Successful Sleepout!

I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU!!! to everyone who donated money, good wishes and support to me, and to the Canberra Community Sleep Out last Friday night. I am very grateful for you being in my life!

I was really humbled by the lovely people who donated money from $3 to $159 – whatever they could afford or had spare in their pocket and in the end I raised $1,277 which was really awesome and and way over my target amount of $700!

Someone mentioned that they heard over the announcements (I didn’t hear it) that I was in the Top 10 individual fundraisers. What an awesome little community of people I know! So thank you all again as you helped to bring the tally to help others, to the amazing overall total of just over $103,000 !!! This is from all the fundraising groups and individuals – whiopen hands givingch is a fantastic result. So that was thanks to all you generous people who helped out. The money will be divided equally between Communities@Work and the St Vincent De Paul of Canberra and Goulburn.

Last year was the inaugural event with 100 brave souls enduring a surprise frost and minus 1 temperature! This year it grew to 700 people registering and about 600 sleeping out! So quite an exponential growth in awareness and generosity. It was great to see there were so many young people from uni, in school groups and young families. My friend was there with her 2 daughters (age 7 and 9) and said they girls both insisted on coming along, and their family had several really interesting conversations about life, hardships, not judging people etc that they would not necessarily have had if they hadn’t been involved.

My friend also helps in a shelter on Northbourne Ave, said she that each night there are about 30 – 40 homeless men sleeping rough in the bush on Black Mountain, and they come down each morning for coffee or breakfast at the shelter. That is only one area that she personally knows of, there are obviously more people on Mt Ainslie and all the other bushland and park areas around Canberra. So it is more of a problem than most of us have been aware of until now.

It sprinkled with light rain a few times during the night, but not enough to get wet. And it really made me think about the poor souls who have to do this every night, in all sorts of weather and they don’t have the comforting thought that they can go home the next night and to have a hot shower, clean clothes, food to eat, company and a dry, safe, warm bed to sleep in.

Events like this really do bring these bigger issues out into the minds and hearts of our community. It was a huge success in raising both awareness and much needed money for the homeless. Well done everyone involved.

I’m going on a Sleep-Out with 650 people!

Wow, this time has flown by, and tonight is the big Canberra Community Sleepout which is being held on the AIS Athletics arena…and apparently there are over 650 people registered!! So it will be an amazing experience and we will all learn a lo more about the actual plight of the homeless, how things change in their life so that they are in this situation and how  tough it has been for some of them.

Well it is only 1 more sleep in my snug, comfy bed until the big Community Sleepout on Friday 14th November! I am not sure what I will be sleeping on…though I am sure I will need to find something to put under my sleeping bag to pad my bony bits.open hands giving

I am very pleased to let you know that I have already passed my fundraising goal of $700 …when I checked the total a short while ago it was over $11oo which is awesome. And I have a little bit more to add in from some generous people I met today in some shops! (Including the lovely Bernie at Snap Printing in Fyshwick).

If you would like to donate please click on the link below and you will be taken to a secure site called GoFundraise which processes all the donations. Many thanks to you if you do donate!

http://sleepout2014.gofundraise.com.au/page/SuzieWilliamsSleepout2014

 WHAT ARE WE FUNDRAISING FOR?

All funds raised from the Canberra Community Sleepout will go towards Communities@Work and St Vincent de Paul, which provide a spectrum of services that provide immediate assistance to those experiencing homelessness and those at risk of homelessness, including food, clothing, accommodation, mental health services, life skills, education and more.

For Example:

  • $10 provides back to school packs for two children in need
  • $25 provides an emergency pack containing food, medicine and personal hygiene products
  • $50 assists with clothing and specialised support for a vulnerable person to transition into the workforce
  • $200 gives a woman and child escaping domestic violence somewhere safe to sleep for one night
  • $500 provides meals and essential items to 3 families in need for a month, and rescues 100 kilos of food from going to waste
  • $1,000 prevents a family from being evicted from their home

Your fundraising will help us break the cycle of homelessness and create better futures.

 SUNRISE YOGA at the Sleepout! I am really looking forward to teaching the sunrise yoga session at 6am on Saturday morning! Please come and chat to me if you are there. Apparently there are over 650 people registered to sleep rough for the night…which is a huge show of support from the Canberra Community – this only the second time the event has been held and numbers have really increased which is fantastic. It is not too late to register if you want to join in and help the homeless of Canberra – the more the merrier.

