Gemstones for Ahimsa

If you're looking for a reminder to practice ahimsa (both towards yourself and to others) meditate with or wear rose quartz.

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Known as the ‘stone of unconditional love’ rose quartz opens the heart to both giving and receiving love.
A calming and reassuring stone of compassion and peace, it dissolves fears, resentments and anger. Rose quartz draws away negative energy and replaces it with positive vibes.

This stone encourages self-acceptance and self-trust, and teaches us how to love ourselves, opening the door for us to love others.

Meditating with rose quartz encourages the wearer to be compassionate, and to release patterns that no longer serve them.

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All designs shown in the images are available to purchase now in the shop tab. If a style or size you'd like isn't listed, message us as we'll be happy to make something just for you!

Journal: Ahimsa in Actions

This week we're exploring the idea of ahimsa (non violence) in our actions, both on and off the mat.

There are many ways we can be violent on a daily basis whether it's pushing our bodies too hard on the yoga mat, not taking care of ourselves physically, driving aggressively, purchasing items from sources that do not align with our values, and in our interactions with people around us.

Do not to be disappointed in yourself or give yourself a hard time for actions of the past or errors made. We have the opportunity to learn from mistakes and recommit to our practice every day, doing the best we can from there.

Remember most importantly both on and off the mat, your best is enough!

Grab your journal and find a quiet spot with a cup of tea and write about the following:

Journal Ahimsa2

Freewrite about ways in which you have an affect on the world around you in your daily life. Consider interactions with other people, products you consume etc. Are there any areas in which you could practice ahimsa? What steps will you take this week to encourage more peaceful interactions and choices.

Are there any parts of your physical yoga practice (asana) in which you could practice ahimsa? Are there any poses that you force? Do you have any injuries that you should protect and modify for? (If you do not practice yoga poses, consider this question in relation to your daily actions/workouts etc).

Ahimsa In Our Day To Day Actions

ahimsa chocolate

I don't think I realised how vast the reach of ahimsa is until I made it the focus of my journaling last week. I recommend exploring the deeper reaches of non-violence in our daily actions and choices, but also do so with a word of warning that it's an enormous subject that can feel suddenly overwhelming! What I discovered that was to some extent everything we do and everything we consume has an impact on something or someone in the world in one way or another.

Earlier this week I was reading an article shared online by my school (I went to a Quaker school. Quaker beliefs are also firmly rooted in the practice of non violence). Quakers had been a large part of the chocolate industry in the UK as a non violent alternative to the alcohol industry. The two main companies (Rowntree's and Cadbury) are no longer owned by Quakers since being purchased by Nestle and Kraft. The article spoke about the potential use of child labour in cocoa plantations and the use of palm oil in their products, and the writer's concern as a Quaker about consumption of the products as a result. He spoke of moving away from the traditionally Quaker brands which are no longer owned by people following the ethics (non violence) of Quakerism, towards fairtrade chocolate instead.

'How is consumption of something like palm oil violent?' you may ask, 'it's sourced from plants and suitable for vegans, what harm could it do?' Palm oil is used in many food and cosmetic products but unfortunately the production/sourcing is often linked to mass deforestation, the killing of endangered animals such as orangutans, and destroying indigenous tribes.

This got me thinking about the many other things we do every day that on the surface do not appear violent or harmful, but in fact may not be as harmless as we think. Everything we do has an impact somewhere from wardrobes full of fast fashion made by underpaid (sometimes child) laborers to the use of plastic straws that contribute to ocean pollution.

There are so many implications to what we do on a daily basis that it may feel impossible to make a difference, but please do not get discouraged, the small actions of ahimsa that we practice do add up.
This is acknowledged by a British primatologist Jane Goodall when she said 'You cannot go through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.'

Remind yourself that the yogic path is not about perfection but about awareness and doing what you can.
Gandhi understood that living in 100% ahimsa is not always possible when he said 'Ahimsa is the highest duty. Even if we cannot practice it in full, we must try to understand its spirit and refrain as far as is humanly possible from violence'.

