Who is your ‘Dream keeper’?

Do you have a passion? A dream? Something you aspire to?

When talking over the New Year to Samia Rani from Creative Confidence, who is also a dear friend of mine, I asked her about what she has found the most important thing in maintaining conviction and dedication to your goals. She introduced to me the concept of having a ‘dream keeper’. (For more information about Samia check out her blog here)

Dream keepers are those people who you completely confide in to help you to establish your dreams. They are there only to support you – weather that’s by listening, providing you with caffeine, or giving you their thoughts and ideas! What is really, really important about your dream keepers is that they are NOT there to judge or criticise!

We all have firends and family who means well, but ultimately are not overly concerned with your welfare, more that they want a piece of the action, or that they want to be able to express something of themselves. These types of people are not, from my experience, very helpful to you as a dream keeper unless you establigh some ground rules first. This can be as simple as: Under no circumstances will you be negative about my goals. You will not share or gossip. You will listen to my ideas and hep me develop them, even if at first they sound a little far fetched. This is to ensure that you have a trusting relationship, whereby you can share anything you want – without feeling in any way that you are not achieving your aims and goals, and also that you ARE able to reach for the stars if you so wish! This also means that when you aren’t quite on track you can give them permission to hold you accountable for what you said you would do.

“So why didn’t you make that phone call?”

When I find something hasn’t been done… I look back and if I’m really honest with myself I have found that I was procrastinating – and if I’d just got on with it…. It would have been much better for everyone!!!! With your dream keeper you should be able to be completely honest, both with yourself and them. So choose your dream keeper carefully to ensure that they have the right qualities for you. If you can, choose someone who has already succeeded in something, that has some experience in the path that you wish to travel. This way you can hang out with someone who will help you. If you choose someone who doesn’t have the qualities and skills you are looking for – then inevitably, you will find yourself becoming more and more like them, and less like what you want to become!

I am fortunate enough that my dream keeper is also my mentor. I have the greatest respect for someone who can not only guide and give sound advice, but also listen deeply. In all my interactions feel valued, heard and most importantly empowered. Yes, I am definitely held accountable – so sometimes an email, sometimes and quick call or text – and I’m back on track. But I find that in this way I am hanging out with the right people and talking about the right kinds of things – and therefore by default I will begin to achieve much higher results than if I were on my own.

So choose wisely who you share your dreams with. Stay strong and true to your goals and stand firm in your conviction and integrity!

By Anouschka Dack

January – The Extended Runner

extended runnerThe Extended Runner Pose This posture is used within the Sun Sequence and also as a great body prep for the illiopsoas muscle for postures like Natarajasana (the Lord of the Dance), the Camel and the Bow. There are many ways to work with this posture to gain long term health benefits. Here are some of them!

1. As is in the Dru Sun Salute Fold your upper body over the thigh, then as you breathe in engage your core stability and begin to raise the torso to vertical as the arms float up to about shoulder height in front of you. See if you can focus on uncurling the spine as you raise up and with the out breath, roll the spine forwards as you bring the body back to the thigh. Allow the arms to follow the body as you come forwards and down, then sweep them past the hips and up into the air behind you into the ‘flight’ posture. Repeat this movement a few more times. Each time allowing the arms to raise progressively higher until they reach overhead, and if you feel comfortable, a little beyond the head so you get a great back bend – but do engage your core stability muscles and gluteals, especially with the back bend to protect your back.

2. Sweeping Arms From the start position above sweep the arms to the side and forwards and deepen the stretch into the front knee. Turn the palms to face upwards and then pull the elbows and hands back and in towards the waist. As an addition to this movement you can also straighten the front leg as you bring the hands to the waist, then bend deeply into the front knee as the arms sweep round and out in front. repeat several times to either side.

3. As in Energy Block Release 3 – The Thunderbolt We use the Extended Runner in EBR 3 in the movement we call the Thunderbolt. From the start position above roll the body forwards over the thigh, hands either side of the feet. If your right leg is back, take the right hand back towards your right hip (or if left leg back draw the left hand back). Then circle the arm up and behind you till it is at the vertical with you looking to the side of your body. With a quick out breath turn the hips and body, shoulders and arm to face forward and diagonally over the front leg. The arm, torso and thigh of the back leg should all now be in alignment. Relax the body forward and down, then repeat a few times on this side to consciously open the lungs, mobilise the shoulder joint and stretch through the back hip.

