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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finished candles

I’m absolutely taken by the new wellness trend sweeping homes everywhere – Hygge. It’s been hard not to avoid, but if you’ve missed it it’s something you’ll certainly want to get involved in!  Hygge, pronounced ‘hue-gah’/’hoo gah’ comes from wonderful Denmark. It essentially stands for cosyness and all the things that make you feel warm inside.

Since living in Aarhus, Denmark,  I’m ‘slightly’ obsessed with scandi culture and Hygge is the latest trend I’ve embraced.  I’m hygge-fying my life to the max this winter;  think cosy-nights in, hot tumeric lattes, snuggly blankets, dinner parties with friends and candles – LOTS of them.

I wanted to create thoughtful Christmas gifts for my family and friends this year and decided to give the gift of Hygge through homemade soy candles. The result has been so much better than I ever anticipated and I just can’t wait to give them out….squeee.

If you fancy giving the gift of Hygge or just love a great smelling soy candle that won’t cost the earth take a look below at the really simple steps.

 


What You’ll Need:

(I made 10 candles and used the below amounts, adjust for what you need. Also I didn’t have much time to shop around online so headed into Hobbycraft for most things… which isn’t the cheapest way, but I’ve linked the items anyway.)

  • 10 glass containers 
  • 10 Pre-waxed wicks  with metal tabs (you can buy unwaxed but these are hassle-free)
  • 10 Pens / chopsticks/ sticks …you get the idea
  • 1.8kg Soy wax flakes
  • Essential oils of your choice (I made a few combos which used Clary Sage, Bergamot, Pine, Patchouli, lavender, sandalwood.. I REALLY wanted Cedar but it was out of stock)
  • Labels, paint, stamps etc. to decorate with

1 | Prepwicks

  • Ensure all the glass containers are clean, free of dust and grease
  • Stick down the pre-waxed wicks to the base of the jars. (If, like me you, don’t have sticky tabs on the wick disks melt a candle you already have and use some of the wax to stick the metal tab to the base of the jar
  • Use pens/chopsticks etc to hold the wick up straight. Wrap excess wick around the pen

2| Melt

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  • Set a large saucepan of water on the hob, bring the water to the boil and then turn to a simmer
  • Place a glass bowl in the water
  • I melted the wax in batches as I wanted different scented candles. I used a spare candle jar to measure out wax into the glass bowl,  1 candle = 2 x the jar volume
  • The wax will take about 10 mins to melt

3| Mix

essential oils

  • Whilst your wax is melting concoct your scent mixes in a small bowl. (you can add your essential oils directly into the wax but I wanted to smell-test the mixes beforehand)
  • I used about 50+ drops in total per candle
  • When the wax is melted and the fragrance ready, take the glass bowl off the pan
  • **IMPORTANT** Do not add your fragrance whilst the wax is boiling hot- allow it to cool for a few minutes as the heat can take away the fragrance of the oils… not ideal..
  • Mix the oils into the wax using a metal spoon (easier to clean)

4| Pour

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  • This bit is tricky so take care.  You can move the wick to the side to help pouring the wax from the bowl into the jar
  • Take your time to pour the wax from the bowl into the jar- mind you don’t drip any around the edges as this will set around the jar and make it look messy
  • After a few tricky tries I got the hang of it and decanted the wax into a glass pouring jug for better accuracy
  • Before leaving to set ensure the wicks are in the centre of the molten wax
  • Leave overnight to set

 

5| Decorate!

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  • I designed labels on PhotoShop and printed them onto standard sticky labels
  • For some extra jazz I dotted gold 3D paint either side of the text
  • I also used string and tags to personalise each candle for the recipient. Each tag was stamped with a gold mandala for some mindfulness prettiness

And that’s it!

These were super, super simple to make and the result is , I think, really pretty. They also smell absolutely divine and the soy wax means they burn extra cleanly.

I can’t wait to give them out as gifts this Christmas :)

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Made Mindful

Have you ever been on holiday/ travelling and felt like you need a holiday in order to get over the holiday? Since returning from my travels things have felt a little ‘stuck’ waiting for the next big thing to happen to move things in the right direction and frankly the waiting game isn’t working. The New Year provides a great chance to reflect on your goals and re-focus your future journey.  

These past few weeks I’ve given myself a self-compassion fuelled kick up the behind and put in place some serious steps to get this mid-ish 20’s life party started.

I jotted down a few of the things I’d been dreaming of doing but not made any real headway with over the year and had a gutsy week of planning, visiting and booking three solid things that will start me in the right direction.

Move along humdrum 2016 and make way for a Rihanna inspired year of “work work work work work” …and a whole load of self-development too.

The future belongs quote


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Introducing you to the sneaky plan I’ve been hatching. Here goes:

1. January 2017 – Green Yoga India, Goa – 200hr Yoga Teacher Training

Kicking things off perfectly is yoga teacher training in January.  I’m so so ready to get stuck into a month of structured yoga practice with others and to learn more about the history, spiritual aspects and get to do it all from hatha to aerial yoga! Also super stoked as I’ve never been to India so going to fit in a few days either side for travel from Mumbai to Goa and a cheeky bit of surfing which is never as appealing in the chilly UK.

2. February 2017 – September 2019 –  College of Naturopathic Medicine

Back to school again and 3 more years of studying come at me.  I’ll be starting at the CNM on their diploma to become an accredited Nutritional Therapist. First year, Biomedicine. I could not be more happy than to go back to studying, I geekily love learning. Biology always fascinated me at school so the Biomedicine first year is right up my street, followed by two years of nutritional training and real-life clinics! This step is a biggie but imperative to self-sufficiently working in the wellness arena.

3. June 2017 – Mindful Academy – MBSR Teacher Training Level 1

Wohooo I’ve finally enrolled on a Mindfulness Teacher course after nearly a year of searching and searching. The retreat in Solterreno looks amazing and after speaking to Bodhin, one of the course teachers, I feel I 100% made the right decision choosing to study with them. I’ve already received the course material and 90-page practice scripts (eeek) to get stuck in studying now. This is a dream come true- I’m finally going to start working towards teaching Mindfulness *runs around*.

Work Work Work Work Work

In between all this jolliness girl got to get her head down and work to fund all of this. This part of the plan is rather open ended at the moment and I’m just going to go with it, probably doing something completely random, so watch this space…


 

I really really hope this post is more inspiring rather than going all ‘Gap Yah’ on you. It’s so so easy to get stuck in a deep old rut- I’ve been there,  I get it, but if you have a dream to do something you can absolutely do it. Yes it’s grim at times and sure there are compromises – I’ve moved out of the city I love to afford it all, become a temp receptionist at car dealerships, veterinary practices, roofing companies- you name it, in order to allow some stress-free time and basic income, but when the plan all comes together it is going to be all so blooming worth it.

We’re all in it together and I’d love to hear about your journeys too. What’s your dream, what are you up to, how’s it all going, let me know in the comments below or send me an email to emma@emmalouclark.com

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candles and succulents top Since bringing mindfulness home from the classroom I realised the need to create a calm, uncluttered space in which to practice comfortably.

At first this posed some issues, living in a shared house with a small budget for decoration doesn’t exactly lend itself to the dream of creating a spacious separate room dedicated to mindfulness. Instead I needed to work with what I had, my teeny bedroom crammed to the brim with all my worldly possessions.

I found lots of inspiration through other bloggers and looked to Pinterest to establish a theme and pick up some tips. (You can see my Pinterest board here).  Below are some of the rules I applied to create my space:

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