 It could be anyone… even you… I remember chatting with a friend recently about a startling fact…many average Australian households are only about 5 or 6 paychecks from being homeless…it just takes a sudden change in circumstances with work or family, sickness or an accident and their whole world can change as they have no money to pay rent or mortgage, petrol or food. Others are victims of abuse, domestic violence or families that have broken down. Some are returned veterans with PTSD. Somehow they all find themselves homeless and searching for somewhere to sleep, for themselves or their family. One can only imagine how it must be so much harder to deal with being homeless with your children beside you. I know I always worry about how vulnerable people look when I see them sleeping on the streets.

Apparently in Canberra homelessness is a bit more hidden, we don’t see as many people setting up for the night in shop doorways or park benches as in other big cities. Here they sleep in their car, couch surf, stay in friends garages, or try to find a safe place away from harm – it must be so stressful thinking about it everyday – where will I be able to sleep tonight?

I know that some of the college students I have taught yoga to have also been homeless, spending a night here and there on couches in any home they can find. School becomes their only stable place to be and yet they often can’t concentrate on their schoolwork due to the stress and insecurity of having nowhere to live.

I guess we need to be compassionate and resist judging others before we know the full story as many homeless people were once successful, employed and fully functioning in our regular world of commitments, responsibilities, mortgages and  bills and  felt relatively secure and able to enjoy and celebrate life. These things must now seem like a distant dream to them. Apparently at the Sleepout there will be opportunities to learn more about how some of the people end up being homeless and how we as a community can help them.

I will tell you all about it next week!

 

My UnMindful Moment…

Well, as Canberrans we are always glad to see the winter solstice come, signaling the welcome change in light with the slow but sure lengthening of the days. Even thought there is still 2 months of winter, somehow just getting to the solstice seems to make it shorter (at least that is what we agreed at yoga the other night!)

I had no idea what I was going to write about in the newsletter this month. And then I had a funny incident that reminded me of last month’s story on Mindfulness, and how we can find ways to be mindful in each day – even unplanned moments! In my rush to leave the house the other day to get to an appointment, I just grabbed my handbag, and my yoga bag, and headed out the door.  It was one of those cold, windy days, so I was wearing my new and very warm coat that my sons gave me for Mothers Day this year. (I love it cos it keeps me so warm and toasty.) Anyway, as I dashed out the door, pulling it closed behind me I felt my coat get caught. At that exact moment I thought “I will have to get my keys out to open the door” and simultaneously also thought ” Oh No! I didn’t put the keys in my bag! How am I going to get to my appointment?”

I suddenly felt a bit odd standing there attached to the door. So I wriggled out of my coat, ran around and checked the other doors. And then phoned my gorgeous daughter in law, who was working from home that day, and asked her to come and rescue me, as I knew she had a key (our spare is “lost”).

By this time I was freezing, so went back to the front door and having no other choice to keep warm…wriggled back into my coat and just stood there, looking very silly whilst still attached to the door, waiting for her to arrive. While leaning on the door, I then had a few somewhat forced minutes to think about why this had happened, and realised that this was a great example of not being mindful!!!

I was busy doing too many things before I left,  thinking of all I had to do that day, and how long it was going to take me to reach my appointment, and that I had to take my yoga bag for the class that afternoon etc, etc, and so I wasn’t actually being completely present with what I was doing before I left ….so didn’t do my usual check to see I had my phone, diary, keys etc… It was a great lesson again for me to slow down, be aware, and not to rush and risk forgetting things. Which I found very amusing , seeing it is what I have been teaching a lot lately! The universe has a sense of humour and many ways to keep us alert, and humble!

What sort of things do you rush through, overlook or forget?

