Learning how to be a yogi at Wanderlust 2015.

My Nan did yoga until well into her 80s and mum has been doing it for over 40 years. My dad claims to have been an avid yogi in the 70s but none of us have seen one pigeon pose. He claims it’s all in his mind. I have an on/off affair with yoga. I did it every day in July but only 3 times since then. Oops. So while I’m super excited to be joining the Wanderlust tribe I have been a little apprehensive as to experiencing yogues full time for 4 days.

Day one. I’m a newbie. My buddy isn’t turning up till Day 3 so I’m lurging looking for new yoga friends – anyone? I used to feel really uncomfortable meeting new people (networking guide blog coming in November) but Ive found the more you do it the easier it gets and luckily for me yoga folk are super friendly especially the Wanderlust team.

I kick off with some meditation under a tee-pi. Clear head. Tick. Done. 5 year old Bec is drawn to the hula-hoop dancing session. And after about half an hour of awkward thrusting,  wiggling & whacking my comrades with my hoop –  I got it! Look, it’s not something I’ll be doing back on Bondi beach but it was fun.

sup
SUP yoga. Awesome workout. Wear sunscreen. Don’t eat Mexican before

Hungry, all I could find in a hurry was Mexican which was NOT a good idea before SUP (stand up paddleboard) yoga. I’d been hanging out to try this for a while. And it was HARD. Good hard but I was the first to schimmy sideways (gracefully) into the water after a very tricky warrior pose gone wrong and let me tell you the Mexican swirling about in my tummy did not help. But I loved it & will definitely do it again. I joined the press conference at the end of the evening with a delightful sunset backdrop over Twin Waters, Novotel. It dawned on me what a massive feat it must be to curate, design and engineer this festival. I can’t wait for tomorrow.

Day 2.

First a confession. I am one of those annoying early bird types. I kicked off today at 5am hiking up a steep path to Mt Coolum to discover serene pano views. I slip slid my way back down the hill to join a Surf 101 class.Surfing The sea had more motion in it than my washing machine on a heavy cycle but the crew created an awesome yoga / mindfulness blend with a  surf lesson – my brain even recalled how to stand up on the board and I fell in love with surfing all over again. Full of ‘must get back into this when I get home’ type feelings.

Next up I chose to listen to Lola Berry (a well-known nutrition personality in Australia) talk about keeping an eye out for nasties in your food. The worst one – for those of you who drink ‘diet’ anything was the chemical 951 – it’s absolute poison. Ugh what are we doing putting this stuff in our bodies! Another super interesting point and I know many of you might relate – is getting a little too obsessed with one type of super food, O-ding on it and sometimes even forming an allergy. Guilty! I did this by having kale every day for a year in my green smoothies. It sounds so simple but variety is the spice of life right? Just because bone broth is awesome doesn’t mean we need to have it everyday.

Jam packed @ Wanderlust 'Mothership' Asana class with Duncan Peak from Power Living
Jam packed @ Wanderlust ‘Mothership’ Asana class with Duncan Peak from Power Living

The afternoon was spent in three 90 minute yoga classes back to back. Yes three. No time for any leisurely Mexican today.  If I’m honest, today all I ate was protein bars – hmm not sure what Lola would say about those  nourishment options. I’ve done enough hip opening and ‘attempted’ crows to last me till Christmas. The yogatainment was in full force with how to workshops, bends and mantras giving me the realisation that there is a lot more to yoga than a simple downward dog.

There’s heaps of cool music tonight but I’m exhausted and this early bird needs to be ready for tomorrow’s 630am meditation on the beach. Tweet tweet. Time to press the activewear!

 

Day 3,Meditation

Another perfectly stunning day on the Sunshine Coast. Kicking off the day at 630am with a standout visualisation meditation from Swami G. I know this isn’t everyone’s cuppa tea but if you can handle sitting on a picture perfect beach and taking a few deep breaths in and out you would cope.