This week, take a few moments to consider the larger effects of your actions, from the items you purchase and consume, to the people you interact with daily. Make the commitment to practice the spirit of ahimsa as much as possible.

Gemstones: Overcoming Negative Self-Talk

If you're looking for a gemstone to compliment the inner work required for Ahimsa, and overcome negative self-talk, Orange Aventurine is perfect!

Orange aventurine is a stone of good luck, fortune, and new possibilities. A confidence building stone that is helpful when dealing with issues of self-worth, it is known as 'The Whisper Stone' as it helps to quiet a critical/judgmental inner voice. Orange aventurine encourages perseverance and helps to focus energies of creativity, vitality, and determination, helping the wearer to find new ways to overcome challenges in one’s life. Orange Aventurine calms the mind of inner chatter during meditation.

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You can carry a tumbled gemstone in your pocket or purse, or hold it during meditation. Alternatively you can wear an orange aventurine necklace or bracelet as a beautiful visual reminder throughout the day. Orange aventurine jewelry including the one shown in this photo is available in our shop tab, or contact us for a free custom design quote to have the perfect piece made just for you!

Journal: Ahimsa

Journal writing helps us to understand our thought processes and behaviour patterns. Grab your journal and set aside some quiet time to write in response to the following prompts.

Ahimsa Journal 1

Write a letter to your inner critic. Write down some of the mean things s/he's been saying and then explain to him/her the things you're doing right.

Do a negativity purge. Grab a piece of paper and write about all the negative things that have been swirling around in your mind recently. Don't over think or edit, just write quickly!
Once you have it all down on paper give yourself permission to let the thoughts go and leave them on the paper. You can keep the page in your journal, or dispose of it any way you wish. If some of the situations need to be taken care of in the future, commit to approaching them with a fresh pair of eyes and fresh mindset.

Keep a daily gratitude journal.
Taking time at the end of the day to reflect on the people and things we are grateful for can help lift us out of negative thinking. Whether you're thankful for the 5 minutes you got to enjoy a cup of tea that morning, or for a friend sending a text, or for your dog who shows you unconditional love, focusing on what we do have rather than what we don't helps to switch from a negative to a positive mindset.

CHALLENGE: For the next 2 weeks (or longer), keep a daily gratitude journal. Write down 3 things every evening that you're thankful for that day.
Feel free to share one of today's with us in the comments below!

Ahimsa In Thoughts

Our first week's focus on Ahimsa in the studio we'll be starting with the internal work; we can't be non violent on the outside if all we have is violence on the inside!

Something that no one can see from the outside, but almost all of us experience, is negative thought patterns. We can talk ourselves into believing we're not good enough to follow our dreams, not smart enough to join a conversation, and we beat ourselves up about something we said a day, week, month or even a year ago. We tell ourselves we can't do things before we even try and then, as a result, never try. We play out scenarios in our minds that have never even happened and let them get us angry and irritated (this is especially harmful when done in the middle of the night, robbing us of both our peace of mind and hours of sleep!). We grumble internally while waiting in queue for a cashier who takes their time. We let a car cutting in-front of us or impatient driver cloud our thoughts with negativity. We hold on to anger and grudges for years, not necessarily hurting the person with whom we hold the grudge, but definitely hurting ourselves.

I'm not suggesting that we can magically forget all negative thoughts (expecting to be able to do so is a sure way to start a new spiral of negative self-talk: 'Ugh that was a negative thought, I suck at this, I'll never shut my mind up, everyone else can do this but me, why do I even try -aargh they were all negative thoughts. I give up!'). It is however important to be aware of how negative thoughts affect us both mentally and physically. Negative thoughts create stress and tension in the body as well as the mind, they steal the joy from your days and affect our interactions with people around us (often stealing their joy too!)

