OM Yoga Magazine: Issue 44 Favourite

Hello Yogis!

ThatRedheadSaid: OM Yoga Magazine
How amazing are those leggings?! 
It's time to talk about the September 2014 issue of OM Yoga, and oh my word it's been an amazing read! September's OM Specials were pregnancy and meditation; while I cannot talk to you about the pregnancy side of this issue - other than to say it did absolutely nothing to settle the raging broodiness I've been experiencing for months now!! - I can talk about meditation. 

Meditation has become a part of my day-to-day life and I can honestly say it came as a surprise. While I cannot sit in a silent room to practice just yet - the only exception to this is the "three minute meditation" we practice in group therapy, but that is a significant challenge for my noisy and easily distracted mind - using guided meditation tracks have become a life-line over the past few years and I would encourage everyone to start using them! The Honest Guys have some absolutely amazing tracks and most of the time I'm at home I have their extended tracks running on my chromecast. 

ThatRedheadSaid: OM Yoga Magazine

This first article opens with a powerful quote from the Dalai Lama: "If every eight -year-old is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation." While this may or may not be completely true, there is no denying that learning the skills that meditation teaches us at a young age would have amazing implications for the future health and well-being of that child. We're too quick to look for external solutions when our brains and our minds are well equipped to help us. 

The article calls attention to the fact that the NHS is using mindfulness and meditation approaches for a wide range of conditions. During the 8 years I have been in and out of mental health services, I have seen an ever increasing presence of the use of mindfulness techniques and a gradual acceptance of it. I will freely admit to thinking it was, as this article put it: "a hippy or cult thing." 

The health benefits for meditation are almost endless, from managing depression and anxiety symptoms, to alleviating insomnia and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 

There is no such thing is not having the time to practice meditation. How many minutes a day do you spend on twitter or facebook doing absolutely nothing productive? Those visits could be redirected to taking yourself to a more mentally healthy space. I'm a firm believer in the idea that you get out of something what you put into it so approach meditation like your yoga practice.  

One book I can wholeheartedly recommend to you is 'Full Catastrophe Living' by John Kabat Zinn. It took me a while to get into it, by that I mean accept that mindfulness and meditation wasn't a giant waste of time, but now I carry it's messages with me all the time. There's no doubt in my mind that mindfulness meditation has brought me to this place in my life.

The next article I absolutely loved and really related to was 'Type A meets yoga mat' by Stephanie Fitzgerald. If you don't know what a Type A personality is, in a nutshell we're competitive, perfectionistic, easy to irritate, workaholic time-lords. The Type B personality is the polar opposite and funnily enough happens to be my partners temperament, so it makes for an interesting dynamic!

ThatRedheadSaid: OM Yoga Magazine
"my physio asked me if I'd tried yoga. "Don't look at me like that!" she said.

What I loved about this article was not only her honesty, but the level at which I could relate to her and I'm sure others would agree too! Stephanie reminds me of myself back in 2009; living for those high-intensity workouts that leave you sweating out the stress and getting that endorphin release at the end. At the peak of my fitness, I was doing Body Pump, immediately followed by Body Combat and then finishing it off with a Body Balance class which to me was a guided cool-down. Sometimes I would hit the pool afterwards, never staying for the relaxation portion of the class.

I never really took any notice of Body Balance or any yoga method as more than just pointless stretching; as Stephanie hilariously points out: "I remember thinking that they should try a 'real' class..." until my GP started guiding me towards practicing mindfulness and suggesting that I try and stay that extra 10 minutes and see what happens. For the first time in what felt like my entire life, I felt pure silence. The eating disorder voice was silent and I had nothing to worry about. I'll never forget that day and how I had to fight back tears on my mat. From that day onwards, my workouts became about those peaceful 10 minutes and I've not looked back.

It came as no surprise to me that Stephanie opted for what I think is the most challenging form of yoga that exists, Ashtanga. One of these days I'll pluck up the courage to try a class but the weakness in my joints is just too much of an embarrassment - type A mentality right there!

Another giggle came when Stephanie talks about seeing a more experienced practitioner looking vastly too comfortable in downward dog while she felt forced into submission to child's pose by her hamstrings, and feeling more than slightly frustrated. But she kept returning. "Partly driven by an intention to improve and partly by a deeper pull to do something nice for myself..."

What really stuck out to me from this entire piece is: "This acceptance of my inability to do something was new for me but it was liberating.." Acceptance. This is so, so hard but once we stop fighting with it, everything else feels so much easier. I think it's something we all need to work on.

* Giveaway Alert *

The latest issue of OM Yoga Magazine was released today for digital subscriptions so give the link a click to grab yours before in-store release, 23rd September! This is a super exciting issue, we're talking about the OM Yoga Show which is being held at Olympia National from 24th to 26th October. What's EVEN MORE exciting is I have TWO SETS OF WEEKEND TICKETS to giveaway for this amazing event. You can grab your free programme here but I really, really think you should download the magazine too so you can get more of an introduction to the people and companies that will be exhibiting! Aaaaah I'm so excited! I will be attending on Saturday or Sunday, but you're under absolutely no obligation to wander around with me!

The giveaway will be up in a week or so, so make sure you're following me on Twitter and Instagram to find out exactly when it'll be live!

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts about mindfulness and meditation in the comments. Do you practice it? Do you think it's complete crap? What parts of meditation do you find difficult?


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