AcroyogaNext up was Acroyoga for beginners. Let’s just say I won’t be signing up for Cirque de Soleil  anytime soon. It’s really interesting to observe the ego during challenging new experiences like this where it’s easy to compare yourself to others or ‘wish’ you could be better. I managed a half flying something and while it wasn’t pretty it did feel pretty cool and the best bit is playing like a kid again and not taking everything so seriously!

Sampled a ‘living pizza’ today. Yes all raw, organic, GF, DF etc etc. It tasted delicious. Pity my stomach didn’t really agree so much.

Some cool chats about self-love, managing positive and negative core beliefs and a sneaky nana nap on the beach before a final 90 minute class on setting intentions and rocking a few vinyasa moves to Fat Freddy’s drop (all the classes have DJs most of which are kiwis  – only the best!).

I’m so tight from all the downward dogging and planking I could hardly pop my left hip while listening to the legendary sounds of Donovan Frankenreiter – a free massage tent is probably a good idea for a sponsor next year.

Day 4,

The 'Tentipi'. Photo by Sarah Vercoe Photography
The ‘Tentipi’. Photo by Sarah Vercoe Photography

Wow. That was an awesome experience. Here’s what I learnt after 4 days of Wanderlusting on the Sunshine Coast.

  • I really enjoy yoga and the zen zone it gives me (could’ve been tricky otherwise)
  • Ayurveda translates to the science of life. I loved the thought that everything in life is food – all you take in you absorb. Consider what you are digesting and surrounding yourself with.
  • Totally agreed with the concept taught to students from Duncan Peak of Power Living Confrontation with expectation  is manipulation. Confrontation without compassion is abuse.
  • Keep your eye out for Teff – it’s going to be the new super food.
  • There are three parts to your shoulders – thanks Amy Ippoliti from yogaglo.com. It’s change how I look at posture. Stand proud like a toddler.
  • Noticing my ego during a yoga dance class telling myself I looked like a fruit loop then getting over myself & enjoying the experience so much more.
  • Sharing Wanderlust with a wonderful friend was a real bonus as was having time on my own to process ‘stuff’ and met some really lovely folk.
  • The heart has it’s own version ‘brain’ according to research done by HeartMath is the U.S.  They’ve also found our heart  communicates via electromagnetic field interactions with our brain that can be detected 5 or 6 feet away. Fascinating.  More.
  • There are some really strong, flexible, talented young women out there providing awesome role models for women of all ages.
  • While my pigeon may’ve improved, my crow and headstands are very much still a work in progress and I’m happy to leave acroyogues to the experts.
  • It’d be awesome to see more guys at these events. There are just as many classes which would appeal to blokes who like keeping in shape.
  • Blogging everyday is intense but satisfying.
  • I love the Sunshine Coast. The temperature, the beaches, the vibes. Hello #happyplace.
  • Don’t leave dropping off your hire car till the last minute. My zen momentarily disappeared as I realised I had 5 minutes to drop the rental car off at a closed office, with no where to leave the key a bit down the road from the airport. Sprinting to the departure gate was er… exhilarating.
  • After one of these events you always make big claims about all that yoga, surfing, meditation and Qi Dong you’re going to squeeze in. I’m being realistic as I plan these into the week and having a yoga buddy to hold me accountable will also help when I get a case of excusesology.
Amy Ippoliti and those shoulders. Photo by Sarah Vercoe Photography
Amy Ippoliti and those shoulders. Photo by Sarah Vercoe Photography

The team at Wanderlust produced an incredible festival. If you like yoga, wellness, meditation, cool tunes and want to get out of your routine then definitely consider checking out one of their upcoming festivals. You don’t have to do 4 days – there are day passes but I think at least two day is ideal  to fully soak up the vibe and stretch out your body and mind in a fun, supportive, open, friendly community vibe. I’ll definitely be back.

