I decided I was going to write a blog about yoga and I was looking for an image to inspire me and fit with what I was going to say. I almost scrolled over this one as it wasn't quite making sense for me until I suddenly thought, "Your balance is within your reach".
My yoga journey started about 11 years a go where I was lucky enough to start my practice in an amazing studio in Ballarat (Absolute Yoga) and to this day I still enjoy following the happenings of the studio. Since then I've been blessed to practice with some other amazing teachers and over the journey have explored Hatha Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, Restorative Yoga, Slow Flow & one class each of Ashtanga & Hot Yoga! By the time I became a yoga teacher myself I had been influenced by a number of amazing teachers who had provided me with a deep & inspiring practice.
I was lucky enough to be shown and to experience the way yoga naturally brings you back into balance. It helps you align with your true nature and reconnect to your own innate strengths & wisdom. Yet it also creates a safe space for you to be vulnerable, to meet each pose where you are in any moment and to learn when to go a little deeper & when to take a step back. It invites you to listen to your body & offers you an opportunity to accept your body just as it is in that moment.
Too often we hear (and I just heard it today!), "Oh I'm not flexible enough for yoga!", which is missing the point of what yoga is all about. I have to admit I've seen some amazing videos of some super strong & flexible Yogis but most of us aren't like that! Of course it works for some people but most of us have to meet our yoga poses with our tight hips or shaky legs, fatigued bodies or busy minds (insert whatever is going on for you).
Yet all yoga really asks of us is that we show up! Simply turn up on the mat and be present or if you can't be present right now then simply accept that and through that simple process of accepting our 'limitations' we create space for the magic to flow. One day you'll be practicing your yoga and all of a sudden you'll suddenly find your pose changes, something you never thought you could do is suddenly being done and you will also come to realise that even if nothing changes, that is ok.
Yoga is your practice and as a teacher it is a wonderful thing to witness people honouring their body's and making their practice their own. There is no 'right' way to do yoga, although showing up with an open mind and an open heart definitely helps. Yoga as the power to transform you on many levels, well that's what it can seem like! In reality it is just bringing you back to yourself, as you reach up in your poses you say to the universe, "I'm ready to expand' and as you move through the Warrior poses you say, "I am strong" and as you rest in Child's pose you say "I surrender" knowing it is safe for you to be vulnerable.
Yoga can be for every body & there is so much to be gained from this beautiful practice. I feel blessed to be able to hold this space for people and look forward to continuing to learn, share, grow and let go on my yoga journey.
It's an old story and one I've probably told before but it was one of those treasured moments that changed the way I thought and taught me something super important. Every now and then when I move out of alignment (as we all do) the memory surfaces to remind me. Many years a go now I was meeting a friend at the Victorian Night Markets and it was super, super crowded! We made our way through the dense crowds, grabbed some food and found somewhere to eat. To be honest with you I was finding the crowd annoying or should I say, I was letting myself be annoyed by the crowd! Anyway we sit down on the ground in a place that was not too crowded and without knowing why, something in me just shifted and I simply enjoyed being with and talking to my friend. As I did this it was like the world disappeared and it was only us in that moment, so much so that by the time we went to get up I was surprised to see we were actually in the middle of a mass crowd, our relatively empty spot had filled up without me even realising it. Since then I use this story as a teacher, to remind myself that how I respond inside helps shape my experience on the outside. Inner peace is not only found in a deep meditation on a mountain top, it can be experienced in all conditions and in any moment. Creating a beautiful & peaceful environment can help but bringing that inner peace into challenging situations and noisy environments can help. Practice meditating or taking deep breaths in busy & noisy moments & next time you feel yourself getting stressed out or agitated, ask yourself, "How could I respond to this situation/challenge better" or "This is interesting, I wonder what that's all about". Talk well to yourself and trust that inner calm that lies within.
I love crystals and I love when I get a chance to work with them in my sessions. As a Myotherapist I was trained in dry needling but I chose not to use them in treatments as I didn't feel a connection and I believe the tools you use need to be an extension of your hands. The right pratitioner will use needles in a wonderful way! For someone like me who loves working with energy, co-creating magic with my crystal friends is much more appealing!! Crystals with their own beautiful energies can do their thing while I'm working on another body part. In life it can be easy to get caught up in labels & expectations when all we were born to do is to be who we are. Take a moment to breathe deeply and allow your magic & uniqueness to rise to the surface, for no matter what you do there is always a place for it to shine!
Most of the time when we book in for a massage we are thinking about some sort of pain, tension or discomfort in our bodies. The majority of the time the massage focuses on the back and neck, it seems to be where we most notice these pains and tensions!