What’s your biggest carrot???

The other day I was talking with a friend and I asked her – what is your biggest carrot to get you out of bed in the morning?!?

From my experience as a yoga teacher I have come to understand just how important the first few minutes of each day are – they are essential to set the energy of the day and to hold a positive intention for what you are going to do and achieve. We all have those mornings which are a bit harder than the others – you know the ones –  when its cold… dark… raining… or you just want to stay warm and cosy… sleeeeeep zzzz zzzz zzz…

But all in all I’ve found that if I get up when I wake up rather than lounge in bed I have a much better, happier and more productive day. Having said that I don’t just leap out of bed and dive into the shower! The first 10 – 15 minutes are a perfect opportunity to come round gently and really savor the moment. Someone else I know has an automatic tea maker (whatever next!) which means she props herself up in bed and enjoys a cuppa without even getting out of bed (of course if you have a human tea maker its even better!)

So the important question is…. what do we do in those first few minutes?!?!?

In a way it goes back to your goals. What is it you want to achieve in the long run – and then split it down into manageable chunks.

1. Positive Affirmation
The first thing I personally work with are my positive affirmations. These are great to get in BEFORE the mind has a chance to get in with the self sabotage!  So things like; “I am full of health and vitality!” ” I stand in my full strength and power!” “I am so happy and grateful that _______”

2. Those who are close to me
Then I think about those who I love – “I am so happy and grateful that ______ is full of energy and has the confidence to _______.” You can make up all your own statements, however, do ensure that they are in the present tense and that they are positive and empowering – even if it’s your mother-in-law you’re thinking about… she must have some good qualities!!! You will be amazed how your relationships start to become more positive with every person you think about. This goes a long way to healing breeches inspiring forgiveness and most importantly keeps YOU inspired and uplifted too!

3. Think about your carrot!
What is it that you are motivated, passionate, excited and inspired about? THAT is your carrot. What is it that you would get out of bed for? What is it you would drop everything for and run towards? (I’m not necessarily meaning your work here!) What is it  – or even – who is it that you love most? When you think about that thing you love – you will find that because of the space you give to yourself first thing in the morning, ideas will start to come to you about how to make your carrot even bigger, better and even shinier! Creating the space and time first thing in the morning is a little like creating a vacuum for creative ideas to slip in. Therefore keep a notebook by your bed to record any fabulous flashes of inspiration as they come in!

 

Remember, the best time to do this is before you get out of bed in the morning. I find propping myself up with pillows is great – lying down to do this can be detrimental to the overall purpose of waking up with energy!!!

Anoushka Dack

Anouschka Dack

So tomorrow morning remember to wake yourself up with energy and vitality! Enjoy! Anouschka and the Dru Manchester team

 

A matter of mind over massage?

As a therapist I often get asked to ‘fix’ someone or get them better – but what does that really mean?

Over the last 10 years I have been on many holistic courses – always in persuit of the ONE therapy that will bring the most relief – i guess the miracle cure or the ‘pill’ that will fix everything and make anything unsavory just disappear… From CraniaoSacral therapy to hot stone massage, meditation and NLP – the question is always: what is the perfect combination?

Unfortunately you, like me, will find that there is only one thing that can ‘fix’ any problem and that IS that miracle cure… Yes – you’ve guessed it!!! It’s YOU!!!!

Now that may sound a bit harsh – of course we, as therapists, can ease your journey and give you guidance and even make it enjoyable – but I have found from my experience that is is our MINDS that hold the greatest control over what we see, feel and perceive. As each one of us is unique each of our paths is different. The way we feel nurtured and cared for is different. The way we see if a glass is half-full or half-empty… these are all filters that have been developed from a lifetime of learned judgements, perceptions, values and morals.

So is it a matter of mind over massage?

For me it’s simply a matter of mind and massage! There is no way I have yet found to ‘think’ away those aching shoulders or to ‘think’ away vertigo, but to apply the right formula of massage, yoga stretches and maybe even a pinch of positive self talk there is little doubt that with strength and purpose of mind we can achieve ANYTHING we wish for in our lives – and not just reduced back pain.