 

Photo by Ali Kaukas
Photo by Ali Kaukas

The un-packing of self-acceptance

packI’ve noticed a lot of unpacking going on lately. Not the kind my Poppa knew –  the unpacking of his caravan and setting up of the campsite which invariably took a good day by the time he’d set up the awning, toaster, Nana’s gin cabinet and his beer fridge. Rather unpacking in the sense of demystifying a term, breaking down a concept or explaining an over inflated thought.

A mentor recently asked me to unpack my concept of self-belief, there was more unpacking at The Happiness & Its Causes conference than I could shake a stick at and I can only imagine the amount of unpacking going down at my old haunts of ad agencies,  telco and financial institutions.

So while I chuckled to myself about all the unpacking, I noticed it had sneakily weaved its way into my vocabulary. And I must confess I love a good process and unpacking has pillars and steps a-plenty!  So today I’m getting on board with the jargon & I’m unpacking SELF-ACCEPTANCE.

 

 

The Self-Acceptance Formula.

  1. Self-acceptance is an acceptance of your  self in it’s entirety (the good, the bad and the awesome) or Nathaniel Braden explains in The Six Pillars of Self Esteem “my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship with myself.”
  2. The Latin for the word “accept” is “acceptare,” which means “to receive, willingly.” Simple question – do you accept yourself as you are? Here are the steps to check if you do.
  3.  Do you know the difference between your ego and your unconditioned self? Your ego developed during your childhood to help cope with demands of being in a family, going to school etc and you learnt you needed to behave in a certain way to receive approval from your parents. Your unconditioned self is who you are without all the labels from the outside world.  To practice acceptance you must get to know and love your unconditioned self and not cater to the ego which will constantly be trying to be ‘fixed’.
  4.  How critical are you? We are usually our own worst critic (often misinterpreted as high standards) translating into you are not good enough which tells a very bad story for your self esteem. How judgmental are you? The amount of judgement we place towards others is a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves.   Practice forgiveness and compassion towards yourself and others.  We all make mistakes and have parts of ourselves which at times cause us to feel shame but we are just human and to live a life where you never accept, learn and move on from these perceived weaknesses will keep you stuck in the brenepast.
  5.  Do you accept all of your strengths?  Most of us struggle to ‘shine’ at what we’re really great at because we’re afraid of who we might need to bare all. But accepting our talents be they a brilliance for logic, excellence for listening or being unafraid of vulnerability is an essential step for self-acceptance and will allow you to see limitations as opportunities rather than as obstacles.
  6.   “True self-acceptance is the realization that you are what you seek” Robert Holden. Make a conscious effort to put it practice TSAF (had to make up an acronym!)  & see the results. Right now acknowledge 3 strengths you have which have contributed to something awesome you have done in the last month. And equally practice a conscious acceptance of a choice or action which you haven’t always loved about yourself but you know is part of who you are. Note down 5 ways you are not being very kind to yourself at the moment and counter balance that with 5 ways which you can be.   Remind yourself “I will not criticise myself today” and “Happiness is where I am”.

If this all sounds far too flufforama for you that’s  o.k. but why not spend a day observing your internal dialogue & seeing how nice and kind you are to yourself. If you are that is awesome! If not, perhaps something to consider.

I’m running The Direction Momentum workshop again where we get a bit  more in depth on our good  self. It’s on Tuesday 28th of July down in Bondi.

Sign up for some lovin’ this Valentine’s Day.

So, yes yes it’s Valentine’s Day this week. And as the smug happy loved up ones prepare in excitement and the not so in love ones make plans to avoid it, I decided to go on a completely different tangent and make a big deal of SELF LOVE. Before you barf in a bucket or think I’m going on some vain rant please hear me out.

A quick google revealed a few stories around the origins of Valentine’s Day but the most consistent is based on a Roman priest from around the 3rd century who allowed soldiers to be married against the Emperor’s law. He was martyred and later canonized. The first actual  Valentine’s Day card professing one keen punters true love however was not send until around 1840.