Don't get me wrong, these are great and much needed places to massage, yet over the years there are some powerful release points of the body that can be forgotten with everything else going on.
The feet are a well respected body part in many cultures, centred around the belief that happy and health feet equals a happy and healthy body. I have to admit I've seen some good results and shifts when working on these. The head and also the hands seem to be key points of the body that respond well to bodywork.
So next time you book your massage, it might be nice to have your hands included. If you think about it, our hands are constantly working and most of us would benefit from a bit of nurturing in this area.
In the meantime, try a nice hand bath at home. Soak your hands in some nice bath salts and warm water (I like Soakology!) and perhaps massage with a nice moisturiser when you're done. After all, our hands deserve some love and care too!
If you are anything like me you have probably spent years trying to work out who you are and have been peeling off the layers to finally align with that person you were born to be!
Us humans have an interesting way of complicating (okay.....absolutely over-complicating!!) things that should be simple. Trying to find answers that deep down we already know. We spend years trying to live up to all these expectations, trying to justify our existence and our worth. So much doing and not so much being!
"Look at all the effort I've put in" we say. "Look how hard I've worked" , "Look how much I've sacrificed" and yet still we keep on searching. We try new jobs, new locations, new partners, new friends and yet somehow we still don't know who we are. We spend so much time doing and not so much time connecting with that 'inner knowing'.
And the truth is there is a deep wisdom in all of us, that innate knowing that shows us the way and reveals to us all that we are capable of. It creates the space for greater peace & happiness & allows us to enrich all areas of our life.
So what do we have to do to connect with it? For me the greatest connection comes by spending time in nature, talking with the dogs down by the river and when I'm doing yoga. Yet we all have to find our own way, that place where we can truly let go. It might be when your dancing, cooking, doing something artistic, taking photographs, gardening or building something amazing. Often we connect with this part of ourselves when we're doing something creative, something that allows the mind to let go and we find ourselves just getting lost in the joy of it all.
So take the pressure off, make some time to do something that truly makes your heart and soul sing and you might even discover that being who you were born to be is a lot easier than you think!!
Sometimes the journey on Earth can seem slow and pointless, yet every single moment has been leading up to where you are now. Every single moment.......
Begin to increase your awareness, to simply notice more of what's around you. Start to see the connection between all those different experiences. Allow yourself to surrender to the moment and experience things as they truly are and not how you expect them to be.
Our minds are a wonderful thing and they serve us well.........yet sometimes we must be willing to put aside our knowledge and listen with our hearts and to see the world and our experiences through fresh and wondering eyes. I wonder what this means.......I wonder what's going on......what's going to happen..........even if you think you know. Even when you're looking at yourself........
For then you open yourself up to new possibilities........new possibilities with those you love and those who challenge you......new possibilities in the world around you.......and perhaps you will even see yourself in a new light.
You will give yourself the opportunity to see the magic of the universe and not only are there possibilities but all things become possible.
This year has been a big clearing out year for me and as well as doing some inner clearing, I have literally gone through every single item. During this process I came across some vision boards. One in particular that had special meaning for me. I made it back in 2013 during my Meditation Teacher Training and it took a whole day to make. There was a ritual around making it and it had many layers and lots of good and heartfelt energy. Since then I made two more in the same style and they all hung in my room. At first I didn't want to get rid of them but in the end I said to myself, 'Just let them go!' and I did.
It wasn't until a while later that I realised the significance and symbolism of this. While I do see vision boards as valuable tools and processes to connect us to what truly lies in our heart, they can also limit us to what we believe to be possible in that moment. For instance there are some people on this planet that I really wanted to work with but by focusing on them I perhaps restricted my access to people I didn't know. People who would be the ideal energetic match to work with, people I couldn't give a name to because I didn't know who they were.
If you've ever done any manifestation work you may have seen the phrase, 'This or something better'. This gives the Universe the space and opportunity to create its magic and bring you something you never could have dreamed of. Sometimes the ideal person/scenario we imagine is only a small part of what is truly possible.
So I recycled the vision boards, wanting to bring in some new energy and space, and I found myself organising a collaboration with an amazing sound healer/musician. Someone I'd never heard of, someone who never would have made it to my vision board because I didn't know he existed. I left it in the hands of the Universe. I'm not saying you don't have to do any work......because you do but it's finding that balance between letting go and holding on. Trusting in yourself and the universe and creating the space for the magic to occur.
When I think about this upcoming collaboration I see the union of masculine and feminine energies. I see a strong connection to the Earth and the elements. I see the powerful vibrations of sound dancing and interacting with the energies of all those who choose to attend. I know that not only will the attendees benefit but I too will take my work to another level, I too will benefit from the beautiful and powerful energies we will be working with. For that I am truly grateful.
