Challenge your beliefs

One of the hardest things to swallow in India (no, not chickpeas for breakfast which were rather delicious) was understanding that ‘being right’ is just misidentifying with your ego. That the need to be right isn’t truly important and that being right doesn’t necessarily make you happy. Can you see why I am no longer a practising lawyer? ; ) Defining yourself as being smart and intelligent causes more separation between people as it can lead to the belief that you are more capable and therefore more valuable in this life than others are. (Ironic that today is GCSE results day in the UK.) And it also separates you from seeing your true Self which is more, so much more, than just brain power and your mind.

A dear friend of mine posted a book[1] to me today which challenges the belief that the basis of yoga postures (the Asanas) comes from ancient Indian teachings. This friend told me some months ago that she had bought this book for me for my birthday back in May but that her husband had gently suggested that it could be offensive to me as someone who had only just returned from India and Yoga Teacher Training, and who has in the last 10 months ‘bought in’ fully to the yogic lifestyle and teaches it to others for a living! I can understand his apprehension not only for those reasons but also because I can be a bit of a hot head at times and will stridently defend myself, my ego and others to the death even if I am slightly wrong, or well, sometimes actually completely wrong! And I smiled to myself when I read the back cover as my initial reaction was to immediately marshall my defence that for a start the premise of the book appears to be wrong as traditional Yoga is not just about the Asanas which are actually the smallest part of a yogic lifestyle but this isn’t me trying to be right before opening the first page up… it isn’t…it isn’t…

Before my travels last year and before embracing Yoga I was at a spiritual dead end. I believed in science, in the Big Bang, and that there was no God. I felt irritated when friends and family got married in Church for tradition when they never attended Church otherwise.  I felt frustrated and challenged when friends and family asked me to be a godmother to their children because it meant I had to go through a performance of renouncing the devil and accepting the one true Lord Jesus Christ when I didn’t believe in that. It was the principle of the thing. Yes, it was my ego and my need to be principled and right, and yes, I got over myself on all of those occasions, wore a fascinator and smiled and enjoyed the ceremony (and my fairy godmother wings).

Despite my cynicism or realism (depending on your personal perspective), I did sometimes envy those with a faith. I imagined it would be helpful during more difficult times to have the support of a religion and a community and to give up that sense of purpose to a greater power, to a God. For me, I imagined it would make death easier to digest for sure.

When I trundled off to India to explore yoga I had a few things in my mind that I thought I would achieve – the ability to do a headstand and more of an understanding of why I felt a little calmer and less stressed after a yoga session. I did not envisage I would become a yoga teacher, would happily chant Hare Krishna in a darkened room, pour salt water in one nostril and out the other, become spiritual or become a vegetarian. And of all those things I think the vegetarianism would have been the most hard to believe!

As you know and as I continue to preach – Yoga has changed my life. It’s changed my health, my heart, my body, my happiness, my eating habits, my career, and my residential abode. It has also showed me that each living being is a perfect creation of energy in whatever form (human, dog, cat, cow) and that we all share this life, this World and we are all equal in our right to be here. That each of us is just trying to find our own way of living peacefully and happily.

Yoga science believes the sound of the Big Bang is OM and that there is energy or a light which runs through everything and connects us all. You can interpret this to be God or the Divine, or just simply the energy of the Universe, the energy that created the Universe and everything around us – man, woman, child, & tree. It is this light that we acknowledge with the greeting Namaste -an opportunity to acknowledge that we are all equal (energetically speaking).

Yoga has opened me up spiritually. And Yoga has done all of this for me because I have let it. I have allowed myself to open up to a science and to a disciplined lifestyle where I am kinder to my body and mind. I have faith in the process, I have faith in myself and that’s the key with Yoga – it is a lifestyle which can be followed by everyone but it is different for each of us. We will interpret it differently and share the experience with others differently. There is no one way of Yoga nor is there one way of teaching it.

One of the lessons I am continuing to remind myself is that life is a journey and not a destination and that we never stop learning. People will challenge you, educate you, hurt and disappoint you, or fill your heart with joy but you are always responsible for your reactions. Being wrong bruises your ego. But a bruised ego is just that, a bruising but you can turn it into a sh1tty day, month or even a decade if you over-attach yourself to the trauma.

