Blindfold yoga

25th November 2015: Sydney, Australia

The recent decision to trial varying yoga teaches and styles has resulted in the sense of needing to share a specific experience with others. Last night, I arrived as usual to the studio, prepared with some brief stretches before being informed the class would proceed without use of our predominant sense. Obviously, there was an option to discard the blindfold, however, I was not going to pass on this moment. Immediately, an excitement, intrigue and overall enthusiasm was felt at this foreign prospect. Honestly, no hesitations were present within my thinking. Instead, a receptive, curious and awaiting mind was centred upon the next hour.

At the most basic level, eliminating our sight could link to thoughts about an unsteadiness, and of course, I imagine differences would have been evident if the many times I had my vision were compared with yesterday. However, solely focusing on a physical unsteadiness overlooks the deeper awareness allowed to open when a shift occurs in the way we reliance on our senses. Honestly, the class facilitated a deeper connection in regards to the relationship between my body and the space around me whilst also making me feel attuned to what was happening inside my mind. Furthermore, the act of temporarily taking away the sight from everyone in the room allowed a true freedom to exist. A freedom whereby everyone could move without a worry about how they looked.

Bellingen and the ‘Promised Lands’

21st October 2015: Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia

Today, a moment occurred today whereby a thought came upon me, and has since stayed with me till the time of writing. I was at the ‘Promised Lands’, a place known for freshwater swimming pools existing in the area. My intention was to complete yoga on the banks before cooling off in the majestic natural baths. So, a secluded place was located, and in a typical manner I commenced preparing for some yoga, however, a feeling swept across me. A feeling only described as a sense in my body of a reluctance to proceed with the range of planned poses. On other occasions, I usually push through, and always reap the benefits of the practice, however, an overwhelming sense that my intentions were incorrect could not pass from my consciousness. Thankfully, I listened to my body, and ultimately stopped any further attempts. Instead, I simply sat and looked at the scenery. Honestly, it was a moment whereby the natural surroundings evoked total appreciation for my life, and the next two hours were spent interchanging between swimming in the freshwater and sitting on the rocks eating fresh fruit. On reflection, it was a necessary reminder of not always needing to rush or adhere to plans. Rather, the need to be connected with my body to at times have the capacity to just stop. Consequently, I passed on a yoga session on the banks of the water, but experienced complete and utter joy in my surrounding environment whilst returning to a childlike version of myself exploring the water and rocks.

Yes… Swim (part two)

18th October 2015: Sydney, Australia

I understand the message yesterday was a little militant, and the style may have polarise some of you, however, regardless of whether it is something you enjoy or not, there are benefits just waiting if you would accept the challenge. Admittedly, the thought of swimming laps, wading through the water or completing other exercises does not always evoke an eagerness or joy, however, the intended target of this experiment is to both psychologically challenge the mind whilst hopefully encouraging whoever is reading this to reap the health benefits associated with completing some form of movement in the water. Similar to running, or other exercise pending the interests of people, the thought of swimming can be too mundane or not something previously deemed a valuable inclusion in your weekly plan of movement. In all honesty, it is not easy, but either are the challenges in life. So, accept the challenge by jumping in the water, push through the doubt, and finally reap in the awaiting benefits.

Goal setting

16th October 2015: Sydney, Australia

Firstly, I should note, I am writing this post without a specific population in mind, however, feel the content may resonate to those in process of achieving a particular goal. Also, prior to continuing, I must acknowledge that many similar messages are widely available on the Internet. So, obviously I am by no means claiming to be writing anything revolutionary. In contrast, the message is extremely basic, and in the most simple format, it can be introduced by sharing a comment recently directed towards me. The comment has repetitively been heard over the past 20 months, and it is typically structured in such a way that suggests I should be resting more and not over-exerting my body. Therefore, in an attempt to understand the reasoning behind the comments, I pose a number of points. Do people think comments such as the one mentioned or other similar messages directed towards you stem from:
a. Concern for your welfare?
b. Fear for the success you can achieve?
c. Jealousy of the drive and commitment had to achieving in your goal?
d. Other (please comment).

If I repeat the past, will that then become my future?

11th October 2015: Sydney Australia

The plan for improving with my physical strength was to concentrate solely in the first instance on a reintroduction of yoga and swimming. The combination of the two activities were implemented, and a degree of success was obtained, however, a question surfaced revolving around the thought of what results would be obtained by simply repeating the planning from last year? Obviously, progression was the primary focus, namely, having the capacity to once again undertake a range of calisthenic exercises. But, really, do I just want to reach a similar level to last time, or do I wish to push beyond any point achieved in the past?

The answer is simple. Obviously, I want to most definitely want to surpass any past levels of strength and fitness, and therein lies the reasoning for adding a routine of tabata into my weekly regime. Basically, tabata is a range of explosive exercises completed in a short period of time with limited breaks. It is extremely useful for anyone who considers themselves time poor. A category I do not associate with, however, being able to complete a fairly strenuous routine in 15 minutes only works in collaborating with yoga and swimming to hopefully place me in a position whereby I can achieve some of the outstanding exercise goals established last year.

Yoga is the best form of rehabilitation

8th September 2015: Sydney, Australia

The reintroduction of yoga could not have come at a better time. Honestly, it feels like my body was sending messages to my brain, alerting it to an increased capacity to do more than just rest and recover each day. Admittedly, yoga only lasts an hour, however, it provides a sense of purpose, focus and stimulation in my life. In addition, it reinforces the reality of the restrictions in my current movement. An overall awareness is also associated with yoga, namely, the need to focus on where your body is willing to allow you to move, a seemingly pivotal point during the the early stages of rehabilitation. Failure to be attuned with your body could easily result in temporary or permanent damage, and it is only through total awareness whereby you will instinctively know when and how much you can push yourself through each pose.