My lovely daughter in law and I had a good laugh at how funny I looked tied to the front door!  🙂

The Power of the Humble Lemon

When I was a little girl my Dad always brought my Mum a strong cup of tea with 2 sugars and 2 biscuits to start the day. Not a great beginning for the digestive system with all the information we have these days. My mum always had digestive issues right up until she died at the young age of 62. Her best friend “Aunty Jenny” started her day with a cup of hot water and the juice of half a lemon – her husband always brought it to her in bed as well…such thoughtful men! 🙂 Anyway, Aunty Jenny swore by this drink each morning as a way to keep your body clear and clean. She lived a busy active life well into her 80’s. I can’t say for sure if there was a connection, but I am sure a healthy digestive system helps to promote and encourage a healthy life.

Nowadays we have lots of studies that show how effective lemon juice is as a digestive aid.

I start most days with a delicious mug of quite warm (so it is easy to drink) but not boiling water, with half a lemon squeezed into it. Tastes and feels so good! Read why it is so good for you below.

 Kickstarts the Liver and Bowel Warm lemon water stimulates the liver to produce bile which is an acid essential for digestion. Lemon juice is similar in composition to saliva and hydrochloric acid in the stomach – both very important in the digestive process. Lemon juice in warm water also helps loosen the plaque and toxins that get stuck along the walls of the bowel. It can help to stimulate bowel movements – especially when taken first thing in the morning. Warm lemon water is very good at relieving nausea, heartburn, burping, bloating, or that yuk, unsettled feeling in the tummy.

 Flushes Your System & Can Help with Shedding Excess Kilos Lemon oil is also an effective diuretic, helping to flush out toxins in your urinary tract as well by increasing your urine output. As an aromatherapist I know we use lemon essential oil as a detoxifier, as well as to balance the fluids in the body, especially urine and any oedema. So this is why it helps to balance the lymphatic system, which is our cleansing/garbage disposal system. The pectin fibre in lemons helps reduce hunger pangs. I also think the warm water helps fill you up too. And I think that by making the choice to help cleanse your body first thing in the morning as part of your daily routine, helps you to keep choosing the healthier foods and drinks throughout the day.

 A Great Alkaliser -Normalises pH Levels. It is weird I know, but the acidic effect of lemons when we taste them changes inside the body, so once metabolised the citric acid doesn’t create acidity in the body it actually alkalises it. (Some people can’t wrap their head around that idea!) Many of you will have heard how an acidic pH system creates illness and disease in the body.  Acidic bodies store a lot of uric acid in the joints, and this can lead to inflammation and to painful conditions such as arthritis and gout. Regular warm lemon water, and a more alkaline diet can help to flush the acidity out of the system.

 Healing & Beautiful Skin I remember women using lemon juice to help fade age spots and scars in beauty tips in old magazines. Due to the cleansing qualities, lemon juice in warm water promotes a healthy internal system which then shines out through the skin. The ascorbic acid and antioxidants help to reduce wrinkles as well as free radical damage. The Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is also essential in wound healing, as well as maintaining healthy bones, connective tissue and cartilage.

 Refreshing and Uplifting Lemons are renowned for their fresh, distinct aroma that comes from the essential oil that is expressed when we squeeze the lemon skin.  Very clearing and uplifting for the mind, and another way of helping with nausea is to sniff the lemon oil on your hands from the squeezed skin.  By having a healthier digestive system your breath will start to smell better too. If you do drink lemon water, remember it is still acidic in the mouth (hasn’t been digested yet) so rinse your mouth with water or clean your teeth afterwards so the acid of the juice doesn’t affect your tooth enamel.

 

Mindfulness & The Magical Ritual of Winter Fires

Recently I have been teaching Mindfulness classes. And it has made me even more conscious of being mindfully aware in my daily rituals.

Not everyone in Canberra has central heating… If you are like us and your home has a wood fire as well as some electric heaters, it is often tricky keeping your supply of small wood and kindling stocked up during autumn and winter. We have found many of the construction places in Mitchell and Hume don’t mind you picking up the small offcuts from their wood. This is win-win for both of you! It saves them having to dispose of it. And it saves you having to gather it up and chop it up into small bits to start the fire. I love it – saves me so much time and energy on a cold day! Just take your cloth shopping bags or kindling box and take as much as you need out of their storage bins, making sure you get the untreated pine so it isn’t toxic. Pine burns quickly and is great for getting a fire going on a cold evening.

