Sorry magazine you’ll have to go!

How often do you just eat? It sounds silly as we eat meals every day,  but how often do you just sit there and do nothing but eat?

While on a Mindfulness retreat I experienced a huge revelation in Mindful Eating. My food tasted better, I was fuller sooner and I absolutely loved every mouthful. This experience has really stuck with me and so I now try and incorporate mindful eating as much as possible with my meals.


 

TOP TIPS FOR MINDFUL EATING:

  • Put your food on a plate – Eating out of a bag doesn’t help the practice, plus you can’t easily monitor how much you are actually eating
  • Sit at a table – Formalising the eating habit fill help focus attention on the intention to eat mindfully
  • Breathe and be thankful – Before digging in take a time for a mindful pause to breathe and feel gratitude for the processes that led to this moment
  • Eat in silence – Pop the TV off, hide your phone and put down that magazine or book. This helps draw our attention to what we are eating and enhances your experience
  • Tune in with all 5 senses – Notice the colours, aromas,textures, shapes and even sounds of your food
  • Chew more – Try to taste and identify all the different ingredients This is particularly fun at restaurants, when you didn’t make the food yourself. An added bonus is it may also help you become more creative in the kitchen.

Tip: Try making something really snazzy for your first experience, this will keep up your intrigue. I particularly like making a delicious healthy vegetarian salad like Pomegranate, quinoa, bulgar, feta, cucumber and lemon oil dressing for a colourful, zesty feast.


 

Becoming more in-tune with the foods we eat and being present has great effects on helping us eat more healthily and prevents over-indulging. When we notice what we eat we tend to eat less and enjoy our food more. This can be great for establishing a healthy diet and is even a tool for weight loss.

For more read:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-13684/5-ways-eating-mindfully-can-help-you-lose-weight.html

http://www.mindful.org/6-ways-practice-mindful-eating/

I hope that putting the phone down, switching off the telly and shunning the magazine isn’t too daunting and you try this at home.  Let me know below if you try it and what you think!

 

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So in case you hadn’t already realised my love for Mindfulness, how its changed my world flip 360 and now guides pretty much my every waking moment (when I’m not on autopilot 😉 ) Last year I decided to enrol on a course to take this love to the next level. Certification Station 1 –  The TTR1 at MBSR Mindful Academy in Solterreno Spain.

Home to the wonderful Bodhin Phillip Woodward and his family, Solterreno provides a real gem of tranquility hidden from the hustle and bustle, in which to immerse yourself in the course material. The perfect environment to deepen your own practice and practice giving guided Mindfulness meditations to other (guinea pigs) prospective teachers!

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Finding time for mindfulness can be really tricky when juggling a busy life full of work and social engagements and even trying to get around to food shopping.

We all know life can get quite hectic and with all stations constantly a’ go-go it’s really settling to know that you have a few quick and simple practices handy in your toolkit .

These five short, informal practices, are a great way to introduce mindfulness to your day. They are really easy to do and can be done from anywhere without too much extra scheduling.

Note: I wanted to put the practices alongside a ‘how-to’ in the same post but to avoid it being overwhelmingly mega I’ve separated the them so the ‘how-to’s’ are clickable if you’ve been inspired to try them out.

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Made Mindful

Since last posting, I’ve been to India and back, moved to a new city,  started a new job. I’ve been overjoyed, I’ve been overwhelmed, I’ve been heart-wrenchingly longing for lots of by-gones. In India I was cyber-detoxing, in Bristol I’ve been overworking…and now, given some time and space I’ve acknowledged and accepted- I’m human after all, what can I say!

Gosh,  it’s been nearly 3 months since my last post. We’re 3 months into super duper ‘The Year of Our Lives’-2017! I wanted to share the first installment of my aforementioned  ‘work work work work’ plan for 2017 :

Yoga teacher Training: Green Yoga India

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So in February I completed my 200Hr Yoga Teaching Certification at Green Yoga India and am now a RYA Member -woohoo! What a month it was. Lots and lots of laughter with the 40 other girls and boys, but also tears and a whole load of self discovery and learning.

