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Five Ways to Stay Calm and Confident this Christmas

Natalie Snooke - Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Christmas Stress Momentum Coaching and YogaEnd of school concerts, work Christmas parties, pressures to buy stuff for people who don't need it, even a swag of yoga events happening. With so much going on, it can be enough to over-shadow all of the effort and quality time you've put into nurturing yourself on the yoga mat this year. 

But fear not. It doesn't have to be like that.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, it's now time to engage all of the self-care and awareness tools you've been dosed with. You can survive this Christmas.  More than that. You can prepare well, relish the break and celebrate all of its goodness.

Here's our five hottest tips for not becoming another victim of the Christmas crisis.

1. Shift your attitude.  
Catch yourself when you're starting to say things like "I'm so stressed out" or "There's too much to do". Yes, you do have things to do but the approach (stress or calm) is up to you. What you tell yourself you become, so choose your self-talk. Instead say "I'm taking things step-by-step" or "I just do what I need to do". 

2.  Remember to say 'No'.
Yes means nothing if you can't say no. If you say yes to everything and everyone, you'll probably burn out. Choose carefully and be prepared to say a firm, but gentle 'no'.  

3. Take Each Day as it Comes
Be present to each day and keep it simple. Ask yourself in the morning, 'what are the three most important things I need to accomplish today?' Put your energy and focus into getting those done and be happy with that.

4.  Remember to Breathe
When we're anxious or stressed, the breath gets lost which inhibits us from accessing our creativity and joy. Make a point of keeping up your regular breath practice (if you already have one) or build some breathing moments into your day, like when you're driving and waiting at the traffic lights, in-between work meetings or sanding in queue at Woolies. Take long, slow in-breaths, breathing into your belly, chest then upper shoulders and long slow out-breaths, feeling the breath wave back down your body. Do 5-10 rounds. You'll feel all the better for it.

5. In the End, Its Being that Counts
You can spend your life in busy-ness and having an endless to-do list, trying to be every-thing to every-one, or you can practice just being - each and every day. When you become skilled at being - and remembering yourself as a human being - it naturally overcomes the needy trap of 'doing'. When being is our fore-most way of showing-up in the world, then staying calm is much easier. Things take on a natural order and we get done what we need to, as we need to, without the layers of stress and strain.  Even in the lead-up to Christmas.

Choose how you'll approach this Christmas and enjoy the journey!

Take some time-out with us at Momentum this Christmas. We're open with daily classes right up to and beyond Christmas. And a swag of great events to keep you smiling. 




Bali Retreat Reflections

Natalie Snooke - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bali Retreat Momentum Coaching and YogaBlogging (to be interesting, helpful or provocative - or all three) is challenging at the best of times, but after our Bali Retreat it hits another level of challenge. After so much fun, friendship, relaxation and deeply enriching experiences, finding the words to describe what happened is a bit like standing in front of your favourite ice-cream parlour's window on a hot day, not knowing where to start or what flavour to choose!

Our group was a delightful mix of women, most from Perth and others travelling from as far as the Philippines and the Netherlands. Friendship and laughs came with ease. As each day unfolded, the individual stories did too, giving each person time to air their challenges and insights - and to finish-off conversations completely - without the need to rush back to family or work commitments. 

Mealtimes were a favourite time to share, as we explored the awesome western and Balinese vegetarian food created by Ketut and served with love. From tofu and bean stir-fry, to pumpkin soup and gado gado, to pisang goreng (fried bananas) and klepon (sweet coconut rice balls) our tastebuds were treated at every meal. As yogis, there was always plenty on offer to tempt us and thankfully the mindfulness we generated during our yogic practices helped us to not over-indulge!

Bali Retreat 2014 MeditationOur retreat theme, the Joy of Being seemed to unfold naturally, right from the moment we entered the village of Seseh along the quiet, coconut palm and rice field-fringed road. The serenity oozed from the lush green surrounds, beckoning us to surrender to its peacefulness. This road would become a pathway our retreat goers would often tread, in quiet contemplation at sunset - except for the cheery rice field farmers, quick to raise a smile and wave hello. 

Speaking of sunsets, the beach was the other magnificent venue for nature's nightly display of colour and contrast. Our venue at Kura Kura was just a stone's throw from the ocean and our group enjoyed many splendid vistas, across the waves and over the horizon. Falling asleep to the soothing sounds of the waves was magical.

