What about salt lamps?

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What about salt lamps?

You may have noticed Himalayan salt lamps everywhere the last few years- they started in health shops & alternative spots, then ended up in Menary’s & Carriag Donn (here in Ireland anyway). They range in colour from white to pink to orange (when on). They are generally hollowed-out pieces of rock salt 6-12 inches tall. I have two with lightbulbs & two that are candle holders. I have them in the studio & at home. They all give a warm, inviting glow, and immediately bring a sense of comfort to a room. They are meant to increase relaxation and act as an air purifier, while also neutralising electromagnetic radiation (from t.v., phones, appliances, etc.) but I got mine because I liked the look of them, and they are a natural material, which I like to bring more of into my life.

How do they work?

Well, it is said that when the salt heats up (from the bulb or candle, or the sun) the moisture in the air around it evaporates- causing the positive ions in the air to become charged (turning them to negative ions). While we normally assume negative means bad, in this case, negative ions equals positive vibes! Negative ions are molecules that go unnoticed as they are invisible, odourless and tasteless… but we feel them all the time when we are out in nature- after a rainfall, around a waterfall, on a beach or in a forest- air that is energised! On a small-scale, that is what the salt is doing to the air around it!

When we take in the energised air, we simply feel better! When we put the salt lamp in our home or workplace, we are neutralising the energy & bringing that sense of energised air inside.

The apparent benefits include: cleansing & deodorising the air, easing coughs & allergies, increasing energy levels, improving mood, concentration, even helping with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and reducing static electricity in the air. They can also help improve sleep, and create a relaxing light source prior to sleep that is easy on the eyes & counters all the blue light from our devices & LED lighting throughout the day.

So, give them a try! They are a long-lasting, natural product, which can improve your life on some level a little bit every day. Get the glow this winter! Salt lamps can be as cheap as €5 for a candle holder, and up to €30. Locally they have been sold in Floradale, Mulvey’s, Menary’s and Healthy Beings in Strokestown.

My trip to India- Part I - Home of the Dalai Lama

Dharamsala was my first destination. After spending 3 hours in the Delhi airport trying to re-check my bag in pure chaos, I was delighted to land in the tiny, tree-lined airport of Dharamsala. It was a tiny plane and equally small airport, and as I walked out I was greeted by the sun, trees, fresh air and taxis right at the door. While I thought I would take a bus, there was nothing clearly waiting, so I chanced a taxi. I was going directly to the registry office of HH the Dalai Lama to get a ticket for his teachings the next two days.

It was a relief to stretch out in the taxi, and look at the mountains around me- to see children walking along the road in school uniforms and the buzz of rural life around. Thirty minutes later, I was dropped at the gate of the temple & began looking for the office— which was of course, 15 minutes walk back from the direction we’d just come! Classic India… I had my giant backpack & a second tote and trudged through the morning crowds heading to the temple for that days teachings.

As the Dalai Lama is ill, his public engagements are limited, and most are now here in McLeodganj, his home, and attract large crowds. That days attendance was over 5,000. When I got to the office, or nearby, the queue was long, so I waited, hopeful. After maybe an hour, and an extremely slow move forward, a large group ahead left the line, and word travelled that tickets were no longer being given out. I was expecting to not get a ticket for the next day, but had been told 2 days ahead should be do-able…

I was quite hot by then & very tired, so went ahead and stayed in line and worked my way to the office. There I was told (and written notices had been displayed) that the schedule was changing and that HH would not speak the next day, but other revered teachers would stand in, but tickets were gone. The final day HH would offer a ceremony open to the public, rather than a morning of teaching…. and that we would NOT need a ticket for. I was hesitant to leave, as the website had stated you needed to give a passport photo, get ticket and clearance in order to take part, but I thought… if it’s meant to be, it will work out.

I got a tuk-tuk up the mountain towards my accommodation, and started walking. I had expected a little town, but it was a spattering of buildings tucked into the mountains, with a main footpath & lots of smaller trails. A young man (mid-20s) saw me sit down, take off my pack, looking at my phone & asked if I needed help. I did! I had no idea where the place I was trying to find was— I had expected shopfronts & signposts, but it was more like a forest walk & my maps weren’t updating - so he took my other bag & walked with me. He had grown up in Delhi, but attended college nearby for graphic design. We talked a bit about art, and he said after working a couple years, he decided to move back & teach here himself to escape the city. When we came to a tiny cafe he asked about our whereabouts and someone there rang my guesthouse. They were all very helpful. In a moment, a lovely woman appeared and walked me back (I had gone way too far again!) to my home for the next few days.

Everyone I spoke to was friendly. I was older than most of the Western travellers there (and there weren’t that many), and everyone was curious of why & where I was going on my own. Everyone who wasn’t Buddhist was shocked that I came just in hopes of seeing the Dalai Lama. No one had gone to see themselves, despite being right there! I found that shocking- what a lost opportunity for them.