As for the mindfulness part – fires are a wonderful exercise in being mindfully present and attentive. I often take a bag with me when I walk the dog and gather little twigs and sticks along the way. I find it very grounding and calming, and feel much more aware and connected to nature when I go for these walks, as I have to be more observant of my environment – the different trees and the bits of twigs and bark that have fallen to the ground – so I can gather them up for our fire.

Once home, there is the precise and wonderful ritual of setting the fireplace so it is easy to light a good fire when you need it. And of course, once the fire is lit, there is the magic of watching the flickering fire – all the orange and golden flames dancing in front to you, it is so enchanting, absorbing and relaxing. Better than the TV! Then there is that beautiful bone-warming heat that only a slow combustion/wooden fire gives, as we stand in front of the fire rotating our bodies slowly and skillfully, warming all those cold bits to perfection. Bliss! No wonder a fire is such a magnet whenever anyone walks into the room. Fireplaces have a calming, almost hypnotic effect on us, and its been said fires link us back into our ancient tribal past when fires were the central part of life.

Kids, and kids at heart, love nothing more than to toast marshmallows on a long twig or carefully crafted coat-hanger and take pleasure in the precise art of timing it perfectly so that it is golden and not burnt or falling off the stick! Such sweet and simple pleasures!

Once the fire is burning brightly, you need to remain mindful of the fire’s wellbeing, and take care of it – stoking it and putting on extra wood to keep it going, adjusting the airflow to manage the heat. This is also very therapeutic, and quite a long time can be spent gazing into the fire, watching the glowing embers and flames, poking and prodding the coals to ensure everything is just right. Staring into a fire is so incredibly relaxing. Then, like anything worthwhile in life (relationships, homes, creative pursuits, careers), a fire needs ongoing attention and maintenance. Chopping the wood. Cleaning out the ash and emptying it back onto the garden to reconnect with the cycles of nature once again. Shining the glass in the door so you can see the flames clearly. Cleaning the chimney. Dusting. Stocking up the wood and kindling….Who would have thought that a simple fire could teach us so many lessons about mindfulness and life!

See how you go keeping your attention in the now…feel the difference as you breathe deeply and feel yourself calm down and then bring your full awareness into whatever you are doing.

Wedding Bliss!

“There is only one happiness is life, to love and be loved”

Well Canberra put on its best weather ever for the weekend of my son’s wedding in February, everyone from out of town was very impressed with how lush and green it looked everywhere. The Yarralumla Yacht Club area was superb with the sunlight filtering through the magnificent big trees, elegant black swans gliding by, bobbing boats and the shimmering lake. During the evening the candles glowed while the lights sparkling across the lake created a very romantic atmosphere, and we all had an incredible time – everyone said it was the happiest wedding they had ever been to! (I agree – though I might be biased!)

It is indeed a beautiful thing to watch young love bloom and grow into a deeper level of caring, friendship and passion for a life of shared dreams and goals!

It was really a very special and beautiful occasion in our lives, and we feel very blessed to have shared it with all our loved ones. The bride looked stunning…and so did the groom! Our other two sons were also in the wedding party so it was a true family affair. Photos are still arriving and all are beautiful. Thanks to all those who sent your good wishes and blessings for this special event, all those positive vibes for sunshine certainly worked!

Insidious Anxiety

 Anxiety is one of those insidious things…it just quietly creeps into your life, and before you realize it, becomes a familiar pattern of reactions to certain situations, and you find yourself just doing that pattern at the first sign of anything going differently to how you wanted it to.

 So in any ‘stressful situation’ eg: a job interview, an exam, meetings with colleagues, a dinner or party where you don’t know anyone, travelling somewhere new, getting on a plane, shopping in a strange place….the breathing becomes short and shallow, your chest feels tight, the heart rate goes up, maybe you sweat a lot or feel vague and  you lose focus and forget what you want to say, vision may become narrow and there is a feeling of panic.

 There are many other symptoms and triggers, but basically it comes down to the sympathetic nervous system kicking in (the fight, flight or freeze response) releasing all the stress hormones so you can make a quick getaway or fight for your life…neither of which you usually do in our “civilised world” where we tend to stay and conform to the normal expectations of behaviour – while simultaneously churning away inside!  So, you are left with these powerful stress neurochemicals pumping through your blood and organs, creating havoc because they are not being released in a satisfactory manner, instead they are just irritating your cells and destroying the natural balance and functioning of your body.