Bali Retreat 2014 SwimmingAside from the peaceful surrounds, fabulous food and friendly care by the Kura Kura staff, the 'juice' on our retreat came from diving into yoga, meditation and breath work at the start of every day. The opportunity to loosen physical and mental boundaries, and dedicate time to going more deeply 'inward' was embraced by everyone. Each day we explored different themes in our yoga asana (postures) and movements, such as Grounding Down, Letting it Flow and Finding Your Edge. Sometimes quiet and passive and at other times strong and dynamic, our bodies responded in ways that surprised and delighted us. Being given careful instructions on the finer points of breath work (pranayama) and meditative practices was the icing-on-the-cake, showing us the way beyond self-doubts and giving us a deeper taste of our loving hearts. Our yogic practices culminated in spending a day in silence - whilst still in the company of others - it was an unforgettable experience that was appreciated and relished by all, including Lucky the resident dog who joined-in by being bark-free for the day!Bali Retreat 2014 Relaxation

We spent part of most afternoons in self-discovery workshops, where we could explore how to integrate the benefits of our yoga practices into daily life. We learned about the role of samskaras (our learned patterns of thinking and behaving), the eight limbs of yoga philosophy and the anatomy of the koshas (or energy layers) and doshas (energy types). Great fun was had in our mandala-making workshop, where we loved playing with colour and creativity to express ourselves.  

A visit to a sacred Balinese water temple, accompanied by a healer, was the perfect way to experience the spiritual essence of Bali. Being immersed in temple spring water that rises from the centre of the earth, cleanses the mind, helps to heal the heart and soothes the soul - and the shiny looks on our faces afterwards said it all. 

Bali Retreat 2014 Water TempleThe true sanctuary of a retreat comes from the attitude and generosity of all those who partake. And this one was a beauty. Thanks to our retreat participants and to everyone at Kura Kura for an unforgettable Bali Retreat 2014.  

Being Savvy

Natalie Snooke - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I recently came across the phrase 'Global Savvy' in an international coaching article by Geoffrey Abbott and it struck a chord with me. I hadn't heard the phrase before but it described being 'globally savvy' as the capacity to create positive value from the interplay of feeling, acting and thinking, where the context is diverse and messy.

I really liked that last bit. Messy. And what does being savvy have to do with messy? I wanted to know more. 

The author talked about being savvy - in this case globally savvy in a cross-cultural coaching context - as "injecting subtle energy" into the way we feel, act and think.  That someone is savvy if they habitually:

              • Feel positive about difference and are curious to explore;
              • Act to create connections and remove barriers;
              • Think in ways that can handle uncertainties, ambiguities and paradoxes.

We can ask ourselves: how do feelings, actions and thoughts interplay for me? What shifts in my energy and attention could I make in order to be more savvy?

Depending on your personality, and whether you're a head, heart or more gut-centred person, my guess is that you'll find some elements of the three more challenging to consider than others.  For example, if you're a gut-centred person, you'll have strong instincts and tend to move into action quickly to make things happen.  Instead, a more savvy approach might be to spend more time on the interplay between your feelings and thoughts - to think about how your behaviours might have the best possible impact for others and to be more curious about exploring your own feelings. 

If you're more of a heart-centred or feeling person, then it's the interplay between thinking and acting that you could focus on.  Thinking about how you'll handle difficulties and what actions you'll take to create genuine connections with others.

If you're more of a head-centred or thinking person, then the interplay between feeling and acting could yield you positive outcomes. How do you feel about different scenarios and how would you behave in order to remove any barriers between yourself and others?

In the hum-drum of everyday life, the context is often messy, yet this messiness is needed if we're wanting to grow and be savvy.

Regardless of being 'globally savvy' or 'self savvy' (as I'll call it), it takes time and ongoing effort to develop new habits. And as we inquire more truthfully, yet playfully into the motives behind our feelings, actions and thoughts, especially in challenging situations, we're able to see more clearly where we might be stuck. 

As the author says, "the challenge is to explore and leverage the connections across the three elements and to look for growth and development that is integrative.  It is a framework for you to open up fresh conversations and engage in the paradoxical state of 'serious play.'

Whilst it isn't always easy, if we're really interested in doing our part to become a happier individual and to make the world a better place, then our work starts with us. Despite not necessarily understanding, or agreeing with, another. And despite things being messy.


The Love that Emerges Through Fear

Natalie Snooke - Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Life's painful events can have an uncanny way of revealing so much about ourselves, our relationships with others and what matters most in life.

Over the past fortnight, I have witnessed my beloved Dad go through an unplanned yet significant medical procedure.  It was heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time.  Even writing these words today brings tears to my eyes.  