I hope to get around to reading this book from my friend which appears on the face of it to challenge my teachings and challenge what I have learned so far about the origins of Yoga from my Guru in India who I deeply respect. However, whatever is in this text, whatever is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ this book cannot take away my faith in Yoga which has brought out the best in me. Call me brainwashed, call me naïve or a cliché, whatever you like, but I am happy. And I am always willing to learn more, to be wrong however uncomfortable that may make my ego.

Namaste

[1] Yoga Body The Origins of Modern Posture Practice by Mark Singleton

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Stress Management Workshop 25 September 2016

Stress Management Workshop – 25 September 2016 2pm-5pm

Alternative therapy and lifestyle tips for reducing stress and anxiety in your life

Renewed You Yoga and Massage Therapy Rooms by Aimee warmly invite you to our Stress Management Workshop on Sunday 25th September 2016 from 2pm-5pm.  During this relaxing afternoon event, you will be guided through a selection of holistic therapy taster sessions including restorative yoga, massage therapy, reflexology and mindfulness practices.  Join in an interactive seminar discussing stress and anxiety, our triggers, and stress management techniques, followed by a Q&A and guided group meditation. You’ll also receive information on nutrition and wellbeing tips with tea and tasty nutritional treats.

Stress affects us all – whatever age we are, whatever our occupation, male or female, and whether we already suffer from physical or mental health conditions. Stress manifests itself in all sorts of ways – you may suffer from headaches, sore eyes, high blood pressure, weight gain, tiredness, sleeping problems and insomnia, depression, tight and sore muscles, or many other physical and emotional symptoms. This workshop will provide you with new and alternative ideas to help heal and soothe your body and mind to reduce and perhaps even eliminate some of the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

Workshop Itinerary

1:45 Registration at the Argyle Tennis Club

2:00 Welcome

2:15-3:00 Taster session of either: (1) Restorative Yoga (2) Indian Head Massage (3) Reflexology (4) Mindfulness Practice

3.10-3:40    Interactive seminar on ‘What is Stress and how to relieve it?’

3:45-4:30 Taster session of either: (1) Restorative Yoga (2) Indian Head Massage (3) Reflexology (4) Mindfulness Practice

4:35-5:00 Guided meditation and Q&A with our Holistic Therapists.

Tickets and how to book

Spaces for this event are limited to 20 people. Each ticket is £20 payable in full in advance via PayPal to LGYogaSouthport@gmail.com (please contact Liz if you require an alternative method of payment).

Your ticket entitles you to one 45 minute Restorative Yoga session with Liz and either one of the following:

  • A) 15 minute Taster Indian Head Massage with Aimee; or
  • B) 15 minute Taster Reflexology session with Aly; or
  • C) 20 minute Mindfulness session (in pairs) with Sian.

Please provide us with your order of preference of ‘A- Massage’, ‘B-Reflexology’ and ‘C-Mindfulness’ when booking your place with us. Preferences cannot be guaranteed and will depend on availability when paying your deposit as these sessions will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

Where are we?

We will be hosting this Stress Management Workshop at the Argyle Tennis Club, Argyle Road, Southport, PR9 9LH (Parking is available on site).

Working together, Liz Goulder (Renewed You Yoga) and Aimee Leighton (Massage Therapy Rooms by Aimee), alongside Sian Parry (Mindfulness with Sian, Mindful, Kindful Living) and Aly Linaker (Holistic Therapist) look forward to meeting you and sharing tips, advice and practical techniques on how to improve your health and wellbeing.

 

Second Indian Satsang – A Celebration of Light

Indian Satsang – A Celebration of Light

Saturday 8th October 2016. 6:15pm – 9:30pm

Following the ‘peaceful’, ‘fun’ and ‘informative’ Indian Summer Satsang in June 2016, Renewed You Yoga and Solace are proud to host a second Indian Satsang in Southport on Saturday 8th October 2016. Join us for a 75 minute Akhanda Hatha yoga class and a traditional Indian Vegetarian Thali for supper with Satsang to celebrate the Festival of Light.

