Thank you!

Thank you for visiting the-y-factor!

I will not be adding further material to this blog, but invite you to visit my new blog www.ways-to-wellness.org where you will find up-to-date posts and details of classes and courses…..

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What is mindfulness?

I could give you a very long answer, but essentially, Mindfulness is about being in the present moment – doing what you are doing, being as you are – nothing else. You might wonder then what is all the fuss about – surely you are in the present moment all the time? Perhaps not! I for one, when I check in on myself from time to time, frequently realise that I have been miles away! I have often driven a familiar journey without really being in the car at all! So who drove me home? Fortunately there is a phenomena called ‘aut0-pilot’ – that’s what drives me car and amazingly keeps me safe and gets me home while all the time, I am thinking about something else.
Can you sense a ‘long answer’ on the way…..?

But, you might say, there is nothing wrong with auto-pilot – as you can see in the example above, it is a very useful thing……HOWEVER….there is a problem – who is actually living my life if I am not there?

If I am always somewhere else – planning the next day, preparing a conversation with someone I’m going to meet, anticipating what I need to do when I arrive wherever I’m going. All of this is good – we all need to plan, prepare and anticipate – except if this is how I live then chances are, when I do get there, I am not there either! Today is now the next day, and I am planning tomorrow; I’m with the person and having the conversation I’d planned, but I’m already feeling I should be somewhere else. Get the idea – I am never there – I actually never show up for what’s happening right here and now – and this is my life – right here and now! I will soon be over and I will have missed it! Someone once said ‘life is what is happening when we’re thinking of something else’. In my case, this is often true!

Now, there is a lot more to say about Mindfulness – but this is enough for starters – it’s about being present in the here and now, showing up for more and more moments of your short and very precious life.

I will eventually get around to telling you about Mindfulness Based Stress Management – the 8 week course I will be running in Monaghan – but I will leave you for the moment with a thought from Jon Kabat Zinn, the originator of that programme. I can’t locate the exact quotation right now, but he was talking about a sense of incompleteness that many of us seem to suffer from – a feeling that there is something is missing in my life – according to Jon that ‘something’ missing in your life…..is YOU!

When I find the quote, I’ll post it….

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Happy 2012!

We are several days into 2012, but may I belatedly wish you the best year ever! I have heard a lot of talk about 2012 being special – I am not up to speed on exactly why (something to do with planetary movements I assume), but I do hope that it’s a very special one for you.

A theme that has engaged me a lot recently is the fact (yes fact!) that our bodies and minds have an inbuilt tendency to be well. Even in times of disease and injury, the body’s natural tendency is to heal, to restore the balance that was temporarily lost. Not just our bodies, but minds and hearts also have an innate capacity to restore the balance that can be tepmorarily disturbed due to stress, anxiety and depression. If you want a really good read on this subject I highly recommend ‘Healing without Freud or Prozac’ by Dr David Servan-Schreiber. Sadly Dr Servan-Schreiber died last year, but in this book he has left  a source of real inspiration for those seeking to tap into their own innate resources to maintain or reestablish mental and emotional wellbeing. I love this book – have recommended it to many and indeed bought it for a few. You’ll find it on Amazon.

So, with your reading sorted for the New Year, I hope that you will also keep up your Yoga practice! Of-course I’m biased and I know there are many ways, but for my money Yoga is one of the very best ways we can support our body, mind and heart in establishing, maintaining  or restoring the inner harmony that leads to health and happiness.

Check out the current programme by clicking on Programme for Spring 2012.

If it doesn’t suit to join a Yoga class this term, you may be interested in the 8 week courses in  Mindfulness Meditation. Venues and dates to be arranged, but watch this space – I hope they’ll be up an running by mid-February.

Once more, I hope that 2012 is a really special one for you  – a year of unsurpassed health, happiness and abundance….

With warmest good wishes,

Mairead

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November 2011

If anybody is out there reading this page, you are very welcome!

Today I posted a possible Christmas Holiday practice for On-going students – please do visit the Home Practice page! Hopefully over the next week I will also post something for Beginners. While initially someone’s committment to Yoga is just to attend a weekly class, to really feel the benefits in one’s life I feel one has to take on some home practice – even a short practice of say 15 to 20 minutes can make a big change in one’s mood, energy levels and one’s ability to engage with what is going on in life right now.

Having said that – sometimes there can be very significant changes with just attending the weekly class. I was lucky enough to hear a lovely and very encouraging piece of feedback recently from a student who happened to arrive early for class: while we were waiting for the others to arrive I asked her how her back was doing – she had told me on the first day about an on-going back problem. She told me that her back was fine, but the really good news was that she had not had a headache since she started class five weeks ago. In fact for years she had woken up every day with a headache. Amazingly, and to her great delight, since the classes started, she has not had a single one!

Now, I forgot to ask her had she been practising at home; but somehow, I suspect not. So, perhaps my theory about needing to practice at home to really experience the benefits of Yoga needs to be moderated by stories like this one, where attendance at a weekly class was enough to bring about real change. However – I would still say ‘practise at home’ – will save this for a later post!