At first there was shock and disbelief at having to quickly come to terms with a life-threatening condition.  Then understanding the options, the reality of the surgery, the risks, the potential complications and the dreaded stories of those who don't 'make it'.   If there could ever be the perfect recipe for fear, then this had all of the essential ingredients!

Despite his fears, the greatest being for his own life, Dad showed tremendous faith and courage to go ahead.  With full family-support from my Mum, brother, sister and I, the day of the surgery was one I'll never forget.  In the hospital ward, in between all of the medical checking and double-checking just waiting, it was hard to speak words.  Dad was feeling it all, like going to hell and back I guess.  But still there was nothing left unsaid.  The strong loving presence that emanated between us said more than words could in any case.

Then in a matter of hours it was over, and Dad was 'there' again.  Such joy and relief!  Although his face was pale and his body raw, we knew that he would be okay.  Day by day, recovering his charm, regaining strength, taking steps and breathing deeper, Dad's had a rebirth.  And we have too.  

Dad's willingness to be scared, to be completely overwhelmed with emotion and to be held by those who love him, has been an incredible teaching.  When you can walk through fear, on the other side is profound love - they are two sides of the same coin - and this applies to us all.  

When we open to love, fear gets healed and soon loses its place.

"Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within." ~ James Arthur Baldwin

  

Gratitude

Natalie Snooke - Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Today I grateful.  

I am grateful for this precious human life, for this breath, for this vehicle called the body and for THIS moment.  

I am grateful for my mind, for its creativity and reasoning, that's sharp at times and meandering at others.  

I am grateful for the chance to learn, to explore, to discover and to rediscover the beauty in simple things, like the opening of a flower.  

I am grateful for the many others who walk this path of curiosity and for their inspiration, for their sharing and their humility.  

I am grateful for having the strength to feel deeply, to cry unashamedly and to express honestly, even when it gets scary.

I am grateful for the untold blessings from Masters and teachers near and far, passed and present, male and female, for their unwavering commitment to truth and to love.

I am grateful for the gifts of delight that children bring, for their innocence, for their excitement and their joy, and for the wise and valuable lessons that they teach us adults everyday.

And I am grateful for Mother Earth, for all the oceans and the forests, for the deserts and the beaches, for the seasons and the rains that support and nurture our souls, day in and day out.

When I am grateful, there is a fullness in my heart and an ease in my mind that allows me to rest and know that life is taking care of itself and all I have to do is to surrender to its flow...and to be grateful again and again.

What are you grateful for today?


Making New Year Commitments Fun

Natalie Snooke - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

With the advent of another new calendar year comes the temptation to make half-hearted 'resolutions' that might sound good and idealistic in a fleeting moment, yet don't serve us or inspire us in the long-term.  Resolutions made without any real sense of commitment usually lead to us feeling de-motivated and less confident about ourselves.  Commitment, now there's a word that many of us shy away from!

So, how can we set goals, with commitment, that are both worthwhile and enjoyable?  It has to do with our attitude.

A quick check of the dictionary describes commitment as 'the act of committing, engaging or pledging oneself'.  Whether we're aware of it or not, we all have things that we have 'committed' to.  Noticing where you spend most of your energy and time each week, will reveal to what and to whom you're actually 'committed' to.  And if we aren't mindful and act like 'it doesn't matter' or we tell ourselves 'I couldn't do that' then in effect, we're pledging ourselves to negative attitudes that will stop us from really enjoying our life and becoming more of the person we want to be. 

What New Year's brings is a refreshing opportunity to mindfully reassess and make a more CONSCIOUS commitment to what matters most to you and also an opportunity to have FUN in the process.

Try these steps:

1.  First, make a commitment to FUN, that no matter what your goal or intention is, that you'll do the work that it takes, but that you'll be light-hearted with yourself and enjoy the process!

2.  Second, that YOU are worth your time and energy.  No one else can do it for you.  Make your priority #1 commitment to yourself.  Self-growth and self-happiness can only come from you and your efforts.

3.  Third, write down your goals and intentions.  Use clear, simple, positive and inspirational language.  Read them with a trusted partner or friend.  And stick them on your fridge, mirror or wall where you can read them everyday.

May 2014 be your year to shine brighter and to enjoy your journey in every way possible!





  

A Funny Sex Talk That's Worth Sharing

Natalie Snooke - Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Momentum Coaching and Yoga Funny Sex TalkI was much too proud (read that as scared) to ever ask my mum openly about the birds-and-the-bees. And I guess mum was too.  I was given a little 'blue book' to read and told to get back to her if I had any questions.