When you sign up to something like Yoga Teaching in India everything looks like it will be so dreamy; think sipping coconuts on the beach, countless sessions of gentle, flowing yoga with lots of long tanned limbs moving harmoniously and then the feeling you will be an absolute Yoga LEGEND when you graduate. Now remove the huge pinch of salt and come to reality…. It was hard. Really. bloody. hard. But hard in every sense that I find even now difficult to explain.After an early 7am self-guided meditation followed by first sweaty 2 hour Yoga session of the day it was then a solid 7 hour day of theory and study in our hot outdoor Indian shala.  Starting from the ground up we began with the skeletal system, cardiovascular system, respiratory system and then on to the muscles, anatomy, history, Ayurveda (…etc). The sessions provided such a solid understanding of the traditions and philosophy what we were actually teaching rather than learning by rote to just regurgitate a westernised mishmash of what we thought yoga was, something I am ever-grateful for having now learnt.

 

Deep in theory in our beloved Yoga Shala!

 

The yoga itself was FAB- with  practicals in Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Yin and Aerial it was all rather jazzy. Having a bit of a Yin and Pitta (slow, gentle) energy preference I naturally gravitated to teaching Hatha and Yin but reckon it will be good to mix things up and dabble in sweaty, flowy Vinyasa once in a while. Teaching my first class was the absolute best feeling. I mean I am no yoga legend unfortunately -I now have a far deeper appreciation of the roots of yoga to think this will ever be the case- HA!- however I certainly feel ready to teach and share this wonderful practice with the world, or anyone that will have me.

All in all there lots of learning (understatement), supported by hands-on sessions, assessments, exams and this was all fuelled by the most delicious vegetarian, alcohol-free, turmeric- filled diet. The food, ohhhh the food- 10*

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I could also go on to talk about all of those mad, profound, way-out moments experienced during our guided meditation sessions, Yoga Nidra and chanting but theres lots of reasons not to. I guess I don’t want to a. influence anyones future experience through my own, b. scare anyone off meditation and c. lay down an anecdote from which others may strive to achieve the same experience. If you want a far better, and more entertaining account of what can happen during 1 month of immersion in deep meditations and yogic culture go read Elizabeth Gilbert’ s Eat. Pray. Love.  She funny :)

Since coming home Ive had lots of friends approach me to let me know that they are thinking of doing their teacher training and asking for advice, tips and what to pack! Maybe I’ll pop together something on the blog in future to help with anyone looking to take their next yogi steps. In the meantime if you want any info email me emma@emmalouclark.com and I’ll be happy to help!

Also if yo have any experiences, tips and recommendations  I would love to hear them !

 

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MoisturiserMy evening getting ready for bed routine is something I really enjoy however never really pay that much focused attention to actually doing it. 

Moisturising mindfully is a great way to settle me ready for sleep whilst incorporating mindfulness into my routine. 


 

The 10 Steps to Moisturising Mindfully :

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  1. Pick up the pot/jar/tube- notice its weight, material and temperature in your hand.
  2. Carefully open the lid, noticing the the action of your wrist and any sounds
  3. Study your moisturiser in the pot (if in a pot), the peaks it forms, the way the light hits it and the colours.
  4. Pop some moisturiser on your finger, feel it’s coolness and weight.
  5. Rub between between your thumb and forefinger finger for texture and any tackiness.
  6. Lift up the moisturiser to your nose, with each in-breath notice any fragrance that may be there. What effect does the aroma have – is it energising or calming?
  7. If at any point you think “this is silly, why am I doing this?” recognise this as a random thought and return to where you left off with your moisturiser. Let go of any self- judgement, questioning or criticism.  
  8. Dot the moisturiser on your face, enjoy the coolness and feel on your cheeks, chin forehead and nose.
  9. Gently massage and savour the experience. Notice the movement of your fingertips and how your facial muscles relax.
  10. When fully applied notice how your skin feels- is it more sensitive to temperature, does it feel wet/ smooth/fresh etc ?

 


 

Have a field day and play around with the above steps however you like. Take as long or as short a time as you like.

Tip: Try this with various moisturisers e.g. day vs night moisturisers- you really start to notice and appreciate the differences between them.

I hope you enjoy – I always love to hear how you get on. Have you tried applying the above to any other mindful habits?

 

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