A healthy lifestyle comes from more than just physical exercise but from a healthy and balanced diet. Liz was taught by her Guru, Yogrishi Vishvketu, that Yoga begins in the kitchen! Yoga is a science and a way of living your life – to find balance and peace in your body, mind and soul. Join us for a traditional Hatha yoga class as taught in the foothills of the Himalayas followed by a healthy, nutritious and simply delicious vegetarian Indian Thali.

Our Indian Satsang will begin at 6:15pm on Saturday 8th October 2016 with Registration. Yoga will commence at 6:30pm until 7:45pm. Dinner will be served at 8pm until 9:30pm.

Akhanda Yoga

Yoga is inclusive. This class is suitable for all levels, all ages, men and women, and all body types. Those new to yoga and those who wish to deepen their practice are welcome. This will be a small intimate class of up to 10 people only.

Traditional yoga focuses on balancing asanas (the physical postures), pranayama (breathing practices), mantra, meditation, and discussion of yogic philosophy and lifestyle. All equipment will be provided. Please wear comfortable loose clothing. Light colours are encouraged.

Further details of Liz’s Yoga classes can be found here.

Indian Seasonal Supper

A Thali is a traditional Indian meal made up of a selection of dishes. All food is vegetarian and will include two lightly spiced seasonal vegetarian curries, dhall, chapatti/paratha and rice. Supper will be accompanied with a lassi (traditional yogurt drink) and an optional glass of prosecco. Indian tea and sweet treats to end.

If you have any allergies or intolerances, then please discuss this with us before booking your place. Vegan options can be easily provided.

Satsang

Satsang is a tradition in India where students sit together with a teacher to discuss yogic philosophy and lifestyle. This is an opportunity to learn more about food, yoga, the transformative and symbolic power of fire and the Festival of Light, and share views and experiences. You will have the opportunity to submit questions for dinner table discussion before the event!

Tickets

This event is £45 with a £25 deposit required to secure your place. Deposits can be paid via PayPal to lgyogasouthport@gmail.com or contact Liz for alternative methods of payment.

Only 10 spaces are available.

More details

Mayuri will again be opening her beautiful home near Hesketh Park to host this event. Details will be provided upon booking your place.

It is our pleasure to host this event and share this experience with our guests. We were simply delighted to hear that our previous guests enjoyed themselves back in June 2016 and we look forward to offering you the same loving, relaxing and stimulating experience!

Very atmospheric, friendly, calming and relaxing yoga class followed by a yummy scrumptious Indian meal and lively chat around the table. A thank you present and doggy back of food to take home. Most excellent different way to spend a Saturday evening.” Aly

I wish I lived this side of the border!!! Thank you so much for your heart and home.” Francine

A beautiful evening starting with a calming and uplifting yoga session, warm and friendly company and ending with a heartfelt home cooked Indian meal. I left with a peaceful, grateful and open head and heart.” Aimee

Wonderful mix of relaxing restorative yoga and delicious vegetarian Indian food. Loved it!” Carolyn

I would highly recommend the Indian Summer Satsang. The venue was very welcoming and relaxing. I thoroughly enjoyed the yoga practice and it was very calming. The home cooked food was delicious. Thank you Liz and Mayuri.” Helen

5* Nothing like it around! Delighted with the evening. If you have any reservations just put your name down and work them out after the food!” Rob

Contact

If you have any queries, please feel free to contact Liz directly on lgyogasouthport@gmail.com or 07734180488.

-Namaste-

Bio

Liz is a qualified Akhanda hatha yoga teacher and prenatal yoga teacher in Southport. Liz was a practising Solicitor in London before the opportunity to travel took her to India and S E Asia for 6 months where she explored and deepened her yoga and meditation practice. Liz has spent many months in India including the vegetarian state of Rishikesh and the glamorous Goan beaches. Liz has always been a foodie and has sampled delicious vegetarian cuisine at home and abroad. She enjoys cooking at home for friends and family. Yoga changed her life and she is privileged to teach students and share practical tips for finding peace in our busy lives. Blending cooking and yoga is simply a delight.