Patient vs Professional control

26th September 2014: Sydney, Australia

A visit with my GP was completed today. Whilst there, I explained my recent symptoms, was then checked for less than five minutes and walked out with a precautionary prescription of antibiotics. When thinking about the appointment, I am mindful of the context surrounding the appointment. Firstly, both the doctor and I had an understanding that the purpose of the appointment was a means to pursuing a financial claim rather than seeking actual medical attention/advice. Secondly, the doctor is fully aware that the Cancer I had removed in February effects approximately 1:1000,000 people, with a specialist involved in the management of my care. Therefore, a degree responsibility is removed from his duty of care. Finally, I imagine the rarity of the circumstances evokes a degree of caution stemming from a limited understanding about the Cancer and the proposed treatment. The fact of the specific type of chemotherapy not registering on his database is evidence to support this.

My intention is to not place criticism on general practitioners, rather highlight the need for others to take control of their treatment whilst encouraging people to educate themselves prior to appointments and use specific planned questions when having face to face contact. In addition, the point of seeking alternate modes towards health promotion can’t be stressed enough. The above example demonstrates the complete attention directed to pharmaceutical interventions rather than factors such as diet, movement, stress, etc. It has already been noted that the context surrounding each appointment has created a diminished responsibility for the doctor, however, I left feeling reassured that a self-directed strategy to work towards my long-term plan of health and wellness is essential. The feelings stem from a simple questioning of whether it was really that unexpected for my immune system to be weakened, allowing my sore throat to persevere when I had not been living by my key principles? The answer is straight forward. Of course a reduction in regular movement compounded by reduced sunlight, a flight from Europe to Australia, increased stress, insufficient sleep and a slip in my eating approach is going to leave my body weakened. It may sound bizarre, however, with the exception of the nausea and fatigue, my mind and body have never felt as good as they have this year. I believe this all results from the adopted approach to life whereby a recreated a body and mind is more resilient to infection whilst I continuously strive for self-imporvement. Therefore, when some, if not all these factors are stripped away isn’t it inevitable that my body is going to negatively react, allowing an infection to surface? To conclude, a deserved rest for the body and mind is needed to get me back on track, and the steps are already in motion to achieve this. For example, I have recently sourced information to further my knowledge base about maintaining my health, my eating has improved, I am continuing plans for a detox, have been able to direct greater attention to the area of mindfulness, am getting direct sunlight and am slowly integrating movement back into my life. I speak with a confidence that the prescription will not be necessary when I am writing next week with a renewed healthy and focused mindset towards both my current circumstances and future prospects.


25th September 2014: Sydney, Australia

I’m home! What an exhausting few days. Work came to a close, all my goods were packed and shipped, the emotions in leaving my girlfriend plus managing the fiasco surrounding the excess luggage at the airport left me feeling physically drained. The 26 hours of transit time, including the 20 hour period in air conditioned planes hasn’t helped. Consequently, all the factors combined to leave me with a few hundred dollars missing from account and the emergence of a past enemy who has not had the courage to be seen this year. An enemy with a proven capacity to lay dormant before showing it’s dominant self in in times of stress. An enemy when surfacing sends immediate caution throughout my mind due to the company it kept last time we encountered in November/December of last year.

Reference was made yesterday about a lowed immune system, and some clarity is required on the passage above. The enemy in mention is a sore throat. Previous to last year, a sore throat was simply the single defining point telling me that I was needing rest. It could be a day, week or more, however, at the end of last year it signalled something much more imminent, and it brought along a damp, rotten, unhygienic associate who lived by night to cause restless sleep. A coincidence it may be, yet, caution is required as it is the first time this year I have had a sore throat and night sweats. Two major signals regularly on display last year.
Only looking at these two symptoms as reasons for caution instills a fear that is needing to be subdued, particularly now given the chance as back at home, not working and having the time and space to direct my full focus towards my health and well-being. In addition, I have recently endured a fair amount of stress, a known player in the Cancer game. So a modified strategy is required. The planned consultation with a chiropractor should provide some assistance, however, I have come to realise that greater attention is required focusing on the capacity of my mind to both heal and protect me. Therefore, modifications of my strategy will include emphasis on my sources of nutrition, level of movement and how I am resting.

I’ve noted previously that I believe a healthy approach to nutrition is followed at most times. I prefer to use the word approach, rather than diet, as the word diet has a connotation to a short-term fad, whereas an approach can, and should be viewed as a life-long sustainable way of fuelling your body with nutrients. So if I feel a healthy intake of food is already happening then what should be modified? Yes, those carbohydrates high in a GI index can be cut out, more raw foods can be added to my meals and the plate can be greener, however, is that all? Well, I recall reading and listening to podcasts whereby the benefits of a detox or a fast were explained. Yes, a tad hypocritical as it may be deemed a short-term measure, however, it is something I have been interested in, and a book by Jessica Ainscough (the wellness warrior) further attracted my interest. Like others, the book details the positive effects a detox or fast can have on your body so the warning signals, i.e. sore throat and night sweats have placed me in a position where I am motivated to research the necessary sources, enabling me to make an informed decision about whether a detox or fast is required and if it is likely to be beneficial for my body.
It could possibly be another alternate means to support my recovery or be of no significance, however, when measuring the benefits in comparison with the detrimental effects of a possible two day fast or detox, it seems little more discussion is needed. Time to start researching and look at a possible starting time of next week.