I guess things have changed a lot since then and these days with such easy access to information via the internet, parents really have their work cut out for them!  Here's a wonderful take by comedian Julia Sweeney about how she handles things with her eight year-old daughter...enjoy!

http://www.ted.com/talks/julia_sweeney_has_the_talk.html

Spirit is All Around Us

Laura Cargill - Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Community Wellness Day Shamanic Healing SessionYou know those times when you say something, or someone else does, and it makes the hairs on your arms stand on-end?  Or sends shivers down your spine?  When this happens, its usually a significant moment, not to be taken for granted.  And I've come to realise that its when 'spirit' is showing up.

At a shamanic healing workshop we hosted on the weekend (thanks Catherine!) our group collectively experienced this, as we called-in spirits or energies from the north, south, east and west.  As well as tingling all-over, my body was on fire!  It wasn't something I was controlling, it was just happening.  I could really feel a presence of energies all around me.  

Too often in life, we get caught up in doing and thinking, which scatters our energy and attention, and we don't happen to notice these little signs showing us that good-spirit is all around.  Supporting us and guiding us.  It was a beautiful reminder about what can perceive when we're still and we pay attention to what's going on in the subtle realms beyond our physical bodies.  Positive energies or spirits who have left their bodies, do indeed return to guide and support us on our journey.

I believe we are spiritual beings having a human experience.  And each time this happens, it strengthens my ability to trust those tingling moments and to trust in life. 

What about you?


Dying & Being Alive

Natalie Snooke - Tuesday, September 03, 2013

"One of the best means for arousing the wish to work on yourself is to realise that you may die at any moment."  Gurdijeff

When I came across this quote this morning, it really struck me.  I'm not one who likes to dwell on the potential negative of a situation, or if I'm really truthful, to think about my life ending, however I am interested in living truthfully and the truth of life is that we will die.  And that we don't know when!  So, it got me thinking, if I was to die at any moment, would I wish I'd worked on anything about myself, and if so, what would that be? 

I guess being open to others would come up for me.  Trusting a little more and suspecting a little less.  Not being afraid to let things go, knowing that it was for the best.  Being able to let things fall apart, knowing that I will still be okay.  Not needing to feel like I have to 'keep it all together'.  And I recognise that managing a small business really puts being vulnerable like this to the test.  

What also comes up for me is going more gently on myself.  I'm a pretty independent person, who has often struggled and forged ahead, paving a different way, sometimes at the cost of my own well being.  Being more gentle on myself creates a feeling of relief.  It allows me to soften into my own heart, and to be there more authentically for others, without needing to feel responsible.  

Interestingly, as I write this blog, it feels really nice to get in touch with such truthful stuff.  I don't mean to sound melancholy, but if I did die, you know what, I would do so with a happy smile in my heart.  Knowing that I gave life 'my all'.  And knowing that in essence, in spirit, we never actually die.  




Life Happens For Us

Natalie Snooke - Tuesday, June 25, 2013

During times of challenge or struggle, when things don't seem to be working out, I've found this saying to be a particularly empowering reminder "life happens for us and not to us".  

Notice how it feels different when you say 'for' instead of 'to'.  'For' tends to feel open, like there's some possibility or chance, whereas 'to' tends to feel closed and trapped, like we are a victim.

As human beings, we are growing and evolving creatures amidst the ebbs and flows of life.  Just like any game, things are never static or the same and if we can learn to play along, then we can be free to enjoy more of the ride.   Inherent in accepting that life is 'for' us, is also trusting that it will present us with every-thing and every-one that we need to learn, to grow and to reach our fullest, happiest potential.

So how does this happen?  

If we take any life situation involving another person who we feel is wronging us, there is the golden opportunity for self-learning and moving forwards with greater freedom and joy.  We do this by letting go of the 'he said, she said, he did, she did' story, tempting though it may be to get stuck there.  We accept the person and circumstances are just as they need to be, although this might be hard, we can do it!  And we take a deeper, honest look at our own reactions and what is being revealed about ourselves, to uncover the true learning potential.  The learning might be the opportunity to practice patience, or to be compassionate, to reconnect with our own tender feelings of past hurt or perhaps to establish greater self-love and self-confidence.  

When we can take this approach to life, we open to something deeper, to an energy or essence within us, that feels more at ease, free, content and peaceful that if we were to remain at the level of blame and victim.

Just like the wise poet Rumi says: "Be grateful for whatever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond."



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