Meanwhile, with very good wishes, Mairead

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Welcome back!

Delighted that someone is visiting these pages.

If you are attending one of the classes, I do hope you are enjoying and beginning to feel some of the benefits. Often, what people notice first is that they feel more mobile and comfortable in their own bodies. Perhaps sleep improves – especially if you are attending an evening class, you may find you get a particularly good nights sleep after the class. As the weeks / years go by, I hope that you will discover the many and sometimes surprising benefits of even a short regular yoga practice. Do please visit the Home Practice page, where you can download some of the practices we do in class.

For my part, I am very happy with how the term has begun. All of the classes are well attended and I am getting good feed back from many. For me, one of the most rewarding things is just seeing the change in people as we start the class. Even within a few seconds of stillness at the beginning of class (whether lying down or standing) I see an transformation. I think that when people stop, attend to body and breath, they very quickly move from the Sympathetic Nervous System (a kind of passing gear, responsible for ‘fight or flight’) to the Parasympathetic (cruising gear, responsible for what I have recently seen described as ‘rest and digest’). Whatever happens, it is lovely to behold; and that’s before we even get started!

Apart from regular classes, I have had a good few enquiries about the Desert Island Days. Do visit that page for more details or download a programme below:                 Desert Island Days Programme

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Autumn 2011

Welcome back! The function of this blog has changed somewhat since I created it in January 2011. Originally I intended to set up a reflective space where we (me and whoever else would show up) would reflect on the meaning of Yoga etc…Life sort of took over and I never got back. However, it is now proving to be a useful working space where I can post my current classes until my new website www.yoganow.ieis ready to roll.

Do check out the info on Programme September 2011– if you need more information about any of the classes do leave a query as comment, or call me on 086 8120332 and I’ll be delighted to help.

Visit Desert Island Days and hopefully you will be inspired to come along and enjoy a day just to nourish you and support your own energy. The intention of these days is so that you learn lots or really easy and enjoyable ways to relax, unwind and to live life with good energy and a positive attitude. In a way it is about discovering that each one of us can create our own internal desert island where we can go to renew and restore ourselves whenever we need.

Hope this finds you well.                                                                                                                  Look forward to hearing from you soon,                                                                               Mairead

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Welcome!

As you will see in the ‘about’ page I’m a bit of a veteran in the world of Yoga. They say that Yoga goes back for thousands of years – I’m not quite that old, but I’m getting there!

I first put my foot on a Yoga mat in 1969 – well in all honesty I didn’t have a mat till several years later – I just cleared a space on my bedroom floor. Richard Hittleman and Lynn Marshall (remember?) were doing programmes on TV. What a discovery! For a girl who hated netball – in boarding school, I had joined school orchestras and choirs to avoid being sent outside on winter evenings in shorts and tee shirt – here was a way of moving that felt totally natural, relaxed and somehow liberating! And I could do it fully clothed in a warm bedroom! Ahhhhh….no more hypothermia

As the weeks went on, I discovered that I felt very settled in my studies. I didn’t really associate it with my yoga practice (a very harmless affair), but a stage came in that year when I really knuckled down. I could do a couple of hours study at a stretch with excellent focus. Then I might take a short walk and find myself walking in rhythm to my breath – nobody told me to do this, but it seemed to arise spontaneously from the attention to breath in the yoga practice. I would return to another study session ready to go…..

I was doing a few stretches, a little bit of funny nostril breathing and a tiny bit of lying on the floor doing nothing. I felt a sense of contentment, focus and  purpose. In a strange way I had a new sense of my own existence, a kind of self awareness that I didn’t have before. Was this all due to the yoga?

Now looking back, I think it was – I think I was enjoying my first experience of the Y factor!

‘A’ levels came and went (with surprisingly good results!) and the following year, leaving home, moving on to college this sense of contentment, focus and purpose all got a bit of a shaking….but after a year or so of flapping around, being lost etc, the Y factor was to kick in again!

But more of that in another post…

It’s probably time to declare my intention behind this blog…you will have noticed the world is awash today with yoga of all shapes and sizes. It appears in so many and wildly different guises – hot and sweaty pumping iron, holding still like statue just observing the pain, lying on the floor for interminable little snoozes, chanting mantras, washing nostrils – all of this is presented as Yoga. A newcomer  signing up for a class could do months of research! ‘What kind of Yoga do you teach?’ has become the dreaded question…..

Don’t worry, I’m not setting out here to establish which is ‘genuine yoga’ or which is the best – having had the occasional argument with Yoga teachers, I now know better! But I am facinated by what the y factor is….What is it that entitles any of these diverse activities to the title YOGA?

I have already flagged up what I feel was my first happy experience of the Y factor – I will offer more. But actually this space is more than anything an invitation to you to flag up yours …hope to hear from you soon,

Mairead

Now that was relatively easy – I’ve done my first blog! I’d imagine it will be even easier for you to leave a comment….

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