I loved the place I stayed, the UnMad, in upper Dharamkot, despite the steep stairs to get up to it. The views, the air, the peace were amazing. You looked down on the village, across through the trees or up further into the mountains. My room was very spacious, with a king-sized bed, plenty of floor space, a table & 2 chairs and ensuite, with large screened windows & a patio. It was a lovely spot to do yoga, to write, to read… to really relax. There was easy access to the rooftop, where you could get an even wider view. But since I only had a few days, I mostly explored. I always like to get a feel for a place, and map it out in my mind.

In the evenings, I ate at the UnMad, where they have a tree-shaded patio & a lovely menu of tasty food & fresh juices & coffees. They were delightful & helpful hosts. They were also transplants from Delhi- leaving stressful ad-agency jobs to try their hand at hospitality in the mountains, and a slower, more peaceful way of life. It was suiting them both.

I enjoyed exploring the area— went on long walks, communing with nature, watching monkeys, chatting with other visitors. I ate lovely food & looked at all the stalls & shops, visited the mountainside meditation center, Tushita, as well as the Tibetan museum- which was sad & informative . I also took a taxi into Dharamsala to visit the Norbulingka Institute- where they teach, preserve and display traditional Tibetan art forms in a beautiful property surrounded by Japanese-styled gardens, a fabulous temple, cafe & workshops.

On the morning I was meant to see the Dalai Lama I was so excited- I was up extra early- made coffee in my room & walked to the temple. It was surprisingly quick & efficient, but we had been told no bags, no devices- so security was quick. I chose to sit amongst Tibetan people rather than a specific ‘English’ area- and enjoyed people watching while we waited. All the school children of the area are invited & many teenagers were near me- so I sort of felt like I was on a school trip, as I often am in Ireland. (I am still a secondary school teacher here!)

As the time approached there was some music & announcements, and when HH arrived- he slowly walked around, allowing many of us to get near- he waved, touched an occasional hand. He was being led/supported by others as he was frail & slow-moving, but with that great smile & lively eyes. After he had circled the temple and surrounds he entered the inner-temple, which was filled with monks, and we watched on a big screen- similar to a concert. It was a lovely experience- sometimes with laughter, and others with seriousness about the losses & struggles on the Tibetan people.

When it was over- packs of biscuits & sweets were thrown out to the crowd & monks walked around with giant teapots, offering everyone a drink. There was a lovely sense of communion & great friendliness. It was hot & sunny. I felt honoured to be a part of what turned out to be over 10,000 there on that day, and I will always remember it.

I had accomplished my first goal for the trip- I had been in the audience of His Holiness the Dalai Lama- I had seen the smile, heard the encouraging words and laughter of this incredible leader, and gotten to know more about the Tibetan people & culture. This was an amazing corner of India- and so different from what I had seen & experienced on my prior trip to Delhi, Agra & Jaipur. But if India is anything at all, it is diverse, it is huge & it is full of surprises!

LINK to the explanation of the event I attended

Growing & Training in India!

Michele leaves at the start of June for a solo journey to India- for spiritual growth and for more yoga teacher training.

Her trip will begin in Dharamsala (Northern India)- the home of the exiled government of Tibet, and of the Buddhist leader, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. In hopes of experiencing Buddhist teachings first hand, and learn more about the Tibetan culture, which she has been interested in for years, since beginning Buddhist meditation in 1999. This is a a visit of a lifetime!

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Then she will travel to Rishikesh, the self-proclaimed birthplace of YOGA, on the mighty Ganges River. This is a holy city, the place the Beatles traveled to for their self-discovery in the 1960s and home of world-renowned Yoga ashrams and training centres. She will study for an intensive month, exploring yoga asana, philosophy and meditation practices with pros, where it all began. She will visit a variety of special places along the way— so follow her here on the blog or on our Instagram of Facebook feeds.

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yoga by the Ganges

Freebies in February!

It is a long, dreary winter and now the rain is back. Time for a competition!

Here’s your chance to win some great yoga wear from Fabletics, my favourite brand of yoga leggings, and I have tried a lot! Lots of leggings look good on the hanger, or the website, but get them on, and they slide down, cut into your belly, crawl up your crack or you lean over and find that they are see-thru! This has happened to me in class and it is not good- especially when there are leggings selling for upwards of £100! I have tried top brands and cheap ones, and find that Fabletics are my favourite. I bought my first pair in the US five years ago, and still wear them regularly— they are that durable. They also have great variety of styles, sizes and other great athletic/leisure wear. I have 2 pairs of leggings & a sports top to give away.

What to do? 1- Like and share this post :) 2- Tag a friend who might be interested! That enters you for the on-line draw. There is a separate draw for those of you who attend class! (1 entry per class between now & Feb 13th). So— get in with a chance to win!

Here is a link if you are interested in ordering your own Fabletics clothing: https://www.fabletics.co.uk/invite/79448423/

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Intentions for a Happier Life

It is still January… what often seems like a dreary, long, sobering month after a season of celebration & overindulgence. Yet, this year, January has been pleasant, often dry and with more sunlight than normal- lending to better moods to start the new year.

The start of the year is a time for many to reflect on what worked (or didn’t work) in the past year, and set intentions or resolutions for the changes we desire in the upcoming year. It is a great time to re-set our behaviour, our mindset, or to commit to a new routine or hobby. As a teacher & parent, I have always found September to be a great time for this too— the start of a new school year, yet another fresh slate.