As with the process of meditation, the first step is simply to be aware of what is happening in the mind; to be an observer of the endless chatter. We can look at thoughts from this perspective of detached awareness and can choose what to believe and what to ignore, what to engage with and what to throw out.

When it comes to internal chatter, I like to ask myself 'is this useful?'. If it's not, I get to change the subject or replace the negative thoughts with more useful ones.

As you go through the rest of today and the rest of this week, practice being an observer of your thoughts both on and off the mat. Over the course of the day/week, notice if you are habitually more inclined to think negative or positive thoughts. Notice if you play out arguments, negative interactions and scenarios that haven't yet happened. Notice if you dwell on negative events or conversations of the past. Notice if you tell yourself you're not good enough/smart enough/can't do whatever-it-is-you're-trying-to-do.
When you find yourself in those negative thoughts, notice how they make you feel both physically and mentally, ask yourself 'is this useful?' then take the opportunity to stop the thought and refuse to follow it down its rabbit hole to the depths of negativity. Take a breath and reset. Over time it's possible to change our habits of negative thinking, to allow more joy and peace to enter our minds, and to share that joy and peace with the people around us.

Ahimsa

As many of you know there is more to yoga than just a physical practice. That's not to say you can't participate in only the physical practice, however the internal work that we can practice while on the mat can be transformative off the mat, helping to encourage feelings of peace, confidence and happiness.

April's focus in the studio is Ahimsa. 

'A' translates as 'without'
'Himsa' translates as 'to harm'
This is often translated as non-harming, or non-violence and is the first of the yogic principles.

Ahiimsa

Ahimsa could appear like one of the easiest yamas if looking at the big picture as we don't go around hitting or killing the people around us, but what if you start taking the idea of ahimsa to the smaller things we do everyday. What if we look at ahimsa through the lens of how we treat ourselves and others both in thoughts and in actions.

Over the next 4 weeks in the studio we'll be exploring the practice of ahimsa alongside our physical practice. We'll explore ahimsa in thoughts and actions, and seek to practice ahimsa through balance and courage.

Mantra: Overcoming Doubt

This week’s mantra helps us to overcome self doubt. Self doubt is often rooted in fear: fear of what others might think, fear of failure, even fear of success.

Mantra Doubt

To overcome this doubt we must learn to trust in ourselves. To help with this, our mantra this week both in the studio meditations and off our mats is ‘I am confident because I trust in myself’

Repeat it often (even when you don’t feel it!). Don’t let self doubt stand in the way of you being you, of you following your dreams, or stop you from putting your ideas out into the world!

Journal: Overcoming Doubt

This week's journal questions are exploring self-doubt - grab your journal or your computer and get ready to write.

As always these answers don't need to be shared with anyone. Don't censor or edit yourself, let the words flow and explore how you feel about the questions raised.

Doubt Journal

Recall a situation where you regularly doubt yourself.
How does it feel physically?
How does it make you feel emotionally/mentally?
What is the result of this self doubt? (both the time spent in self doubt and the way it effects the final result of what you intended to do).

Self doubt often stems from fear; What is it that you're afraid of when you're doubting yourself?
What can you do to reduce the amount of time spent doubting yourself?
Name something you will do each time doubt arises to combat the negative thoughts and move forwards with confidence.

Overcoming Doubt

DoubtIn one of our flow classes recently I guided the yogis into a challenging transition. This transition was not dangerous in any way and I knew everyone present well enough to know that each of them was physically capable of what I was teaching, and were aware of a simpler transition available if they didn't want to try it.

Each of them followed my cues and transitioned to the pose. I didn't pay attention to whether they 'did it perfectly', that wasn't the purpose of the transition - the important thing in that moment was that each of them tried something that was difficult. They gave it their best and went for it, despite knowing that it might not have the outcome they'd hope for. The best part of the practice was that all of the yogis were smiling and were so happy and proud that they'd tried it.

