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October is Mental Health Awareness Month

I have never really struggled much with my mental health, or so I thought. I have had times in my life when I have had prolonged periods of despondence and have always been super hard on myself and berated myself for my eating habits, inadequacies and body image. Is this more than others? I don’t know. I have never been diagnosed with depression but know I have suffered from depressive states that is for sure.

As a teenager I know I was pretty bad, toyed with taking my own life at one stage. To me it seemed like normal teenage behaviour, fuelled by the enquiry as to why are we here? What is the point? I dabbled with alcohol and other substances throughout my life, as a way of self-medicating my self-loathing. I have always been very open and have no issue bringing up my stuff. What I have realised is that so many others have had similar experiences, mild and harder struggles.  So many of us just put it down to being the norm. We can’t all be feeling great all the time. But is it “normal” or is it common?

I like to look at things from a wholistic point of view and I have worked with many people struggling with mental health. I taught an exercise class for people with severe mental illness for 6 years, even won a Fitness Australia award for my work with that group. My experience with them and others got me thinking. We need to look at this issue from the whole person point of view. What we eat, how much we move, our living environment, our support networks, our level of comfort and connection with our body and importantly our sense of self agency to be in control of our own life, our own body and our emotions. When we feel out of control, helpless and alone we do not feel good, no matter who we are.

Yoga has definitely given me the tools to be able to navigate the rolling waves of emotion and self-control, or lack thereof.  Yoga has given me a way to connect with my body through kindness and love, not hatred and torment. Yoga has taught me that everything is in flux and that holding on tight is not needed, in fact it’s what keeps us stuck. Yoga has been my salvation.

I am not talking about Asana, I am talking about all aspects of yoga, all 8 limbs that bring me to an understanding that we need action, we need relaxation, we need compassion, we need fire, we need love, we need adaptability, we need everything it means to be human to feel divine, to realise that everything we think, feel and do needs to be balanced and without balance we descend into chaos. Yoga teaches me that I am in control of my own life, my own feelings, my own awareness. Yoga teaches me I am responsible for my own mindset, for making change and for my own happiness, which is only gained from my inner experience and cannot be attained by anything outside of myself.

Each of the many practices of yoga, whether Asana, Pranayama or meditation are gateways into discovery, windows into the self and understanding. The poses are simply opportunities to explore where we are at, we meet our self there without judgement and see what comes. If we can approach our feelings in this way, we might find more space and compassion there.

In fact we are always just being witness to life. Something is observing. Our awareness is observing. Our awareness is consciousness. Our consciousness does not change. Our consciousness does not buy into the drama but just watches. Yoga allows us to see that we are pure consciousness, observer and connected. Living with this knowledge helps us step back from the fluctuations of emotion and thought, helps us create space around self and other and helps us live free from the torment these states can manifest within us.

Make A Move

As part of raising awareness for Mental Health Month I have been participating in the #Make a Move campaign for ReachOut. I have committed to 30mins of movement on top of my teaching and personal practice. It is really helping me to get back into a regular routine of exercise for myself, something that has fallen away over Covid times. It has gotten me thinking about these issues and reminded me what a great tool movement is for improving mood, making better food choices and generally feeling better about myself and life. You can track my progress on our Instagram each day or feel free to join or support our CYS team here should you feel drawn to take part.

Whats Happening at CYS this month

Our New Mandala

I am super excited to present this beautiful Mandala to you. It was created especially for CYS and embodies our ethos;


Mandalas are circles, repeated patterns much like the depiction of the Lotus or Charkas. They create an inner vibration and symmetry that harmonises on subtle levels. Whether you stare at it or draw them for yourself they create a sense of calm and beauty. The full story of the creation of this Mandala will be available on our website shortly.

There will be some stickers arriving for you to take from the studio should you like one and a small range of singlets coming. I am taking orders on hoodies as well if you would like a singlet or are interested in a hoodie please send me an email expressing your interest. Each singlet will be $40

Bolster Covers

Bolster slips are now available for purchase for $15 at CYS. By purchasing a bolster slip you will be able to use the bolsters. Place the slip over the bolster during use and then you can take it home and wash it ready for your next use. To purchase a bolster cover please email me here. There are only 20 available, I am happy to order more if there is a need. I could also do a printed version with the Mandala but these will be more expensive.

Please do not use the bolsters without a cover as they are reserved for Pre and Post Natal students. Remember to bring your towel to class to use in place of a blanket.

The Movement Shift

Anna Rutherford has a new class The Movement Shift. This class is F2F only and moves around so check out our timetable or Instagram under the Timetable Highlight for when it is on. The current dates and times are listed below:

  • Monday:  19th  October, 30th November and 7th and 14th December 9:30 – 10:30
  • Tuesday: 27th October 9:30 – 10:30
  • Wednesday: 4th November 2:00 – 3:00pm
  • Friday: 13th and 20th November 13:30 – 2:30pm

Put these dates and times in your diary and book you place via our timetable.

Kendra Boone – Yoga For Resilience

Yoga for Resilience group classes are available with Kendra Boone on Friday mornings from 9:30 – 10:45. Kendra is a registered Yoga Therapist practicing here in Canberra. She is wonderfully intuitive and a warm, calming presence for her students.

For more details and to book your place visit her website here: Kendra Healing Arts

Sarah Owen Workshops and Teacher Training

Sarah Owen is joining us in November for a day of workshops. We have one spot left in the Welcoming Spring Workshop and are fully booked for the Yoga Nidra Workshop.

If you have never been to an offering by Sarah before and you enjoy Yin Yoga then this is definitely worth coming too. A great way to nourish yourself and deepen your practice.

There is also the Yin Yoga Teacher Training Module 2 coming up in January. Places are filling up so if you are interested in doing some Yin teacher training or deepening your Yin practice, this will be a wonderful week and a great way to start the new year. We have only 3 places left so contact me to book a place.

Thai Yoga Massage Training

Thai Yoga Massage Training has been moved until 12 – 15th March 2021.
After much discussion with between Dani and myself we feel it is best to move the training until March. Hopefully by then we will have greater certainty around all things Covid and be able to hold the training with more ease. This training will be the Level 1 training module and is a wonderful way to give compassionate touch and relaxation. You may add it to your suite of modalities or as a stand alone offering to friends, family and clients. For more details check out Dani’s website and book your place.

Xmas Timetable – Summer Renewal Season

Each year we close for Xmas and shift onto an alternate timetable for the holiday period. Our Xmas timetable is starting to shape up nicely with some wonderful workshops from our amazing teachers and an opportunity for teachers and students to try new things and ways of practicing.

This year I have decided to do things a little differently. There will be 2 different packages available to you. The Restore and Renew Pass will give you access to all classes and workshops offered on the timetable and the Summer Season Pass will give you access to the Open classes only. There will be a good variety of both Open classes and workshops so hopefully I will have you all covered and supported to practice through the break, learn something new and wash away the craziness of 2020. Stay tuned for details.

Beginners students, you are also covered. There is a bit of a gap between the last beginners course, Summer Renewal timetable and the next course. We will be running some beginner level open classes for you during that gap. This will set you up ready to be able to attend the Summer Renewal Timetable with confidence.

Consistency is the key to mastery and growth so don’t stop when your course is finished. Yoga is a practice for life.

Seems there was actually a lot to mention this time around. I hope you are doing well and can see the light at the end of this years tunnel. We will get there together. Let CYS and your practice support you and encourage you to dedicate time to yourself, your health and your sense of connection.

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