Intention is also something coming up more and more in discussions about mindfulness- both in meditation & yoga. Both are times where we limit our focus and commit to being in the moment.

But how do you pick??

Well, it isn’t a marriage or long-term commitment— you can choose an intention for as long as you want to focus on it— one class, one month, or until you notice a shift in your feelings. Our feelings are really where we find our intentions… how are we feeling about our families? our social life? health & fitness? How do you feel about the way we spend our time? The way we speak?

Focus on you feelings, and find your intention. If you are feeling lonely, create an intention of community. If you are feeling insecure, create an intention of Confidence. If you are struggling with sadness or loss, bring an intention of joy into your heart. Feeling fearful?? We all are, about something- it is the feelings that pushes human more than anything else… set an intention for safety, security or comfort. If you feel weak or ill, set an intention for strength.

Find your feeling, set your intention. You can focus on a single word, such as HEALTH, or a mantra or short phrase or positive affirmation, like I AM HEALTHY. Keep language in the present tense— the old adage of ‘fake it tie your make it’ stands true here. It is what we repeat in our minds/hearts, that we believe.

I AM BRAVE.

I AM STRONG.

I AM FREE.

I HAVE BALANCE IN MY LIFE.

MY LIFE IS FILLED WITH LOVE.

I HAVE LOVING RELATIONSHIPS.

I AM FULFILLED IN MY WORK.

How do you want to FEEL? Focus on that. Forget goals, don’t set an intention to lose weight, or to be ‘healthier’ or walk 3x a week. Stick to I AM HEALTHY or I CARE FOR MY BODY & MIND.

So, try to set an intention for your next meditation, your next yoga class, or even your next walk. Keep it in your mind, repeat it and start to feel it!

Good luck!

Michele

Fun, at any age...

Monthly ‘Circus Class’ delves into doubles floor & hammock-based moves, along with trapeze & aerial hoop! 

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The monthly class is plain fun! The group ranges in age from 17-55 years, and we all have our strengths 😂 and weaknesses! It is 2 hours of fitness challenges & belly laughs.  Our next session is this Sunday (Nov 11th) from 5-7pm, and costs a mere €20.  Booking REQUIRED.  086-854-0023

Season of Change

Autumn has always been a season of both excitement (as a child and adult it begets a new school year, new books, clothes, change of weather & routine after a long summer) and calm (settling in for the new ‘year’ beginning).  If you have kids, are a student, or a teacher like me... September is like January... a new year.   It is a fresh start... a new beginning.  A chance to shed bad habits & initiate new ones.  Autumn is a season of change & intent! 

 

Try some ‘new ways’ this month!  Just see if new doors begin to open for you😊🙏🏻 

Try some ‘new ways’ this month!  Just see if new doors begin to open for you😊🙏🏻 

Let’s commit to our intent between now & our next break (Christmas/New Year hols).  What do you really want to change, to acheive, or to gain control of?  There are roughly 90 days left in the year, and 90 days is more than enough time to create real changes- in our health [maybe adding exercise, curbing sugar, fatty foods or drink...]  or in our well-being [time for meditation, journaling, meeting with friends, self-care].  

SET YOUR INTENTION! Pick one or two things & commit!! Don’t try to change everything!  Then start! A little bit every day... make autumn your season of change😊🌥🍂🕸🍁🌾☺️ 

Pushing into power

Last week I climbed Croagh Patrick...

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It was the hottest day 🌞🔥 in over forty years, I was wearing cheap runners & not enough sun screen... and we didn’t bring much water😫 BUT we pushed through.  My husband, always the optimist, was positive every moment, laughing and making jokes to keep our 12-year-old focused. They both moved at a swift pace, without fear, while I was calculating risk, noticing dangers... anticipating the next fall or near-miss while staring at every rough rock making up the ground.  When I would look up, the height & breeze made my legs shake as we approached the summit⛰.  I was scared.  I felt powerless.  Powerlesness is the absolute WORST feeling for me. I hated it! 

At the same time, I knew I wasn’t going to quit.  I knew it was going to end AND that I would be happy afterwards, proud.  I wanted the memories with my family, I wanted the experience, even if it mostly sucked (which it kinda did).  I was disappointed at the top and even more terrified and sore coming down.  But then there was a cool stream to dunk my feet & legs in, we got to the bottom & found water again💧😊 ... we got cooled off in the car & ate lunch.  Then we laughed😂💪🏼 And felt good about what we had done.  We felt power-full & accomplished.  It was good.  

Sometimes... most times, we need to nudge ourselves into doing things.  Push ourselves into our power, even when it first makes us feel powerless.  That is where the growth happens.  It’s where we make memories & build our internal strength.  So, this week, get out of your comfort zone!!

Start yoga if you haven’t yet😊🧘🏼‍♀️ Beginners is Tuesday @8pm or push yourself harder and try POWER 💪🏼 Yoga Monday @8pm.... or try a 2-hour workshop this Friday in Beginner Aerial Circus🎪😅 So much fun... if you just push into it.  Enjoy the week. 

Namaste

Michele