (I imagine looking at Rainbow MagnifiCat as an instant gaze softener but play with your own methods).

Allow the arms to rest by the sides, slightly apart from the body.

Notice the breath and any other sensations.

Imagine a cord pulling you up from the crown of your head, lengthening your whole body and enhancing your sense of dignity.

Visualise something dropping from the crown of your head down into your centre. Clare said you might want to imagine tea leaves settling, my sense is of a silver chain with a ball at the end, like a pendulum, finding its centre in my lower abdomen – stick with whatever image comes to you and feels good.

Feel yourself widening your arms a little away from the body and experiment with placement that feels good as you enhance your social presence in the world.

Imagine a line going through your lower abdomen from front to back, boosting your sense of depth and gravitas in the world.

Notice how it feels.

Play with it! I’ve been amazed, having been practicing yoga for 15+ years and teaching for more than three, how when I’m not actively encouraging myself or students and clients to come into standing asanas from Mountain, with their feet hip distance apart and both feet facing forwards, if I notice how I’m standing in the shower, washing up, in a queue etc, I have to consciously align so my feet are facing forwards and hip distance apart.

When Clare taught me this last week, my feet were facing in opposite directions! Already, just playing with it (off the yoga mat too, throughout the day), I feel more focused in general.

Others may find that feet are very wide and it takes practice to narrow your stance while keeping that sense of space and empowerment.

How did you get on?

What did you notice?

Feel free to share your comments and tips 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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Dragon tails, superheroes and somatic presence

AmyCuddybook

I had a lovely day at the fantabulous Clare Myatt’s somatic presence workshop. My highlights included:

  • learning additional ways to ground and centre (eyes open made it a radical change to my existing tools)
  • new ways to tune into the body’s wisdom when making decisions and
  • a resilience building exercise which sounds too bizarre to write about but which was incredibly valuable both personally and professionally.

Bonus – really lovely group of people to spend the day with.

Find out more about Clare’s work here.

Then, I came home to Amy ‘Power Pose’ Cuddy’s fab new book, Presence. I’d learned about her research during my yoga therapy training. Since then, I’ve taught it to countless clients, students and workshop attendees.

In a nutshell, Cuddy’s research was around whether humans taking up more space might impact our confidence as primates of higher social standing exemplified these power poses (think men on the Tube).

Her research makes it fun, around expansive superhero (or yoga poses like Warrior II) poses. I’ve heard of people doing this by their cars before presentations but you don’t have to as the effects last for hours, increasing testosterone and reducing cortisol after holding them for just 2+ minutes.

Not only did they feel less stressed and more confident, but they were seen as more competent by strangers.

You can see the famous Ted Talk here.

What I hadn’t known was that the Harvard professor’s interest in presence started when she felt like an imposter in her own body after a car crash left her with a traumatic brain injury.

It’s a gorgeous book which, like Clare’s workshops, I’d recommend not just for coach-therapists and yoga therapists but for everyone.

What helps you feel more embodied (at ease in your own skin, content, powerful, safe, relaxed, open and so on)?

Feel free to share below.

love,

Eve x

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