I wondered why, on that day, everyone had gone for this transition when usually there is hesitation and the option to take the simpler transition is taken by most. One of them mentioned afterwards that I had given them no indication that the difficult transition was coming. We hadn't stopped for a breath to prepare, and I hadn't given extra cues or words of encouragement.

They had no time to doubt themselves.

There was no time to tell themselves stories about it being too difficult for them. They had no time to ponder on how they were afraid to do it. They didn't talk themselves into believing it was something they couldn't do. They weren't worried about perfect results.

In the ancient scripts of yoga, there are 9 obstacles (kleshas) in life, both on and off the mat. One of those obstacles is samshaya or doubt.

Doubt makes us get in our own way. We tell ourselves stories that we're not good enough so often that we start to believe them. These limiting beliefs stop us from attempting tasks and challenges. We worry about the results not being perfect so end up not taking action at all.

We can never succeed when we doubt ourselves. When it comes to achieving our goals, imperfect action is better than procrastination and inaction.

This week in the studio we'll bring our awareness to doubt and practice overcoming it with new stories of self confidence and belief. What we practice on our yoga mat is certain to help us off the mat to reach our personal, health, and professional goals.

See you in the studio!

Gemstones for Focus

If you need to bring focus to your daily life it’s time to wear (or carry) tiger eye. We’re here to help make that possible with our energy collection of hand made jewelry. 

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Tiger eye is a powerful balancing stone, allowing the wearer to bring thoughts and emotions together in a way that can be understood.

A stone of stability and focus, it allows you to be to be logical rather than emotional, and helps you to accomplish goals and make positive changes in life.

Tiger eye is effective in soothing internal conflict associated with jealousy and pride. It allows the wearer to truly understand their abilities and talents by healing issues of self-criticism and feelings of unworthiness.

Tiger eye is beneficial for anyone who finds it difficult to remain optimistic as it encourages hope and confidence for the future. Meditating with tigers eye encourages a well-grounded and peaceful meditation.

This stone is available in our store as a knotted necklace, stackable single bracelet or 5-wrap mala bracelet as well as a leather wrap - so many styles to choose from!

This highly versatile stone is available in matte or gloss finish - message us for a custom design made especially for you. To purchase any of these designs go to the shop tab and explore! If an item is out of stock or not available in your size, please message me and I will be happy to make one for you.

Journal: Dristi

This week our practice on and off the mat is the exploration of drishti/gaze and focus. If you haven't already checked out our article about drishti below, take a few minutes to read it before considering the journal prompts for this week.

Journal drishti

 

Grab your journal or open a new word document on your computer, turn off distractions and set your timer for 15 minutes of writing. Don’t filter yourself or worry about doing this wrong or right; journaling is an opportunity to explore your thoughts about something and to dig deeper without judgment.

STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE:
Playing it safe is, well, safe but can stop us from growing to our full potential. What would you like to do that you're afraid to try?
Why are you afraid to try?
How will you feel in years to come if you never make any attempts to reach your goal or dream?
Name something you will do this week to step closer to that goal or dream.

CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE:
Feel free to do a forward fold or downward facing dog for a few long breaths and take in the world from a different point of view before coming back to your journal.
What limiting belief about yourself do you need to turn on its head?
Create a more positive statement can you replace this belief with and note it down.

Namasté
Shona

Affirmations for Focus

Drishti image

This week's affirmations are related to focus & drishti - pick one for the week and use it as a positive reminder any time you feel like you're getting off track.

I am calm and focused in all that I do.

I channel my focus into this present moment.

I know that energy flows where attention goes.

