Yoga

Observing the most powerful of all relationships - the one with your Self

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I have been pondering an interesting concept this week, one which is really helping my physical and emotional wellbeing resulting in more control over my reactions and emotions. 

I took my usual yoga class last Saturday morning and the Sankalpa; or intention, we worked with was around creating and observing the relationship with the Self. The class was lead by the inspirational yoga teacher with the biggest smile and warmest soul, Lisa Ball. She mentioned the words “sitting down and having a relationship with your Self”. Just read those words again. “Sitting down and having a relationship with your Self”. Have you ever done this? Have you ever been the observer of that relationship? That one relationship that is perhaps the most important of all? How do you talk to your Self? How do you perceive your own thoughts, your own inner voice and your own actions? Do you fully accept yourself and trust your intuition?

These words stayed with me and intrigued me. It wasn’t until a few days later that I actually thought about the relationship that I have with my own Self. A few realisations washed over me as I noticed that this relationship needed some attention. Being a mum, wife, friend, daughter, sister, aunt, employee; most of my thoughts and energy are poured into my relationships with others. I haven’t dedicated much energy into nurturing my own Self. And when I do, I feel like I am being selfish and self-absorbed. When observing how I perceive myself in my own inner world, I find this often comes from a place of harsh judgment rather than love and care. This is very much the polar opposite to my relationship with others.

Here is the lifestyle curator I have been using to plan my self-care from  Saint Belford . It is specifically for this self-care purpose and has space to encourage daily wellness activities, meal planning, idea generation, habit trackers, empowering statements and daily to-do lists. 

Here is the lifestyle curator I have been using to plan my self-care from Saint Belford. It is specifically for this self-care purpose and has space to encourage daily wellness activities, meal planning, idea generation, habit trackers, empowering statements and daily to-do lists. 

So this week I have been trying to build a stronger connection to my Self. As the saying goes “You can’t pour from an empty cup”. This is so apt. How can I give my all to others when my own self is depleted? I must put on my own oxygen mask before helping others.

So how am I giving myself an oxygen mask this week? Treating myself that little bit kinder. Being gentle with myself. (I sound like I am talking to my 3-year-old!). Talking to myself with less judgment and more leniency. Restarting a meditation practice but instead of rigidly practicing every day and feeling guilty if I haven’t, doing it when I can and not worrying that I haven’t done it for 5 days. Buying a fancy water bottle to encourage myself to drink more. But the thing that has had the most profound effect was finding one way, each day, to do something just for Me. I have actually started scheduling these activities into each day. With the first day doing exactly that. Planning. Planning in what I will do and when I can fit in my daily self-care for the week. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive. For me, most of the time it is just sitting down for 5 minutes, putting on chillout music, essential oils in the diffuser and having a cuppa with no phone or computer while the kids are asleep. The main thing is to find ways that refuel your own wellbeing. It might be exercise, socialising or personal development, it is different for everyone.

This thing is a god-send! Check out the  Daily Wellness Activity Planner  to make self-care a #1 priority.

This thing is a god-send! Check out the Daily Wellness Activity Planner to make self-care a #1 priority.

And what have I noticed?

  • I am laughing more.
  • I am more patient with the kids.
  • My shoulders have relaxed.
  • Some things that seemed a big deal are now not.
  • Life seems a little smoother.

 

I highly recommend taking an honest look at your relationship with your own Self. Not judging or resisting. Just noticing. Observe your own thought patterns, prioritise yourself and perhaps recognise any areas that need a little TLC.

Yoga meets Labour - Using yoga techniques in the birth of my baby girl

Miss P, just minutes old

Miss P, just minutes old

I am back! Its taken me a good few months to finally get my head out of newborn land and semi-back into writing about all things Yoga. Life is pretty full these days (not busy, everyone is busy - just very ‘full’) and is a juggle trying to bed Miss P into the family whilst ensuring her big brother is ok emotionally with such a big change to the family dynamic. Then also getting myself right mentally, emotionally and physically whilst working part-time, running a household and ensuring my husband and I don't become ‘transactional housemates’. Maybe my yoga blog posts might get few and far between for the next little while!

