Who am I?

Ten years ago I was sat on the top of the hill in my Ashram, surrounded by the serene beauty of nature, lost in deep meditation. Suddenly, tears streamed down my face as I was struck by a bolt of truth – everything I thought I knew about myself was a lie. For years, I had lived with a false identity, trying to fit into the world’s expectations, but now, in that stillness, I finally saw through the illusion. It was like being reborn, with a newfound clarity that cut through all the noise and distractions of life. I was free, finally free, to be who I truly was. And from that moment on, my perception of life was forever changed.

I realised that I devoured knowledge, thinking that maybe, just maybe, it held the key to the universe’s secrets. I earned not one, but two master’s, collected diplomas like trophies, and even learned three languages along the way. But for all my learning, I remained lost, trapped in a maze of facts and figures that left me feeling more suffocated than ever. And I realised – I wasn’t searching for knowledge, I was searching for wisdom.

I’ve been a restless traveller for as long as I can remember, chasing after the next adventure. I’ve seen sights that would make my heart sing, met wonderful people who touched me and had moments of pure, unbridled joy that left me dizzy with wonder. But no matter how incredible those moments were, they never seemed to stick around for long.

I tried to achieve different states of consciousness by using external forces. I got completely lost for a while. But everything was only temporary.

Love, or what I thought was love, became an addiction for me. I jumped in and out of relationships, both healthy and toxic, hoping that each one would finally be the missing piece of the puzzle that would make me happy. But time after time, I was left feeling hollow and unfulfilled. And that’s when I understood – the only person who could truly make me happy was me.

Sitting atop that hill, with hot cheeks and the taste of tears on my lips, I asked myself a question once more:

Who am I?

#yoga #creweyoga #yogacheshire #relaxation #mindfulness #mindbreak #yogaforstressrelief #whoami #orangelotusyoga #annasmithers

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Love Yourself First

From my experience how we love people is based on how we love ourselves. And also our perception of the world around us. Because if we don’t love and accept who we are, how can we love others?

Loving yourself is all about feeling good about who you are, inside and out. It’s a process. Here are a few steps to help you get started:
1. Embrace your unique qualities! Nobody’s perfect, and that’s okay! Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, celebrate what makes you special.

2. Take care of yourself! Eating well, getting enough sleep, and doing things that make you happy are all important for feeling good about yourself.

3. Surround yourself with positivity! Being around people who support you and lift you up will help you feel better about yourself.

4. Be confident! If you feel like someone isn’t treating you right, speak up! And don’t be afraid to say “no” if you need some time for yourself.

5. Talk to yourself like a friend! Be kind to yourself and avoid negative self-talk. Instead, try to be positive and encouraging!

6. Follow your dreams! Doing things you’re passionate about and setting achievable goals can help you feel more confident and fulfilled.

7. Use affirmations – positive statements. You can write them down every day. If you are an auditory learner, you can record your affirmations and listen to them. You may prefer to sing it, paint it, or write it on a piece of paper to keep in your pocket. It’s about you and nobody else, so record your affirmation in a way which feels good for you. But do take a moment to revisit them – one idea is to stand in front of your mirror and repeat them out loud. You can do it from three different perspectives or use your name instead for example:
I love and accept myself.
You love and accept yourself.
She/He loves and accepts himself/herself.

Remember, loving yourself takes time and effort. Be patient and don’t give up!

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Just be – practical steps.

Practical Steps for Just Being:

Mindful Breathing: Take a few moments each day to focus on your breath. The simple act of observing each inhale and exhale grounds you in the present moment. Again there are four simple techniques in my gratitude journal which we’ll go through during the workshop.

Nature Connection: You know how much I love nature. Spend time in nature without distractions. Whether it’s a walk in the park or sitting by a river, nature has a way of reminding us of the beauty inherent in stillness.

Digital Detox: Set aside designated times to disconnect from electronic devices. This allows you to be fully present in your surroundings and with those around you. I did it over Christmas and it was amazing! I would recommend it to all.

Gratitude Practice: Cultivate a sense of gratitude for the small blessings in your life. This shifts your focus from what you lack to the abundance that surrounds you. Again will show you different ways of practicing gratitude during the workshop.
Life, with all its uncertainties and complexities, becomes the sacred ground on which we can cultivate presence, mindfulness, and a deep sense of inner peace. By embracing the art of just being, we unlock the profound wisdom that lies within the present moment and allow life itself to be our most amazing teacher.

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New Year – Just Be!

As the New Year approached I got bombarded by emails where I was told I needed to do more exercises, lose weight and be happy. And it frustrates me. I’m not doing New Year’s resolutions, they never work. Your create a list of unrealistic expectations, you overload yourself, you give up after a month and you give yourself a hard time and create suffering. If you want to change something you can do it now, right now, every second of your life you can turn your life around. That’s the beauty and a miracle of life, you don’t need to wait for the New Year.

But most important you just need to be. You don’t need to do anything special, you don’t need to achieve anything, you don’t need to go anywhere. Your life is your teacher and it happens right here and right now. So just relax into it. That will be the theme for all my classes in January.
My teacher said to me once: “Your path is the road that unfolds in front of you. Not what you choose or want and also not what you plan. Your life whatever it is, is a spiritual teaching. See it that way and surrender yourself to it. Listen to life. It shows you where to go every moment of every day.” Isn’t it beautiful? So today I give you my permission just to be…

In a world that celebrates achievement and productivity, the art of just being can be easily overlooked. We are conditioned to measure our worth by our accomplishments, often forgetting that the essence of our existence lies in the simple act of being. Because only in stillness and presence do we connect with a deeper, more profound reality. Our lives unfold in a series of moments, each holding valuable lessons and insights. When we are constantly striving for the next goal or preoccupied with the past, we risk missing the teachings embedded in the current chapter of our existence.