Mayuri was born in Uganda to parents from Gujarati, India. She moved to the UK aged 3 and learned to cook authentic vegetarian Indian food with her mother, aunties and extended family from the age of 5. Mayuri was in the food industry for 5 years, cooking and hosting functions, weddings and parties in her own pub in Yorkshire. Mayuri now lives and works in Southport and continues to explore her love for food and traditional Indian cuisine.

The simple truth

Since I returned to the UK last year some of my friends from London have sporadically and independently messaged me to say that they have been inspired by me. If you read my last blog (Mirror Mirror on the Wall) you’ll know that I struggle to accept compliments and this has been by far the hardest one to swallow! But they have witnessed the changes I have made to my life in the last year, from relocating to Southport from London, from changing my career (Lawyer to Yoga Teacher), to my happiness levels (from Eeyore to Tigger), and to my openness and boldness in writing this blog – in calling myself out on my bulllsh!t, for people to read and share without fear or embarrassment (although between you and I sometimes I do hesitate before pressing ‘send’ on the odd blog post..).

I’ve had time to dwell on inspiration. On what I would like to inspire, on what my inspiration is and on what led to my transformation, and what it is that continues to help me grow. And the truth to change, to finding more peace and happiness, is to ‘be the change you wish to see in the World.’ You’ve seen that on a Facebook post right? You gotta love a cliché…

But it does start with you. It starts with the small change of making yourself happier, by slowing down and finding acceptance with yourself. It may surprise you to hear that my inspiration does not come from my Guru in India. I follow my Guru and his teachings, and I would love to spend more time learning from him again. I study and practice yoga but my real inspiration doesn’t come from a book, or a qualification, it comes from the people immediately around me. It comes from my family, my close friends and the man I am dating. It comes from my ‘normal’ life here in Southport with my students, not from the adventures I had on the other side of the World. It comes from watching those around me battle on, who hunker down in times of adversity and keep smiling, who keep hoping for more, for better. Those who don’t lose their heads, fall into self-pity (a mope is quite rightly deserved for a few people I hold dear right now) but they can’t or won’t give up. It comes from the simple things like a hug from my father, a giggle from my nephew or a twerk from my mother and sister (I think it’s genetic). It comes from the shared smiles and the intimate imperfect moments with those you love. It comes from being honest. We can all inspire each other if we slow down and be more open. So tell your loved ones you love them. Hug them a little harder. And forgive those who challenge, hurt and disappoint you.

When I started dating a friend pointed out to me that it wasn’t a bad thing to tell someone you are keen on that you are keen on them… This was a revelation. At 33. How sad is that!? But it comes from years of guarded dating in the minefield of NeverNeverLand aka London and one too many broken promises, and breaks to my heart. However, in the yoga spirit of continued growth and embracing my vulnerability I have been more open, more complimentary and more keen than cool… And it feels good. Paying someone a true and heartfelt compliment when it occurs to me (and without the expectation of a response) makes me smile. I feel good. So it’s selfish really. And that’s the other lesson I have learnt – being selfish is not selfish. It’s necessary. You have to take care of yourself first so you can then support, love and be happier for other people.

Whilst we are distracted and searching for answers in other people, in material things, in far flung exotic places then there’s a good chance you are overlooking the extraordinary that you already have right in front of your nose. My best friend feels it when she looks at her two boys. I feel it when I look out to the ocean or up to the clouds in the sky. I feel empowered, alive and grateful. But, not today. Today I am hungover and mostly feel dehydrated.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall….

In my classes this week I have been inviting my students to use positive affirmations as we move through our practice. One mantra that I use to help empower my mums-to-be in pregnancy yoga is: “I am powerful, I am beautiful, I am strong, I am enough”. I recite this to my students confidently, proudly, passionately, almost bellowing it with my enthusiasm for them to own it, feel it, to truly believe it….. sorry about that!