 So your heart rate goes up, blood pressure rises, teeth grind and clench, neck and shoulders become tight and lead to headaches, digestive system gets unbalanced – maybe diarrhoea or constipation, – or both with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), bodies become tight and tense and find it hard to relax and go to sleep, mind is racing rehashing every scenario…on and on it goes. And we end up wound-up, stressed and anxious. We need to break the pattern with a new one that is more pleasant and, more powerful.

 Some people wait until they are in physical pain before they come along. So then it is often good to start with Bowen/NST therapy to help the body relax and unwind some of the tension and chronic ‘holding’ within the muscles and joints. This softening allows people to move more normally, get better sleep, and feel good because they are no longer in pain.

Or, maybe they come to yoga to learn how to stretch and breathe to release the tension out of their body and mind. Once they reconnect with their body and their breath, they are suddenly back in the drivers seat of their body and mind again, knowing that they can change the way they feel through changing their breathing and posture.

The yoga and body therapy are both backed up by the potent effects of mindset coaching, and learning how to use our mind to ‘change our state’ and create what we want to feel and think, when we want to feel it.

I am still in awe of how everything blends together so well, and can be tailored to suit each clients and the particular situation. They can be used as stand alone treatments for some people, or in conjunction with medications and other therapies. The main thing is for people to realize that they are not alone, and that there is a wonderful array of different strategies to help people feel better about themselves and their life.

 Here is a link to the Beyond Blue website for some Anxiety in the workplace info. http://www.beyondblue.org.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/bey1233-mental-health-week-2013-edm.jpg?sfvrsn=2

Coconut Queen

The New Coconut Queen !

Well I have become the Coconut Queen lately, having recently been advised to go on a restrictive diet for a period of time to help my digestive system repair. So – No SUGAR! gluten, dairy, starches. I must admit I thought to myself …”What is left??”

It was quite interesting to observe my mind doing all sorts of tricks while I was in the transition phase. It was the classic case of being so focused on what I couldn’t have – all I could think about was everything I shouldn’t and couldn’t have – It nearly did my head in!! And a timely reminder of “you get what you focus on” – once I changed to thinking about what I could have, everything changed in my head and I was a lot more relaxed!

By week 2 I had found a bunch of interesting recipes, filled the fridge with lots of the right fresh food and realised that I was now focused on what I could have, and was feel quite happy with the range of food and also surprisingly satiated. I have always been more of a grazer, so I have a supply of healthy nibbles and different nuts I have made up to keep the munchies at bay. I have also embraced the making of fresh almond milk, and everything coconut! I don’t know if you have been in out to Fyshwick markets lately, there are so many amazing coconut products in the Health Food shop there!

Anyway, I have been using coconut oil for cooking and my skin for years, and love it – it is so good for your body, mind and skin. However, there are now so many other ways to use it I thought I’d share a few with you. Coconuts are so full of health benefits. The old fashioned idea that it was full of bad saturated fats was based on the processed and fractionated coconut oil which was pretty bad for humans. However, now that they use the pure organic oil, it has proved to be very useful for many health complaints and promotes internal and external healing. Coconuts are manufactured into many forms these days too – as an oil, a milk or cream, a delicious juice full of wonderful nutrients that reportedly help rehydrate your body after exercise even better than those horrible coloured sports drinks. Coconut sugar which has many nutrients as well as a slightly caramel flavour – not just empty calories, so is a great boon for your cup of tea. Coconut flour is great for gluten free recipes and very tasty and nutritious.

Toiletries: Now you can buy coconut soap, shampoo and conditioner, body lotions and massage blends.

 

 Hair care: Coconut oil can be massaged into hair for a wonderful hair treatment and into scalp to stimulate hair growth and can be combined with essential oils for added benefits. A tiny amount can also be run through your fingers onto the hair as an inexpensive alternative to the now popular hair serums for shiny hair or to reduce frizz. You may have to experiment to find the right amount so it is shiny and it not too oily.

Skin: The small molecular structure of coconut oil allows for easy absorption through the skin, giving it a soft, smooth texture. It makes an ideal ointment for the relief of dry, rough and wrinkled skin. Psoriasis and eczema suffers often see great improvements in these distressing conditions.