On the 23rd January, Miss P joined our family, making another beautiful birth and entrance into the world - as did my 3-year-old, Master N. I borrowed yogic techniques heavily and also followed the CalmBirth™ approach to labour and birth.

 

How the day went

Well, I definitely didn’t start out thinking I was going to have a baby that day. It was the day before my due date. I woke up thinking my waters may be slightly leaking, but I had a few things to do that day and chose to get on with it and see how I went. The photographer we booked to take some family pics once bub arrived wanted to do a maternity shoot, so I donned some makeup, styled my hair and frocked up. Little did I realise I was about to be the most glamorous new mum on the ward that evening!

The day I went into Labour - Photography from  adriateall.com.au

The day I went into Labour - Photography from adriateall.com.au

After overcoming a few trials and tribulations position-wise during pregnancy (low-lying placenta and breech presentation) bubs was still keeping me on my toes and had managed to turn posterior in the lead-up, so off I went once again to acupuncture at 2pm. My acupuncturist just so happened to be right beside the hospital so after my appointment I thought I'd better just pop in and get these waters checked. Sure enough, I had a hind water leak and was going to be induced in 30 mins. So there I was, my car parked in a 2-hour zone and nothing but my purse, a water bottle (but looking super glam - phew) and I was about to have a baby. After that, it was all stations go. I was started on the drip, hubby arrived 1.5 hours later with my bags and beloved exercise ball. We spent an hour or so making the ‘pushing playlist’ (which we still listen to! Accessible on Spotify here) and chatting. They broke my waters, cranked up the syntocinon and then we were down to business.

4 hours of super-intense second stage labour (hard and fast - how lucky was I?) but my contractions were all over the place, not regular or consistent and no rest in-between. I’d been through this before with Master N, and thought I was a long way off. But suddenly it was time to push! Our 115-minute pushing playlist got cranked up, but 1.5 songs in and Miss P was here! Whoosh!

 

Yogic Techniques I used during labour

I was super lucky to have a non-complicated birth, something that many women are not as fortunate to experience for factors completely out of their control. So in the first instance, I was so very grateful to be given another chance for a natural delivery using no pain relief, especially since I spent a lot of my pregnancy preparing for a caesar delivery.

Being a yoga teacher and having a passion for birth and the amazing things the body can do, I was so keen to once again challenge my body and; more importantly, my mind. I had spent many weeks preparing for the birth (you can read about this here) and the big day was finally here. My labour this time was only 6 hours, with Master N it was 16 and I used the same techniques. So here is what I found helped me most in both my labours.

 

Breath-work or Pranayama

This amazing technique helped my body to stay calm during contractions and allowed me to relax in between. According to Dr Grantly Dick Read’s ‘Fear, Tension, Pain theory’, the more we fear labour and birth, the more tension it creates which leads to the release of stress hormones and adrenaline in the body causing ineffective and painful uterine contractions. We can control this both before, during and after labour by using the breath to ensure the body and mind remain calm. Deep diaphragmatic breathing is a way to stimulate the vagus nerve which triggers a relaxation response in the body. This reduces the production of adrenalin and increases the release of Oxytocin and Endorphins (the body’s natural painkiller), which are essential for opening the cervix and encouraging uterine muscles to work effectively during labour.

So I took as slow, deep conscious breaths as I possibly could. Pranayama, as yogi’s call it. The term ‘pranayama’ actually goes much deeper than breathing. It is a way of controlling the prana or energy in the body, however, breath control is a common way of achieving this. I probably averaged about 4 breaths per minute. I was so completely focused on my breath, thinking of nothing else but the air flowing in and out, trying to extend the exhale and pause at the end of the exhale. In Yoga, we call this Visamavritti Pranayama which is using an uneven but consistent breath ratio consisting of inhaling, pausing, exhaling, pausing. My most common ratio during labour was 5:3:6:5 respectively.