Controversially this Saturday I’m proposing we all take a little moment for ourselves –  whether you’re loved up with someone or not – give yourself some self-love time.  Without sounding particularly dodgy or suggesting you buy yourself a new Audi Quattro or Tiffanys earrings let me explain.

Every week I meet many resilient, good looking, smart men and women single and in relationships who often appear very self-confident. However somewhere along the way they have decided that they are not worthy or loveable and look for ‘evidence’ to help prove their point – “No one looked at me at the pub” “I never heard back from that chick, I must be a loser”, “I’m not smart enough to have my own business”   and they build up a big database of ‘facts’ to fall back on when rationalising their situation. And then when someone does say something nice about them it means the absolute world because they are in a habit of looking for external validation to make themselves feel good.

And how do I know all this so well? Yes, from my clients but also that was most certainly me for quite a long period in my twenties and early thirties.

I would cringe when people said ‘you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else’, I would run if people said ‘just start by loving yourself’ and eventually I gave in and just said yeah, of course I do. But like a wise woman or two have told me it is not what you say but it is the action you take that counts.

And when I look back, those actions they were not too great. I loved to go out, have too many vinos and then become ‘entertainment on wheels’ by getting people to laugh at my ridiculous stories of encounters with blokes, a faux pas at work or just a general public embarrassment like walking around the city with my skirt tucked into my undies.  I loved the laughs I received, the validation I felt from making people say “Oh my god Bec, you are hysterical” and the popularity I felt.

speakself

The problem with this was over time these stories were wearing down the Bec love. Every single bad word/story I said about myself my ego heard. Like a good quote I read the other day “Be careful what you say about yourself, you are listening”. And my mind didn’t get to hear it just once. Oh no, I have a large circle of lovely friends across the globe so each story was retold like a stuck record numerous times.  And as we know the survival part of our mind absorbs negative thoughts like Velcro and any positives are like Teflon which allowed the old ego to gather plenty of repetitive evidence over time to say Bec, you are not worthy of your own lovin’. While others were being entertained I was starting to feel like rubbish.

I was also not ‘being’ true to myself about what I really wanted to do in terms of career. I stayed in a ‘safe’ job for years but I knew it wasn’t where my passion lay and I felt disappointed and frustrated with myself that I didn’t have the guts to get on with something I found more fulfilling.  I was also trying to gain the approval of others close to me to ‘do the right thing’. Worrying about getting approval from others is very debilitating.  As I read somewhere once  – the amount of approval you require from others is in direct correlation to how you feel about your own self-worth. The less you have for yourself the more you require from others.

Once I let go of trying to be the entertainment dolly bird and getting approval from everyone (self-acceptance is a big part of this but that’s another blog topic) and focused on what was going to make me truly happy in a career and then actually doing the gutsy out of comfort zone stuff that made me proud, the self-love and respect slowly began to build. Becoming more mindful and present, taking good of my body, staying centered and holding myself to my values and boundaries all contributed. Going a little easier on myself when life wasn’t going to plan, being open to learn from my mistakes and surrounding myself with ultra supportive family and friends were key too. It’s very much still all a work in progress but the self-love odometer is look a lot healthier. Though yes, I still share the odd ridiculous story now and then. You have to be able to laugh at yourself right?

But wait. Isn’t all this self-love getting a bit selfish, self-centered, self-absorbed and self-oriented? Sure, there are some folk who can take it a little far, giving themselves a sense of entitlement and being unable to learn from their failures. However for the majority of us the more self-love you have, the more you encourage others around you to express themselves in a similar light, allowing for healthier relationships and welcoming in people and situations which support you on your life project.  It’s a win-win.

So this Saturday set aside some time for thinking about where your self-love is at. Does it need some tweaking or re-engineering? I know of a few friends who have a good half hour of self-love every morning (!) with exercise, journaling or meditating just to keep them focused and centered especially when they are feeling a bit off balance. As a famous kiwi icon Rachael Hunter said (in a Pantene ad no less) “It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen”.

Valday