Pure organic virgin coconut oil is the best natural ingredient for skin lotion available. It prevents destructive free-radical formation and provides protection against them.

Can be used on haemorrhoids topically to give relief (try with a drop of lemon essential oil to help shrink the vein).

Mums and Babies: Can be used on mum’s nipples and baby’s mouth to treat thrush. Also a great baby lotion for skin, nappy rash and cradle cap. Good on perineum after birth.

 Banished artery clogger is redeemed!For years since late 50’s we were told it was a terrible thing to have any coconut oil in our diet as it was a saturated fat that would clog our arteries and cause heart disease.  Research has has since proved this untrue as it is free of cholesterol and trans fats and contains high levels of lauric acid one of  the good fats for regulating cholesterol ratios. It is sometimes said to be a bit of a ‘conspiracy theory’ from some of the dairy and other oil industries who were making lots of money from margerine and highly processed vegetable oils.

Coconut oil has become very popular as a food too, being added liberally to stir fries, salads, sauces and dressings, smoothies and juices, snacks and treats, meals adding extra nutrients and flavor and supposedly helping to unclog our arteries. Can even be mixed with chia seeds and crushed nuts for an energy boosting snack!

There are many reports that regular use of coconut oil in the diet can help assist with weight loss because it has a boosting effect on metabolism. Helps with thyroid conditions, inflammation, cancer, diabetes, malabsorption syndromes, skin infections, gut problems, low energy levels…the list goes on and on.

Apparently coconut oil sales went up over 50% in the UK when  Miranda Kerr said in an interview that she took 3 tablespoons of organic coconut oil every day – in her green tea, smoothies, on salads and steamed vegies, in her cooking etc and she rubbed it over her skin everyday and credited it with helping her avoid stretch marks during her pregnancy.

I personally use it on my skin most days, and add it to my smoothies and cook in it most nights due to the high heat/smoke factor when cooking (it doesn’t turn into transfats)

Another interesting fact is the research in to Alzheimers – there were dramatic improvements in the affected persons ability to draw a clockface (one of the sections of the testing) after only a few days of person taking a tablespoon or 2 a day!!! There is a lot of research into brain function exploring the  benefits many essential fats including Coconut oil (remember the movie Lorenzos oil?)

Here are a couple of links to research papers, there are plethora of sites with information on the many uses and research data on coconut oil.http://coconutoil.com/peer_reviewed/   http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/Coconut%20Research-Coconut%20Research%20Center.pdf  it makes fascinating reading…and can perhaps help you find a very cheap and easy solution to some of your health issues.

 

Christmas Musings

Well here we are, the last month of  2013 is here. How has your year been?

Have you done all those things you wanted to do? Are you frantically trying to finish off those goals and promises you made to yourself? Or are you just avoiding thinking about it? J

 Keep Calm! Just remember it is okay, whatever is happening in your life right now, you can only focus on getting what needs to be done in order of priority. Make these last few weeks of work and school before Xmas as good an experience as possible, so you don’t arrive at Christmas Day a mental and emotional wreck and totally exhausted! Remember – it is supposed to be a fun time of year!

In the mean time, you just  need to keep calm… and enjoy the whole lead up to the Christmas season’!

Gratitude: Take some time to think about and feel grateful for some of the amazing things you saw, funny things you did or heard, great or little things you achieved, fantastic people you met, beautiful moments you shared with friends or family or in nature.

I often look back through my mind and just see faces smiling and laughing as I remember all the funny moments I shared with family, friends and clients during the year, and all the special moments in nature just “being” and soaking in its beauty– gorgeous sunsets from our deck or when driving home, my spring garden which pretty much does its own thing and still looks amazing (and makes me look like a great gardener!) walks on the beach, sleeping near the beach and hearing the waves rolling in and out,  watching our faithful, funny dog do her little antics, waking up to the birdsong outside our window, cuddles with my kids, connecting with old friends, enlightening conversations, learning cool new things, snuggles on the couch and talking with and listening to my husband, reading uplifting books and quotes, teaching yoga –(one of my favourite things to do) and sharing all the wonderful experiences that people have in class!  I feel blessed to have had such an amazing year!