 

Positioning and Asana

I tried many positions this time including (a sort of) Utkata Konasana (Goddess), an ‘Anjaneyasana (Crescent Lunge) meets Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard) pose, a very high Malasana (Garland or Yogi squat). But found the trusty ‘bouncing on the exercise ball’ (not very yogi at all) was the most comfortable. Of course this is purely a personal preference, however, I found I could rock and bounce on the ball to help draw bub’s head down and manoeuvre them through the birth canal. At least this is what I was visualising as I rocked and rolled! I also found this gave my husband (and amazing support partner) full access to help me through contractions by rubbing my back, massaging my shoulders etc. Then when a contraction was over I could lean back onto his legs and just rest until the next one.

 

Conscious Thinking and Visualisation (aka. getting in ‘the zone’)

Some yogic mindfulness techniques (I guess you could call it!) also helped me to shift my focus. The practice of Pratyahara, which comes with meditation, is the process of shifting the awareness from the external world and drawing the focus within. This, in combination with Dharana, concentration of the mind.  Drawing the attention away from the senses - in the case of birth - away from the sense of touch (pain from contractions) and fiercely concentrating the mind on another aspect ie. visualisations, mantra, breath. In my case, I was so wholeheartedly focused on my breath that I was in my own little world, I barely opened my eyes, I didn’t talk to anyone, I barely made a sound. Just counting the seconds of my breath. 

Another technique I did try that was useful (more so before I was in ‘the zone’) was focusing on another area of my body, an area that was not experiencing the intensity. I wiggled my toes…. a lot. And I still use it when breastfeeding! I also had a list of mantra’s I repeated to myself to remind me to believe in my body and surrender to the process.

 

My husband, my rock and my amazing support partner

My husband probably played the biggest part in helping me during labour. Especially with my first birth when I didn’t know what to expect, wasn’t sure if I could do it etc. And he really didn’t get any of the credit. If it wasn’t for him, my first birth probably would've resulted very differently.

Just to know there was someone I loved there with me, cheering me on, motivating me to keep going, believing that I could do this and being so in awe of what his wife was capable of enduring. The midwives even commented on how calm and amazing he was and left us to it most of the time, knowing I was in safe hands. He spent the entirety of both labours counting my breaths with me, talking me through the contractions and encouraging me if I ever doubted my abilities. What a man!

 

My gorgeous kids - Photography from  adriateall.com.au

My gorgeous kids - Photography from adriateall.com.au

Pure f-ing belief in my self and my body

This aspect was much easier the second time around as I knew what to expect and drew a lot of strength that I had done it before. Provided all went swimmingly and there were no complications; I believed my body could do it so much that I didn’t give myself an out. I completely surrendered all control and just trusted my body knew what to do.

 

 

So there you have it, the final page of my pregnancy and birth yoga journey. Now the attention shifts to recovery and rebuilding my body post natally. 

 

Confession of Meditating #4 - REMIND YOURSELF OF THE WHY

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IDEAL: Reaching a higher state of consciousness
REALITY: Helps me to deal with everyday life and be a calmer mum

Always come back to the why. Why am I doing this? What in my Sankalpa; or intention, of meditation. For me, this is not to reach a higher state of consciousness. Whilst that would be great, it would require solid time, energy and commitment. Something that is just not a priority in my life right now. My goal is just to have some time to work on me, my mind, my thought processes. To be a calmer, less serious mum and find a tool that helps me to approach life in a calm, positive and less reactive way, especially with toddlers.

The aim is not to stop all my thoughts, but rather try to detach from them a little. Remembering, I am not my thoughts. I always explain thoughts in meditation as like a train pulling into a station - don’t get on board, don’t judge or evaluate, don’t follow the thought. Just watch the thought from afar, watch the doors close, bring the focus back to the breath and watch it gently slip away.

Backbending Series: 5 Major Benefits to Backbends in Yoga

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Backbends, some people love them, some people hate them. For me, they are a bit like mushrooms, I am in a love/hate relationship with them - and I am totally fine with that. Backbends can tell you a lot about yourself especially if you fall into one of these like/dislike categories. Regardless, backbends are an essential part of our yoga practice and so important for the holistic health of our body and mind. Over the next three weeks, I will be explaining some of the benefits of backbends, what to be mindful of in a backbend, when to avoid and of course some pregnancy friendly backbends.

