Uma Spender (previously Jessie Neave) - name in transition - new website coming soon!
Happy New Year Yogis!
A month into the New Year how are all your lovely intentions & resolutions going?
I thought a whole lot about what it was that I wanted out of this year - and it all boils down to joy. Pure & simple. This year I am pursuing joy ruthlessly, and so far it’s been awesome. I’m not talking about avoiding the emotions of sadness, grief, loss, disappointment etc, or ignoring the injustice and destruction everywhere around, but deliberately inviting, embracing & following joy, and allowing it to expand into every area of your being. Truly opening the door to joy means experiencing the inevitable pains of life AND remaining in awe of it's sweetness...joy filled pain, pain filled joy.
According to the work of Jonas Chong & the National Science Foundation the average person has around 60,000 thoughts each day, with 87% of these reported to be negative & repetitive. The nature of the human brain is in fact geared toward negativity, this stems from primitive man’s need for remembering danger and surviving. Of course there are still circumstances where we do need to take note of negative thoughts as they are presented but most of us only need to be mindful for 5 minutes to know that the majority of mind chatter is total rubbish. When we learn to meditate we not only learn to slow the mind (imagine if you only had to deal with 20,000 thoughts each day?!) but you learn to sift through the thoughts and detach from the ones that are not useful.
You’ve probably seen the beautiful work of scientist & artist Masaru Emoto who provided evidence that thoughts, words & music have an undeniable effect on the hydrogen/oxygen bond- that is, any and all water. Emoto also proved that polluted water could be cleaned through prayer and positive visualisation. Considering that human beings are a walking mass of water (around 60%-80%) it would be reasonable to assume we are able to influence ourselves on a deep cellular level through our thoughts, words & actions. In short, we have the choice to be deeply happy, or not.
When we experience joy, a little shot of nitric oxide and the hormone DHEA (the "youth hormone") gets released into the blood stream, making your blood flow with a little more force - the more nitric oxide in the blood the more healthy & vibrant a person is. It is my belief that nitric oxide may be the modern science word for prana, qi (chi) or “life force energy” of the ancient eastern texts. The amazing news is that there is actually no limit to the amount of nitric oxide we can produce for ourselves - no limit to the amount of joy a human being can experience...it’s just the annoying mind that likes to put clamps on it.
Here’s some of the (daggy) things I am doing to actively make 2015 deeply joyous:
hula hooping to Sir Victor Uwaifo (or similar music) daily
dancing, mainly in the kitchen
learning the ukulele (I’m terrible at it but it’s FUN!)
staying super hydrated - this means I’ve finally said goodbye to caffeinated tea. If you’re not aware already caffeine acts as a diuretic which means that any water you drink for an hour before & 2 hours after your tea/coffee just runs through you. It was only awful for a week, promise.
seeing more sunrises & sunsets, more stars & moon.
chanting/singing my kids to sleep, and staying and singing long after they are sleeping.
taking a few minutes each day to be truly grateful - for everything…we are soooooo lucky!
In class you’ve probably heard me remind you that your true nature is bliss - absolute happiness. It's my belief that we are supposed to be living in pure joy, and that we can. What are the obstacles in your way and how can they be removed? When you’ve got a minute see if you can write them down - simply acknowledging that they are there is the first, and biggest step.
Wishing you all a joy filled year - hope to see you on the mat soon!
ps - I'm starting this year with a new approach to all things technical...I've got a new website where you can find information on all the workshops & retreats I'm offering, and, I've finally hopped on board with twitter & instagram - please please follow / like / whatever me so that I don't look so unpopular (links below) Grazias!
pps - Here's a new guided meditation gift for you, hope it brings you some joy!