It’s a surprising thing for me to do really as I am the girl who cannot take a compliment! Take this as an example, a rather British rose fair-skinned friend of mine once complimented me on my natural all year round tan. In response I spluttered and launched into a long-winded practical explanation that I had been born six weeks premature, with jaundice, shoved under a UV light and therefore have a base tan and continue to tan well as a result… Her response was: “you could have just said thanks….” And she is not the only person to have heard that explanation in response to a kind remark about my complexion! Generally, when I am paid a compliment I go bright red, splutter and come up with some sarcastic self-deprecating response to explain why they are wrong. I believe people do actually pay me compliments sometimes just to revel in my entertaining awkwardness… In any event, I am working on this and for some time now I have been practising letting those automatic defences settle in my head as I look at the floor to open up and mutter a thank you…

I should also explain that I’m a not a natural receptor for positive affirmations. I dislike cheesiness. I’m Northern for a start. But despite my hard nose, I am rather sentimental and romantic but I am not into cheesy phrases and over-sized cuddly bears nor do I indulge in reading romantic poetry. I’ll take the diamonds, the champers and sincere romantic gestures – I’m basically more of a materialistic Pam Ayres than Shakespeare’s Sonnets kind of girl. I mean, if a suitor seriously said: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”…  Eh? A wet weekend in Southport? No thanks!

I’ve explained before that I’ve had issues with self-esteem and I know lots of women and men of all ages who do. I know it has been flummoxing for some people around me to understand why I did as objectively I’ve never truly had a weight problem (first year Uni bloat was due to greed and doner kebabs for midnight snacks) but even slim or skinny people have anxiety and self-image issues. No one owns insecurity and we’re all bombarded by the same media campaigns that tell us we need to work on something or buy that lipstick or tone our abs to look normal, to look good.

Accepting myself has been something I’ve tried to deal with since being an over-sensitive teenager through to being an over-sensitive 30 odd year old and it finally came to a head in India last year during my Yoga Teacher Training. I have always ALWAYS had HOT friends. Seriously hot. And smart and beautiful inside too I must quickly add. And this pattern was repeated when I met my roommate for the Yoga Teacher Training course – my dear dear soul sister Wee Beastie (that is actually what people call her). Strange name aside, Wee is beautiful. She has a quirky style, small elfin facial features, beautiful clear skin, boobs and curves but balanced on a trim athletic frame. She draws like a creative demon, has a cracking personality with sparking Scottish wit and a big old heart. You hate her too right?! ; )

We shared a room for 6 weeks and then travelled together for a wee while longer (see what I did there?). During the Yoga Teacher Training she and I faced up to a lot of our issues and for me that included standing next to her sweating like a beast in the Indian Sun without a scrap of make up on and a fringe I was growing out while she styled out her fishermans trousers and slicked her hair back into these kind of cool bunches (which I could never pull off – we must all admit our own strengths and weaknesses). In the spirit of openness and new friendship and the sheer madness of India I told her I was struggling with my self-esteem especially standing in her light and she b*llocked me, gave me a talking to, a rather suffocating hug and told me I was beautiful and needed to start to believe it.

Following that I embarked on an excruciatingly awkward campaign of using positive affirmations. I refused to put make up on to hide my face and instead each time I cleaned my teeth or washed my hands I would look in the mirror, cringe slightly at first, and then begin to stop the internal monologue of “I have spots, my nose is too big, I have bags under my eyes” and repeat with a smile: “I am as God intended.”  I couldn’t go straight for the “I am beautiful” or more poetic (obvs) of the positive affirmation spectrum but for me by letting the responsibility for my face rest in God’s hands (and I wasn’t even sure I was Spiritual at this stage either) helped me to accept myself as I am. That then took the pressure off in terms of how I could and should make myself look and feel better. Using the positive affirmation also meant I had no space for my thoughts to drift off and to start comparing myself to those I thought more naturally beautiful. And after some time, it then started to get easier to say it and then to feel it sincerely as I said it, and then I no longer needed to say it all.

I now look in the mirror most mornings with a smile. Honestly I do. I barely wear make-up now as I look at myself with far more acceptance than I used to. Over the last six months, a few people have told me I have this ‘glow’ (not the tan) and that I’m looking better than ever. Imagine how I responded to that in my head?!