So why do we bend backwards in yoga?

In general, backbends are an energising and stimulating pose. Great to do first thing in the morning to kick start the nervous system and awaken the body. There are so so so many benefits to backbends that it is proving challenging to choose only 5 to write about! Here are a few of the biggies (and my favourites) plus some explanation into the why behind them:

 

Stimulates the Sympathetic Nervous System

Although much of yoga is about relieving stress and calming body & mind, there is still a very large aspect of stimulating the body. We do this for a variety of reasons, to build strength & endurance, to stimulate energy flow within the body, to increase circulation and maintain cardiac health. Therefore it is important to stimulate our nervous system and innervate the sympathetic nervous system (also known as the “fight or flight” response) as well as our parasympathetic nervous system (also known as the “rest & digest” or relaxation response). It is the Yang to the Yin.

In our backbends, pressure is increased at the heart centre due to compression of the chest cavity, the adrenals are squeezed and the heat in the body is increased which stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. This activates and energises the body and can be therapeutic for fatigue, low energy and mild cases of depression.

 

Helps to increase immunity and stimulate the lymphatic system

Compression of the thymus gland (located in the centre of our chest) into the sternum (breastbone), helps to stimulate the thymus gland - a very important organ in our lymphatic system. It also aids in massage of the spleen - our largest lymphatic organ in the body. These glands are largely involved in maturation and storage of white blood cells in the body. They help to filter red blood cells and kill cells that have been infiltrated by a pathogen (bad things like bacteria, infection, virus etc), thus helping to remove infection in the body.

Backbends also usually involve a compression or opening of areas in the body that house our lymph nodes - mainly the armpits, groin and neck. This helps stimulate the lymph nodes and movement of lymphatic fluid through these nodes, helping to filter lymph fluid to remove infection and waste in the body.

 

Contributes to overall spinal health and correct posture

When bending backwards in yoga, if done correctly, we open through the front side of our body and start to explore the range of movement in the spine. Particularly the cervical and thoracic spine (our mid to upper spine). This is particularly important with the type of modern-day daily activities we are commonly exposed to these days. For example - working at a desk, driving, carrying children, housework etc. These repetitive movements create this type of ‘hunched forward’ posture. After a prolonged period, this shortens the muscles in the chest which in turn pulls the shoulders forward, further rounding out through the upper spine and shoulders. Backbends help to reverse the effects of this hunched posture and opens the chest to stretch and release tension or tightness through the chest muscles.

In our backbends, we also explore the spine’s natural range of movement. This helps to strengthen the muscles that surround and support the spine including the QL (quadratus lumborum) and erector spinae. This helps to correct and maintain spinal alignment which contributes to a better posture.

 

Moves and releases Energy (Prana)

When I talk about ‘energy’ in a yoga sense, we are talking about Prana or the force within our body that gives us vitality rather than the more physical energy we gain from nutrition, oxygen etc. You can read more about that here. So when energy starts to get stuck or blocked in a particular area, it starts to manifest in us physically, emotionally and mentally. For example, butterflies in the stomach - mental states of nerves and stress cause a block in our energy giving us this physical sensation of butterflies or knots in our belly. Anywhoo, I am starting to get off topic here… Back to backbends - a lot of our backbends help us to move and release and stuck energy throughout almost the entire body helping us to feel balanced and clear.

In particular, it opens through the chest which opens the heart, helping to become more welcoming to love, life and relationships. Also our stomach and solar plexus area which is related to self-confidence and personal power. So balance in this area helps us to feel more empowered within ourselves.

 

Trains the body to stay calm when under stress or confronted with fear

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we store a lot of emotions in the organs of our torso. Our backbends stimulate some of these ‘powerhouses’ of emotion storage: the hips, heart, stomach and kidneys, to name just a few. 

Our backbends in particular, squeeze into the kidneys which house the emotion of fear. This allows us to confront fear, giving a feeling of letting go or becoming free. I know when I am in Ustrasana (Camel Pose), I am very reluctant to release my head backwards but the few times I do, I feel so open and free afterwards. An interesting feeling!