There are a few things that can really help keep your body happy and healthy. The most important is to ensure that every day you do some kind of movement work – whether it’s a walk in nature or some stretches – keeping your spine healthy is one of THE most fundamental ways to ensure optimum health. Remember that you spine moves forwards, backwards, sideways and twist – so doing these movements at least once a day should help to keep your physical body healthy and awake.

To train the muscle of your mind – you will have to be cunning and strategic – you’ll find that the mind has a great capacity for self sabotage. Just the other day I was talking to one of my mentors saying that I couldn’t get consistent with my meditation practice… The answer was quite revealing; “But you are CONSISTENTLY NOT doing your practice!!! Therefore your problem is not consistency! It is your MIND resisting doing something it doesn’t want to do!”

So in the matter of mind and massage I suggest a mixture – just like cooking find your best recipe by trial and error. Find the bits that work, the bits that need a bit more seasoning and the bits that complement your dish perfectly – then formulate your plan and stick with it for your total wellbeing in both body and mind!

Anouschka Dack is a holistic therapist and Dru Yoga teacher in Manchester. Specialising in holistic and hot stone massage and CranioSacral Therapy. To book an appointment email anouschka@druworldwide.com.

Dru Yoga for weight loss with Annie Jones

There are as many ways and theories of looking at weight loss as there are people eating!! This programme looks at the primary area of impact – the gut or small intestine (5 metres long). This is the place where all your food arrives in preparation for distribution! The more relaxed this area is, the better our absorption ability. The more easily we absorb food, the greater the amount of nutrients entering the body and the less we need to eat in order for the body to feel nourished and satisfied. In other words – relax and you will naturally eat less!

I believe that we are suffering from malnutrition as a nation. Even though we eat plenty, due to the stress and tension of the gut, there is an inability to absorb our nutrients. Therefore we eat more to feel satisfaction and nourishment. This leads to blood sugar swings and the need for sweet foods that absorb quickly and easily though the mouth and add to our weight.

5 keys to a happy gut!

1.    Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated . This will help overall movement in the gut.

2.    Take a moment to stop and breathe before you eat your food. As you breathe, the fragrance of the food will let the gut know to relax. All the necessary body juices and enzymes will prepare themselves to welcome the new arrivals – your food!

3.    Chew your food well so it is almost liquid. It will become absorbed quicker and more easily.

4.    Eat in a relaxed environment – not whilst having a meeting or on the run! This will allow your body to absorb in a relaxed state.

5.    Sitting twist: The following movement will help you to stretch and relax the gut thus adding assimilation and absorption of the food you eat.

Sit in the kneeling position. Using your right hand to steady you, move your body weight to your right side and come to sit on your right hip.

Lift your left foot and place it on the floor on the outside of your right knee. Adjust your position so that you are sitting squarely on the floor on both sitting bones.

Tuck your right elbow around your left knee resting the hand against the thigh and clasp your right wrist with your left hand, gently lifting through your spine.

Extend your left arm sideways in a wide arc and place it on the floor behind you, fingers pointing away. Inhale and draw your knee towards you. As you exhale rotate your torso to the left without straining your neck. In this position draw your abdominal wall inwards and elongate your spine.

To come out of this posture, release your arms and return to a forward facing position. Return to the original kneeling position and repeat on the opposite side.

Contra-indications

Anyone suffering from a hernia or who has had recent abdominal surgery should not attempt this posture. In addition anyone with spinal disc problems should check with their yoga teacher or health practitioner. Avoid this posture in pregnancy. It is best done on an empty stomach – but definitely avoid the posture if you have recently eaten a meal.

Physical Benefits

1.    The internal organs of the abdomen and pelvic area are massaged, and the lymphatic system is given a boost. Tense muscles in the neck and shoulders can be freed. The entire spine from the base to the top of the back is gently stretched and twisted, increasing mobility between the vertebrae.

2.    One of the most important benefits of the spinal twist arises from the increase in intra-abdominal pressure created by the twisting, and the resultant compression of the abdominal viscera. This pressure change should ideally be maintained for a few seconds in order to facilitate a detoxification of the intestinal tract.

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Would you like to manage your weight loss naturally? Check out Annie’s new CD: 5 steps to Balancing Weight loss naturally. Click here to find out more…