In truth, I’m the same shape and size and roughly the same weight I’ve been for the last 10 years. And I still have days where my ‘issues’ will re-surface and that’s a day for big pants and an extra coat of mascara! Only the other day I let my Buddha belly hang out to the extent my Dad asked me if I had something to tell him… (I’d eaten a loaf of bread).

The real change has been in how I feel about my body. I accept it and I now take care of it.  I have less stress in my life for sure but objectively I do less cardio exercise then I ever have (I only do yoga), I do not punish my body and wish for it to change, and I no longer diet or calorie count. I take care over what I put in my body overall but I still indulge in chocolate, cake, cheese, alcohol and chips but when I do I do it guilt free. I thank my body. I respect it for what it does every day in every moment and for what it allows me to do – to walk, to breathe, to stand on my head. And I let it rest, on a mat, often with a lavender eye mask.

My little experiment with positive affirmations worked for me and it’s why I bring them into class and say them to you from my heart. I am as God intended. I am powerful. I am beautiful. I am strong. I am enough. And so are you. Just recite it. And then let yourself believe it.

New Yoga Timetable from Monday 15 August 2016

After my open day on Saturday I am pleased as punch to announce my new yoga timetable from Monday 15 August 2016!

For those of you who didn’t get chance to come down to the studio on Saturday there are now plenty more opportunities to come down for a class and relax in the secluded studio off Shakespeare Street.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Liz x

Renewed You Yoga class timetable at Southport Yoga Centre

*Starting 15 August 2016*

ALL CLASSES TO BE BOOKED AND PAID FOR IN ADVANCE

Tuesday

 

Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
10:00-11:00

 Postnatal Yoga (For mums and babies) *4 week course starting soon

10:00-11:00

Restore & Renew Yoga

9:30-10:30

 

Akhanda Yoga

12:30-13:15

 Akhanda Yoga

 

18.30-19:45

Pregnancy Yoga

18:30-19:30 

Restore & Renew Yoga

18:30-19:30

 Restore & Renew Yoga

19:00-20:00

 Akhanda Yoga

20:00-21:00

Akhanda Yoga

 

20:00-20:45

 Guided Group Meditation (2nd Weds each month)

 Prices

  • Akhanda Yoga £6.00
  • Restore & Renew Yoga £6.00
  • Lunchtime classes only £5.00 (45 minute class)
  • Pregnancy Yoga £9.00 booked in blocks of 4 classes (£36.00) and taken over a 6 week consecutive period. Alternatively, you can try your first class for £11.00
  • Postnatal Yoga £36.00 – This is a 4 week course booked advance. Dates to be announced shortly.
  • Guided Group Meditation £4.50 – next session 14 September 2016.

All classes must be pre-booked via PayPal to LGYogaSouthport@gmail.com or contact me to arrange an alternative method of payment.

Find me at the studio:

Southport Yoga Centre, Unit 6, The Shakespeare Centre, 43-51 Shakespeare Street, Southport, PR8 5AB – behind Momma’s House and follow the signs for Abase Computers.

Update (4/8/16) Free Yoga Day on Saturday 6 August 2016 at Southport Yoga Centre

Ahead of the welcome day on Saturday I have a little map to show you where I am!

Southport Yoga Centre, Shakespeare Street, PR8 5AB is on the right behind Momma’s House – just follow the signs for Abase computers  and you will see the studio.

If you’d like to join us on Saturday for free yoga, and some sweet treats then there is some availability in the following free 45 minute taster classes:

9:30-10:15 Introduction to Akhanda Yoga – Only 1 mat left
10:45-11:30 Pregnancy Yoga (Max 10) – spaces available
12:00-12:45 Restorative Yoga – only 1 mat left
2:00-2:45 Postnatal Yoga with pre-crawlers – spaces available
4.30-5:15 Restorative Yoga – only 4 mats left.
5:45-6:30 Restorative Yoga – only 4 mats left.

To book, just email me at LGYogaSouthport@gmail.com to confirm your place. You can also call or text me on 07734180488.

Liz x