Also the stimulation of the nervous system coupled with the use of the Ujjayi Breath (the Yogic Breath - breathing in and out through the nose, catching at the base of the throat), helps train the body to remain calm and in control when perhaps our body is experiencing stress or large emotional releases. This can be applied to our life off the yoga mat, using similar techniques in stressful situations. This helps the body to deal and process stress or challenges in life without the physical overreaction of the nervous system (that fight or flight response where your heart starts racing, your breath shallows and your body prepares for danger).

 

So those are my 5 favourite benefits to backbends. Next week I'll be talking about what to be mindful of in a backbend and also when to avoid backbends. Have a good week!

 

References:

yogamag.net, Prana: the Universal Life Force, http://www.yogamag.net/archives/1982/emay82/prana582.shtml
Yoga Journal, What is Ujjayi, https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/what-is-ujjayi
Yoga Journal, Face Fear in Backbends, https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/fearless-backbends
Australian Natural Health Magazine, Palmer. E, The Body of Emotion, Accessed via Moksha Yogahttps://www.mokshayoga.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/21-The-Body-of-Emotion.pdf
Moksha Academy of Yoga, Asana Lab - Backbends
Long. R, 2006, The Key Muscles of Yoga, Bandha Yoga Publications

My prenatal practice at 20 weeks pregnant

Here is my first attempt at a video - my Surya Namaskar A practice at 20 weeks pregnant, complete with prenatal modifications. I recorded this for anyone that is pregnant but feels attending a prenatal yoga class is a little premature. If you are comfortable practising in a vinyasa flow class, these are the modifications I make to my Surya Namaskar (a.k.a Sun Salutation).

We were recently in the Gold Coast, Queensland which I thought would be a beautiful backdrop (which it is!) but didn’t really think through attempting a Surya Namaskar on a short towel, on the uneven sand whilst trying not to engage my core too much. It was also a little off-putting having my 2.5-year-old shouting “MUMMYYYYYYY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!!!!” in the background but hey, that’s a mum life for you. (Don’t worry, he’s been dubbed over with some pleasant music for your enjoyment)

It was an enlightening experience actually watching myself do yoga, one of those ones you cringe as you peep between the fingers covering your eyes - much like a horror movie. So many things I would change if I was to do it again however Original Silence is all about authenticity so this is it! Enjoy.

Music credit: The Yoga of Dance by galacticwind

Some exciting news! Part Two: Acceptance, Elation and Change

Master N introducing himself to bub

Master N introducing himself to bub

Following on from my previous post, I am now 23 weeks pregnant and absolutely loving every moment of my pregnancy. As I navigated through the conflicting emotions around excitement of pregnancy yet loss of control of my yoga teaching path in those early weeks, I have found it has opened my path up in new ways. Some would argue, perhaps paths I need to travel to become a more humble and truly authentic yoga teacher? The very foundations of Original Silence.

A reminder of the seed that grew the flower

It has reminded me of the reasoning behind why I originally endeavoured to become a yoga teacher. It was to share my passion for birth and yoga and to become a prenatal yoga teacher. When I was 28 weeks pregnant with Master N, my husband and I took a weekend course in an approach to birthing called “Calm Birth”. This was life changing for us (and I mean us!). It taught us techniques that we could use for the birth but also just dealing with the challenges of life in general. It was an eye-opening experience and one that gave me such a thorough understanding of birth and the how the body works. I had a beautiful birth using these tools and one which has ignited a passion for pregnancy, birth and the mind/body connection. 

Through the techniques I have learnt from Calm Birth as well as the wealth of knowledge from my yoga teacher training, I really feel I can help other mums-to-be through their pregnancy. To help those that are perhaps experiencing fear or anxiety around the birth and labour. To share the wisdom that was shared with me, give them an understanding of the mind-body connection and how powerful this could be. And lastly to give them some practical ways of dealing with the intensity of:

1. the thought of becoming a mother
2. actually becoming a mother, and, 
3. the challenges that may come after becoming a mother

Prenatal teacher in action!

Prenatal teacher in action!