By cultivating a non-judgmental awareness of the present moment, we can break free from the cycle of constant doing and tap into a wellspring of peace and clarity. Meditation teaches us to observe our thoughts and emotions without attachment, fostering a sense of detachment from the relentless pursuit of external validation. My favourite meditation practice is antar mouna, which means inner silence, and I’ll be sharing it during the workshop with you and encourage you to work with your mind.

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Change Part 2

Change part 2
Last month we started to talk about change. This month is part 2 of this discussion:

Changing Perception of Change

The fear of the unknown often accompanies change. We might worry about how a new situation will affect our lives, relationships, or routines. However, instead of approaching change with fear, we can choose to view it as an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. The change is not negative or positive, it just is, how we perceive it though is up to us.
Here are some ways to change your perception of change:

  • Embrace Change as a Learning Experience: Instead of resisting change, consider it an opportunity to learn about yourself and others. Every change brings a valuable lesson. It can reveal your strengths, weaknesses, and resilience. Reflect on the experiences you gain from it, and use them as stepping stones for personal development.
  • Let Go of Expectations: One common mistake people make is expecting change to be either entirely positive or negative. In reality, change often comes with a mix of good and bad, ease and difficulty. By letting go of preconceived notions and embracing the uncertainty of change, you open yourself up to a more flexible and adaptive mindset. This flexibility can help you navigate the challenges that come your way.

    Using Change as a Lesson

Change has the power to teach us about ourselves and the world around us. Here are some key insights you can gain by embracing change as a lesson:

  • Self-Discovery: Change often pushes us out of our comfort zones, encouraging self-discovery. In times of change, we may uncover hidden talents, develop new skills, or gain a deeper understanding of our values and priorities.
  • Resilience: Overcoming change, especially difficult changes, can strengthen our resilience. It shows us that we have the capacity to endure and adapt to challenging circumstances, which can boost our confidence and ability to face future changes.
  • Empathy: Change not only teaches us about ourselves but also about others. We become more empathetic as we recognize that everyone faces their unique set of challenges and transformations. This empathy can improve our relationships and connections with those around us.

    Allowing Time for Adjustment

One essential aspect of dealing with change is allowing yourself time to adjust. Recognize that adapting to a new situation takes time, and it’s perfectly normal to experience a range of emotions during this process. Here are some tips to help you navigate the adjustment period:

  • Acknowledge Your Feelings: It’s okay to feel a wide range of emotions in response to change. Whether you’re excited, anxious, sad, or happy, acknowledging and accepting these emotions is the first step towards embracing change.
  • Seek Support: Lean on friends, family, or professional support when facing significant changes. Sharing your feelings and experiences with others can provide comfort and valuable insights.
  • Be Patient with Yourself: Remember that change is a process, not an event. It’s natural to need time to adapt and find your footing in a new situation. Be patient with yourself and allow room for mistakes and setbacks.

Change is a constant force in our lives, and how we perceive and respond to it can greatly influence our well-being and personal growth.

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Change Part 1
I think as human beings we love to create our safety bubble and stay safe there. But life is not like that. Life challenges us and tries to show us the life outside the bubble.
Change is an inherent part of life. It’s a constant force that shapes our experiences, challenges our perceptions, and moves us forward. Whether we like it or not, change is always on the horizon, and learning how to cope with it is an essential life skill. Look outside, nature changes every day. Even our bodies change every second and every seven years all our cells are completely renewed, a testament to the ever-evolving nature of existence. Change is the driving force behind personal growth and evolution. It can be both exciting and daunting, often simultaneously. The way we approach and handle change can determine our overall well-being and success in life. Here’s a roadmap to help you not only cope with change but also embrace it:
1. Breaking Big Change into Small Steps
The prospect of a significant life change, such as moving to a new city or starting a new job, can be overwhelming. To make it more manageable, break it down into smaller, more digestible steps. Think of these steps as building blocks towards the bigger change. For instance, if you’re moving to a new city, start by researching the area, then find housing, and finally plan the move itself. By focusing on one step at a time, you’ll reduce anxiety and build confidence.
2. Breaking the Patterns of Habits
Habits are powerful forces that can resist change. To embrace change, you might need to break some of your established routines. This doesn’t mean discarding all your habits; it’s about identifying which ones no longer serve you or align with your new goals. Once you’ve identified them, replace them with new, positive habits that support your desired changes. This might require patience and persistence, but it’s essential for growth.
3. Start with Small Changes
Sometimes, the fear of change itself can be paralyzing. To overcome this, start with small, manageable changes. These can be as simple as altering your daily routine or trying out a new restaurant instead of your usual one. Gradually, as you become more comfortable with small changes, you’ll build the confidence to tackle more significant transitions.
4. Accept the Change
Acceptance is a crucial step in coping with change. Recognize that change is a natural part of life and that resisting it can lead to unnecessary stress and unhappiness. Instead of fighting change, practice embracing it. This doesn’t mean you have to love every change that comes your way, but it does mean acknowledging its presence and being open to its potential benefits.
When you allow yourself to change, miracles can happen. You’ll discover new interests, meet new people, and experience personal growth. Change can lead to unexpected opportunities and open doors you never knew existed. By embracing change, you give yourself the chance to explore uncharted territories and find hidden strengths within yourself.

Change is inevitable, and learning to cope with it is a lifelong journey. So, as you move forward in life, remember that change is not the enemy; it’s the catalyst for a brighter, more fulfilling future.

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Trusting Life

Dance with life
Let it guide you
With every move you make
Trust life
Let it show its beauty
With every breath you take
Listen to life
Let it whisper its secrets
To your ear every night
Fall in love with life
Let it lead you
Let it be by your side
(Anna Smithers, Ashram May 2023)

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