I forgive myself for past mistakes

I release the need to compare myself to others

7 Benefits Of Yoga Drishti दृष्टि On And Off The Mat

In a yoga practice the Sanskrit word 'drishti' refers to our gaze or focus and can also mean a vision, a point of view, intelligence and wisdom. Applying drishti in a the physical poses can make the difference between finding balance and wobbling or falling over but it's benefit reaches far beyond the mat. Whether you're new to yoga or have been practicing for years, learning to apply a steady drishti can benefit our lives both on and off the mat

Drishti

BALANCE: 

Drishti helps us to focus on a single, steady point during balancing postures that can help to balance us physically. If our gaze is wandering all over or settles on something that is moving, we will not achieve our goal. Off the mat, if we do not know what we're working towards in life, we lose sight of our goal, or if the goal keeps shifting we will not find stability or progress in the direction of our dreams.

STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE:

In challenging poses like half moon, a steady gaze to the earth can help us balance, though once we feel stable we are encouraged to challenge ourselves and shift the gaze to the top hand. If you're safe and stable with the downward focus point, you may feel uncomfortable shifting the gaze and be afraid of falling out of the pose. Practicing this uncomfortable shift helps us off the mat as it encourages us to challenge ourselves even if there's a chance we could fail. It encourages us to shift from our comfort zone to pursue something we're reaching for, even though it may feel uncomfortable and difficult.

CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE:

Often in life we get fixed in our ways and in our ideas of how things are. The yoga mat is a great place to shift our perspective by turning the world upside down in a forward fold or downward facing dog. Off the mat this encourages us to dare to look at things from a point of view.

DON'T LOOK BACK:

In a crow pose, if you look back at your feet it's likely that you'll land on your head with a bump. In this pose we learn how important keeping our gaze just in front of us is so that we can move forwards into it. Off the mat, if we focus only on the past and things that are behind us, we are unable to find lightness in the moment or move forwards in life.

STAY IN YOUR LANE:

Sometimes in a yoga class, whether you're new or familiar with the practice, there is temptation to glance at other yogis in the room and compare. This can start a mental whirlwind of either self-defeating or egotistical thoughts about your own abilities compared to others. This is an opportunity to practice staying in your lane. Yoga is not about being 'good at' or 'bad at' poses, and comparisons in yoga (and in life) do us and others a disservice. It's important that we keep focused and humble. Drishti in this instance encourages us to ditch the comparisons and focus on ourselves and our own path.

FIND CONTENTMENT:

When we feel bored our gaze and our focus can wander. In yoga this can happen when a class is slower than you had wanted, or the study for the day is on a pose that you've become complacent in. This is an opportunity to use the steady drishti and focus on the moment to find contentment or joy in the little things in life. This helps off the mat to maintain focus whatever the task, as the big achievements in life happen through the (sometimes slightly boring) work done consistently every day.

BE PRESENT:

Our thoughts like to wander, as does our gaze. Use drishti on the mat to practice to still the gaze and be present in the moment, resisting and retraining the wandering mind. Off the mat, allow this practice to help you connect more deeply with the people you interact with daily, focusing on them and the moment rather than running an unassociated internal dialogue.

Gemstones For The Space In-Between

fossil coral mala

This week we continue to focus on taking time for the pauses in life, on the practice of resisting distractions and being present with our thoughts and feelings, and in the moment.

If this is something you feel you'd like to practice more in the weeks and months ahead, fossil coral is the gemstone to wear!

Fossil coral is a grounding and calming stone believed to increase intuition, imagination, visualization, and concentration.
It is especially useful in decision making as it provides clear insight, and clarity of thought. Fossil coral is linked to bravery, modesty and wisdom, and is used to attract success and encourage a positive outlook on life.

Fossil coral is helpful for promoting inner peace and contentment, quieting disruptive thoughts and emotions. This beautiful stone is said to assist in business endeavors, whilst keeping one grounded and motivated.

I love these gemstones, and my first mala was made from fossil coral. It's a gorgeous stone that ranges from light brown/sandy shades, to greys, and dark browns. It's created when ancient coral becomes buried and replaced with agate (not to be confused with precious/reef coral).

If you would like a single, double, triple or 108 bead bracelet, or a hand knotted necklace made of this gorgeous stone, comment below or message me for a free design consultation.

**The mala shown in this photo is currently available in our shop