I always notice that my favourite memories are never really material things like clothes or cars or “stuff “. I guess it is experiences that are more intangible, more of an emotional buzz and a feeling in my heart that bring me the most joy.

 Time to Connect! Plan to catch up with your friends, go to some of the parties or celebrations that you think you will enjoy without wearing your self out going to everything. Get your gift shopping done and don’t go crazy buying too much – people really want to feel a heart connection and sometimes it is nice to keep things simple and show you put some thought into your gifts. Get your presents wrapped, cards sent – have you noticed that you don’t seem to get as many Christmas cards anymore? People tend to do the quick and easy email or Facebook shout-outs and videos…I guess as things keep changing, we keep changing too.  And as long as we keep in touch in some way with loved ones that is the most important thing!

 The Joy of Giving: Let us all remember to give to some money or food or presents to those wonderful charities that help those less fortunate enjoy Christmas as well. Or reach out to someone who is lonely or in need of some support and include them in some of your celebrations or give them a gift or some of your time helping them in some way that will show you care.

Get into the spirit of giving and sharing and gathering with others. I am so looking forward to having all my boys and my ‘DIL – daughter-in-love’ (sounds so much better than daughter in law) home to share our little rituals and help each other prepare our favourite foods and treats and just relax and savour sharing time and being together. It is relaxing, happy and low key, and that is how we all like it. Boxing Day is my husband’s birthday, so we have to keep that spirit of celebration energy going that bit longer so he still gets to have some treats and feel special on his day!

Love, Light and Blessings at Christmas and Always,

Namaste,

 Suzie

The many faces and places of Dru yoga:

Some of you have asked about other classes that I teach… so I just thought I would let you know about some of the incredible opportunities I have been given to share the benefits and joys of Dru yoga with the wider community in this past few months, above and beyond the regular weekly classes.

* College: Currently I am running a Stress Management Program at one of the colleges for the Grade 12 students…I was rather surprised at the seriousness of the stress related problems in these beautiful young people. So it has been amazing seeing them relax with the yoga and breathing, learning some success principles for living a positive life and just enjoying being calm inside their own bodies.

The students have all felt less anxious, more able to handle stressful situations such as exams, found it easier to fall asleep etc. Knowing how to manage your own stress and anxiety levels is a wonderful skill for life. I heard one girl say “the worst thing about this class is that it ends! I never want it to stop I just feel so good during the class”.Another said “this is the best thing I have learnt all year at school” and another said that he “now knew how to manage his anxiety before exams using the breathing techniques.” Young people have so much to deal with these days, and not always a strong network of friends or family group to support them. So the gift of yoga is really a skill for life.

Young woman doing Warrior pose

I would love this program to spread into all the colleges and high schools because it actually works and has a positive longterm impact. Some of the primary schools have classes for the little kids, which is great. Unfortunately for a lot of older students, cost is an issue. So if you have any contacts, connections, generous benefactors or ideas on how to access funds or funding to support a program at one of the schools – please call me! It will make a powerful impact on young lives.

* Disabilities: I am also teaching a delightful group of people with varying disabilities including brain injuries, strokes, severe autism and Downs syndrome. It is such a joy to teach these people, of all ages, who just laugh and joke and are totally present in the moment.

* Teens: And I have just been asked to do a program for young teen mums to help them with some coaching and life skills, and learning how to relax and manage their stress with Dru yoga.

* Carer’s: The weekly class on Tuesdays has become a bit of a lifeline for the regulars, they love knowing they have somewhere to come and “just be” and to have time out to breathe, stretch, laugh and truly relax with other lovely people. They all have such big, patient, kind hearts and live such complicated lives helping those they love and care for, I feel honoured to be able to provide a sanctuary for them, even if only for a short while each week.

* Alzheimers: A 4 week program on Mindfulness and Relaxation for the carers of people with Alzheimers …

So, as you can see, it is a very exciting and surprising journey that yoga teaching is giving me. I never quite know what to expect when I answer the phone!

If you would like to organise a one off session, or a program for yourself, your workplace – a Personal Development Day/Team Building/Stress Management and Wellbeing sessions, or if you know of a support group or organisation that would benefit from such programs, please feel free to call or email so we can tailor make sessions to suit your specific group. It is so worth it!