All posts tagged: cancer

Overcoming Anxiety & Finding a Grounding Yoga Practice…

I’ve spent almost all of my adult life suffering with anxiety. I wouldn’t have been able to pinpoint it at the time, or even acknowledge that there was a problem, it just felt normal. Being in a crowd would lead to a panic attack. Taking a walk with my toddlers would be punctured with invasive catastrophic thoughts of them being squashed by cars or snatched by strangers. Walking my dogs alone, I’d be meandering down the thought train of ‘what if I’m murdered here? What if I fall down and break my leg and there’s no phone reception?’… These thoughts come and go, but what they leave is a bitter aftertaste of fear. It’s an incidious process which, if accepted for too long as normal, begins to restructure the experience of living. Imagine seeing clearly, and then being fitted with a pair of tinted glasses, after a while the tint becomes normal and the way we see the world becomes coloured accordingly. It’s only when you take the glasses off that you remember how light …

Bedtime Rituals…10 minute Yoga & Cultivating Gratitude for the Day…

It’s a ritual I began after my cancer diagnosis. Faced with the fear of dying I suddenly became overwhelmingly grateful for the life I had, albeit with a life threatening disease. I’m now approaching 2 years all clear, but the ritual of gratitude at the end of the day (and sometimes intermittently throughout the day) has stayed with me. It was a struggle at first, thinking of something to be grateful for amidst the pain and uncertainty of life. I settled on the cosy socks I owned. Fluffy, warm, comforting. I’ve always loved a good pair of socks and as the gratitude for socks began to flow it opened my mind to just about every other aspect of my life which offered this comfort. A warm bath, a moment with a cup of tea, a hug with my husband or children. I began to focus on my home, my bed, our heating and hot running water. Having enough food to eat, the friends and family around us… After a little while practicing it occurred to …

Let’s Talk about Shame…

Shame lurks deep undercover, like a snake in the grass that you don’t know is there but step too close to that which it’s guarding and it’ll rise up with with all it’s got. ‘No closer’ it says as you look towards the deep undergrowth, ‘what I’m guarding is secret, it can’t be shared’… It’s enough most of the time, for us to move away, to let it be and to avoid going back. If you’ve ever felt that there’s something about you which is really dark, really disgusting, something which is different. If you’ve ever felt like you don’t fit, like everyone else is getting the plot and you’re failing at trying, there’s a chance that shame is the gatekeeper to that feeling, like a snake in the grass wrapping itself around what it’s guarding and holding on tightly. For shame, the fear of exposure is deadly, so it’ll use everything it has to survive. Being a harbour for shame is playing it’s game, is conforming to it’s rules and steering clear of the …

Distraction, Addiction & Avoiding Pain… Learning to be myself.

Hello, My name is Lauren and I am an addict.  I am addicted to anything which enables me to avoid feeling my feelings. In order not to feel, I distract myself purposefully, even wilfully by being exceptionally busy.  By saying ‘I can do that’ to anything that means I don’t have to think or feel, it might be caring for others, cooking, shopping, offering my services, teaching another yoga class, cleaning the house, scrolling through facebook, eating too many biscuits, drinking too much alcohol, the list goes on.  There are of course, lots of other drivers for these actions, but for me the ignition, before practicality or necessity and to the degree that I’m so busy I am physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted, is distraction.  It’s a deep internal pleading for my mental, emotional and sometimes physical pain to be taken away.  ‘Taking the edge off’ or even fully submerging myself in avoidance through whatever it is I’m addicted to in the moment (including Yoga classes by the way), is like putting blinkers on to …

My Anger, My Inner World, And a love note to Agni!

My Anger… I am so angry.  I’m angry because I’ve denied my anger for as long as I can remember.  I’ve denied my anger because I didn’t think it was pretty, or pleasing or useful.  I bought in to the Bullshit that in order to be a grown up, successful person, especially one who’s a yoga teacher, I would be pleased and gentle and kind and understanding, and above all I would put anyone else before myself, including anyone I walked past in the street and anyone who ever spoke to me, and anyone on the TV, and that’s everyone.  And then if my anger spoke up, I’d hush it away and try to pretend it wasn’t there.  Like shoving playdoh in to a pot that’s just a bit too small, bits spilling over the edges and me all the while trying to shove the lid on, playing ‘nothing to see here, anger, no, not me I’m calm and gentle and pleased about everything, stop looking at me funny and it’ll all go away’… Buying …