So being pregnant myself now, I have now completed some extra training to be able to teach prenatal classes - my initial dream is becoming a reality! And really, who better to have as your prenatal yoga teacher than one that is actually pregnant! If that’s not dedication to the job, I don't know what is. I have taught a few classes so far and they have been great. I particularly like the long relaxation / guided meditation I lead at the end of the class. It's about 15 - 20 mins of bliss and I usually leave the class feeling just as zen as the lovely ladies in there. There is more training I would like to complete, in particular, post-natal yoga as it differs a lot from prenatal, but that will come later down the track - just one thing at a time Lauren!

It's the motivation behind the OS blog

As I obviously won't be able to start any new teaching gigs for a little while, so it has spurred me on to start writing this blog. For the next 4-5 months, it will be a great way to keep learning and sharing the different aspects of Yoga with the world - just through a different medium. To share how I am using the teachings of Yoga in my life, my pregnancy and beyond - hopefully, my community might learn a new thing or two along the way.

Changes to my teaching style - for the better

I now realise that this is such a great thing for me. It is forcing me out of my comfort zone and I feel like this whole experience will make me a better teacher in the long run.

Our training at Moksha encouraged us to teach as though our students were blind. To rely on language to cue, move and adjust the students rather than visual demonstration. One of my main criticisms during my training was that I demonstrated too much and I still do rely on this a lot when teaching, particularly beginners. When pregnant, there are a lot of yoga poses that shouldn’t be attempted, especially when demonstrating. Not only could it be uncomfortable and disrupt the flow of energy around bub, but it would be difficult to demonstrate correct alignment and positioning in some poses - the cardinal sin of being a yoga teacher.

On realising this, it has caused me to change my teaching style dramatically. It is teaching me to express and guide the class using creative language and also to play around with cues until I find one that resonates with my students. It's proving to be an interesting and mindful process. It is forcing me out of my own head when teaching and to really connect with my students much more. 

Onwards and upwards!

So there you have it, I feel like the background to the how and why of Original Silence is finally established. Now on to sharing more in-depth info on all things YOGA!

Some exciting news! Part One: Joy & a few honest truths

After graduating from an intense year of studying all fresh-faced and keen to start my new career as a yoga teacher… I celebrate by having a baby! Hooray and at the same time - Sod's law!

21 weeks and feeling great!

21 weeks and feeling great!

All joking aside, we are so excited to announce the news. We love how much richness and joy our little boy, Master N, brings to our lives. I count myself so honoured and privileged we have received the chance to do it all again. So I am now 21 weeks along, feeling great, still practising vinyasa flow yoga (with a lot of modifications) and teaching 2 classes per week. 

It was planned and something we really wanted. We were obviously over the moon when we found out. In all the excitement and anticipation, I didn’t really think about the impact that this might have on my teaching journey. It is a challenge enough to get a break out there as a yoga teacher when you are freshly graduated, let alone when you also happen to be pregnant as well. 

To be honest, when the limitations (yet only temporary) on my Yoga teaching career first came to fruition, I felt quite conflicted. Maybe it was all the extra hormones making me feel things that were so out of character for me, who knows? On one hand, I was so ecstatically excited and very grateful to be given the chance to bring another being into this world. But when I thought about Yoga, there was a small part of me that couldn’t help but feel a little disheartened. My teaching path was on a slight tangent for a little while. 

It took me a good week or so to really make sense of these conflicted feelings and also move past the guilt for feeling them in the first place. I found guided meditations on acceptance helped things along here. I realised that with the desire, ambitious and determined parts of my personality, this naturally attracts some forms of disappointment and dissatisfaction. As morbid as it sounds, it is not. It is a natural reality of any situation. You can’t have one without the other. Much the same as having your cake and eating it! Buddha explains:

“We experience everything in terms of the Eight Worldly Concerns: gain and loss, praise and blame, pleasure and pain, happiness and unhappiness. We, of course, want gain, praise, pleasure, and happiness. But one always arrives with its opposite. One cannot be open to praise and not receive blame. One cannot experience pleasure and not feel pain. This is the nature of the reality that we know.” 

