All posts tagged: love

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 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 …

Rosemary & Walnut Buckwheat Loaf

Oh hi gluten free buckwheat loaf that takes just 45 mins in the oven.  How are you, you gorgeous indulgent bread friend with benefits? Your herby lusciousness lures me to you… I drizzle you with olive oil and sink my teeth, sumptuously in to your soft nutty loafiness… Can you tell I haven’t had bread in a while?  I’m a conservative grain consumer, saving myself for only the whole and gluten free goodies among the grain family… My gut says thank you – now I’m free of stodge and bloating and my taste buds say thank you – you meet my sweet nutty desires… So for the gluten free among you, or those looking for a quick bread fix, full of nutty buckwheat goodness this is for you… Let me know how you get on… Ingredients: 450g buckwheat flour 50g buckwheat oats 1 tsp sea salt 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (gluten free) 450mls Almond Milk 2 sprigs fresh rosemary large handful of chopped walnuts Method: Preheat the oven to 200C Chop 1 sprig …

An Afternoon with the Goddess Durga

“Warrior Goddess of Protection & Inner Strength” Date:  22nd April 2018 Time:  4.00-5.30pm Location: The Zen Den, Hersham Booking:  £15 in advance Durga is the embodiment of the power of love, both gentle and fierce.  Through storytelling, meditation, chant and gentle movement we will connect with the innate power of Durga within us.   Once connected, this power is ours to summon for protection and inner strength throughout all our life circumstances. To book your place please contact Lauren:  lauren@blackdogliving.com / 07763 135146  

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 …

Sweet & Sticky Fig & Pistachio Quinoa Porridge…& Eating Intuitively

“The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful…” This line generates a feeling of warmth within me… not just that it connects me to my own inner fire, or Agni as it’s known in Yoga.  Tuning in to our own inner Agni can connect us to feelings of internal physical warmth, we might also refer to it as ‘the fire in the belly’ or our passion for life… it could also relate to our metabolism and the way in which our digestive fire transforms our food in to fuel. Fire is transformational by nature.  Turning matter in to gas and ash.  Untamed, fire can be a destructive force at one end of the spectrum (Think ‘burn out’ in the metaphorical sense) or a damp smouldering smoky non starter at the other end (a lack of passion or a ‘non starter’). Keeping our Agni burning just bright enough is the work of our yoga practice, and I don’t just mean Asana, I mean our true connection with ourselves.  The mind and body working …

Join us on Retreat…

Transform & Restore Friday 19th – Sunday 21st October 2018 Join Hannah & Lauren for a transformative autumnal weekend yoga retreat.  Mirroring the season of letting go we will be working with meditation, chant, asana and sankalpa to release old habits and patterns which no longer serve us and to nurture and restore body, mind and soul, ready for the winter months ahead. Staying at the beautiful Tilton House, East Sussex (voted by The Guardian as one of the top Yoga retreats and holidays), the house is set in the South Downs National Park, immersed in nature and history. From 3pm on Friday – 3pm on Sunday, our weekend includes 5 full Yoga sessions, all vegetarian food sourced from the orchards and kitchen garden, accommodation comprising twin or double rooms (and one triple room). In addition spa treatments can be booked at around £60 per treatment and house wine purchased at £12 per bottle. Total Price:  £375 Booking is on a first come first served basis via a non-refundable deposit of £100.  The remaining £275 …