My Name is Lauren, I am a Recovering Bullshit Addict

A year ago I discovered I had cancer.  It took six months for shock to pass (aside from the physical recovery from major surgery), and a following four months of crazily energetic distraction to finally acknowledge how much fear, grief, loss, trauma & pain my family and I have gone through.  I am finally beginning to process those feelings and its taking everything I have (almost).  I emerge from a sleepy crying, snotty ball to teach yoga, to walk my dogs and to be with my family when they need me, all of which I love, and all of which are more than enough for me to deal with. Before cancer I was a Bullshit Addict.  I knew how to paint on a smile, I knew how to save you from my pain, my grief, my suffering and my desperate loneliness.  I was a hardcore pretender.  Bullshitting like my life depended on it, drowning my sorrows in smiles, and parties, and booze and home furnishings.  Before cancer I knew how to say ‘I’m fine’, when …

Hot & Pungent Chilli Prawn Ramen Bowl & the True Benefits of Bone Broth

Craving pungent warmth?  This ramen bowl HITS THE SPOT!  And it has lots of health benefits too.  I’m just over a stinking cold and with a fridge full of slow cooked bone broth this recipe gave me a hot hit and all the re-mineralising benefits of the broth.  Although strictly speaking this isn’t a Ramen as there are no noodles, but if you’re not grain free, then feel free to add some! So what’s all the hype about bone broth?  I was looking for specific mineral analysis breakdowns and found lots of varying and not very promising results relating to what you actually get from bubbling your broth for long periods.  Initially I felt disheartened, but then I remembered the fab smell of the bone broth sitting in the kitchen, the warmth of the slow cooker, the good feeling of using up a carcass and the rich flavour the broth provides.  There’s no question it’s good for the skin and digestion, you feel in once you’ve eaten it, but it seems as though the jury …

Breathing, Biorhythms & the Bija Mantra – How Yoga Heals us…

I don’t know about you, but in the process of wanting to be well I’ve discovered just how disconnected from my sense of self I have been in the past.  Noticing is always empowering, but it’s also frustrating.  When you notice something about yourself which doesn’t conform to the picture you’d like or had subscribed to, your world falls apart, maybe in a small way, maybe fundamentally, it really depends on how much life has been built on flawed foundations.  Take the example of me being a yoga teacher.  It might look and sound to the outside world as though I’m pretty peaceful, but in truth what’s led me to yoga is a lack of peace.  Yoga scooped me up when I was at my lowest, least peaceful stage of life to date.  After leaving a career to raise my children and then seeing both children off to school I felt hopeless and lacked purpose.  I couldn’t relax or find any value in the day to day living of my life.  Anxiety set in, and …

Eat to Live, Don’t Live to Eat…5 Life Enhancing Food Choices

I was about 10 when I heard my granddad say this.  I didn’t fully understand what he was saying as a child, I totally forgot it as a teenager of course and as an adult turned it on its head and lived for every sugary snack, pizza, glass of wine or bag of crisps I could get my hands on.  In more recent years I switched those indulgences to ‘organic’ or ‘high end’ products.  My focus was mainly on eliminating chemicals and preservatives.  I enjoyed eating healthily but I most certainly enjoyed the extras too.  That was B.C. (Before Cancer). Cancer drops like a bomb in the centre of your life, scattering its parts far and wide… Those parts of me were and still are scattered.  Pulling my life back together is currently my life’s work.  To go back to what was though, to live relatively carelessly would be to deny what has happened, it would undermine my gratitude for being alive and well, and I just can’t do that, but equally I can’t live …

Sacred Sleep, 5 Powerful Sleep Aids for Improving Vitality

Sacred sleep… Are we getting enough?  And how does sleep deprivation impact our daily lives, our sense of vitality and our overall health? I’ve slept a lot recently.  Having been stopped in my tracks by critical illness, I’ve transferred my energetic focus away from the mind, its thoughts and fancies, and towards the body and its needs.  It seemed obvious that, following surgery, I would need to sleep.  But in fact what I have noticed in prioritising sleep, is the mind’s ability to convince the whole body that what it thinks, fantasises about, fancies and fixates on, is actually more important than the needs of the organic organism which houses it.   The mind can be like a child, who doesn’t see the importance of clearing up, washing up, putting things away, or taking care of things and instead just does whatever he or she pleases.  The body has its own voice, which is led by feeling and being – this deeper more intuitive voice is often drowned out by the busy mind child, clanging …