As soon as I realised and accepted this I could make sense of the situation a lot more and move past it. Now I can concentrate on being wholeheartedly excited and the positives this brings to my yoga journey which I will explore in my next post - "Some exciting news! Part Two: Acceptance, Elation and Change"

How Original Silence came to be

The journey so far

Like all these things, starting a blog, a brand and a website is a bit of a daunting process. Making something from scratch with a completely blank canvas is no mean feat and sometimes it becomes so overwhelming it is difficult to know just where to begin. So I guess an introduction is the best place to start. I am Lauren, a Bayside, Melbourne based Vinyasa Flow Yoga instructor. I started practising yoga around 15 years ago at a gym. I really liked it but I completely missed the point at the beginning and stopped and started as “it wasn’t enough of a workout” as I was used to. It wasn’t until 4 years ago that I really began to explore the depths of yoga. 

The Chamundi Goddess at Chamundi Hill

The Chamundi Goddess at Chamundi Hill

My husband and I travelled around India for 2 months. We went all over, from up north in Amritsar and Shimla, out west to Jaisalmer and Udaipur. All the way down through Varanasi, Khajuraho, Mumbai, Mysore and eventually concluding in Kerala. It was here where my fondness of the country, the religion and culture was ignited. As we concluded our trip we stayed at an Ayurvedic and Yoga Retreat in the mountains of Kerala, called Chamundi Hill. We stayed here for a week, however, after visiting, we realised this really wasn’t enough time to be fully exposed to the traditions of Ayurvedic medicine. We had treatments twice daily ate a strict personalised Ayurvedic diet and practised yoga both morning and afternoon. Each day there was a form of meditation, chanting and kirtan. It was a really amazing and inspiring experience and my appetite to learn more started to blossom.

Upon arriving back to Melbourne, back to my career and daily life, my husband and I still practised yoga as much as we could. I fell pregnant with my son and continued with prenatal yoga throughout my pregnancy. During this time I took a meditation course and was also very interested in the ‘Calm Birth’ approach to birth and labour. We took a weekend course in Calm Birth which borrows quite heavily from yoga both in terms of positioning and breathing exercises. This honestly, and strangely, was a real turning point in both mine and my husband's lives as we learnt techniques to assist in labour and also everyday life. We were exposed to pranayama (breath control) techniques and how the cycle of fear, tension and pain linked both the body and the mind in labour. We learnt how to surrender to the birthing process to assist the opening of the body as well as various techniques to control the pain using mostly breath; but also meditation, visualisation and body positioning to remain in a state of relaxation. It truly was fascinating. The beautiful, natural birth of my baby boy was an incredible, calm and powerful experience, one which I draw a lot of strength and gratitude from every day.

After being on Maternity Leave from the corporate world, the inevitable decision to re-enter the work force approached - either return to the corporate world or study something I was passionate about that would help me attain some of my personal goals. I decided on the path of yoga teaching where I could learn and share that passion with others whilst maintaining a family and work life balance.

I decided to do my training with Moksha Academy of Yoga. Its reputation in the industry was pretty intense but totally worth it. And they were pretty spot on. 500 hours of training, 40 lectures, over 200 homework questions, 10+ classes of teaching, 276 pages of assignments and 4 exams. All whilst juggling a 1-year-old, part-time work and a husband who works away for over 100 days a year. Life was interesting! But I got there in the end and wouldn’t change it for the world. I graduated as a level 1 500hr Vinyasa Flow yoga teacher and decided to set up Original Silence. Who knows what the future holds or what direction this path will take, but I am so proud of what I have achieved & learnt and can’t wait to see where these learnings take me.

The purpose of the Original Silence (OS) blog

So the purpose of the OS blog is my personal views and interpretations of the yogic teachings. One of Original Silence’s main values is authenticity. Whilst I would love to completely and perfectly understand every aspect of yoga, I don’t. I am and always will be learning and I don’t claim to be a guru or an expert in any form (not even close!). This is purely a personal record of my personal journey through the teachings and practise of yoga. And also sharing my experiences and learnings with the world, and perhaps inspiring others to help them understand yoga and the depth, wisdom and richness it can bring.