What a blessing to share this moment with a beautiful and kind soul........someone who loves the Earth and the animals as much as me. Someone who has the courage to follow their heart and to walk to the rhythm of their soul.
If you'd like to join us we would love to connect and share this beautiful sacred space with the energies of Warrandyte supporting us: https://www.facebook.com/events/1603363816634291/
For those not on facebook: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/earth-and-sound-medicine-journey-with-nicole-jacobsen-and-suntara-tickets-28408908811
Over these last few months I've been clearing out and reorganising my space to create an environment that is clear and makes me feel good to be in. I'd like to say that there has not been one stone that has been left unturned but every time I think my work is complete, something else seems to pop up wanting my attention. There's been lots of recycling and rehoming and things I have neglected for years have got some well deserved love and attention.
This whole process has got me thinking...............the space we create can really help us to feel good and help us stay in alignment with who we really are. Even when the situation we're in may not be where we want to be. Perhaps change is possible and we can begin to take steps towards that or perhaps this is the place we need to be for now. In any case I would always pose the question, "I wonder what I could do to make this better?". Through my own experience, I have found that clearing things out and creating a space that makes me happy help me maintain my energy and open the doors to new and exciting opportunities.
So if you're feeling frustrated with your home, your work, your shed or your car, pause for a moment and take a few deep breaths and ask yourself, "What can I do right now to create a space that I love to be in?". You might be surprised by the impact a little rearranging, some clearing and a few little touches of love can achieve.
Since my dog died over three years ago, I 'accidently' found myself looking after other people's animals. What started off as doing a favour for a friend turned into a super important part of my journey that I never could have anticipated. These animals have been some of my greatest teachers and have given me a wealth of knowledge and love that would not have been possible if I'd not been given these beautiful opportunities. I have spent time with dogs, cats, chickens, lizards and mice. I have been on adventures, meditated with all the above animals, given healing sessions and opened myself up to greater communication with these wonderful beings. They in return have given me their love, shown me their wisdom and helped me become a better version of myself.
What I love about being and working with animals is that you can't hide. There is no pretending, you can't fool them with your words, there is simply no choice but to be authentic and real in their presence. They sense your energy and their behaviour alone can give you vital information about what's going on for you and what you need to be honest with yourself about. Of course we can ignore them but if we choose to notice, they will bring us back to a state of self-awareness, where we can acknowledge and move through our own emotions and frustrations.
I have many great stories about my time with animals. Most recently I was looking after two cats and two dogs (6 month old puppies). We had a great time which included meditating every day, sometimes the dogs would be calm and other times they would jump on my head! This one evening I was listening to a podcast which had some energy activations and light language, so I was pretty relaxed. One cat was in the other part of the house (he'd had a Reiki session earlier in the day), one dog was lying across my feet and the other dog was sleeping on her bed. I was just wondering where the other cat was, when she suddenly appeared. She had been in her family for 15 years and her and the other cat didn't mind being out with the dogs but liked to be up high. As she walked towards me I wondered what she would do. Before I knew it she had jumped up on the couch and lay on my chest and stomach. I started giving her some Reiki and just as we were doing a heart activation, she turned around so she was now facing me and placed her paws on my chest. Not long after, the other dog came over to the couch, for a moment I worried as these dogs and cats didn't normally hang out together. Yet everyone seemed relaxed and she carefully came up onto the couch and lay down beside me. It was a beautiful moment to be with these animals in such peace and tranquillity. We stayed there for quite a while and I felt blessed to share these precious moments with my new friends.
For me energy and working with energy is one of my favourite things to do and it is incorporated into every aspect of my life. It is something that is so simple and accessible to everyone and can make such a positive difference to not only ourselves but all those around us. I am forever thankful for the blessings of the amazing energies and animals that are part of my life.
Years ago when I was a child I remember reading one of those books like, 'Far out Brussel Sprout' and there was this tiny noticeboard on a big mountain with the words, "if you notice this notice you will notice this notice is not worth noticing". For some reason it came back into my awareness after I noticed I had been using the word 'notice' a lot and going through my daily activities just 'noticing' what was going on. So what's with all the noticing???!
Noticing allows us to be in the moment and step away from any judgement or perceived way of how we think things should be. It allows us to tap into that childlike curiosity that allows for possibility to be awakened. Notice the beautiful bark on the tree, notice your sore hip, notice yourself over-reacting to a simple comment, notice your thoughts as you meditate, notice the bird in your garden notice all that is around you. As you spend your day in this state of noticing, you will notice you have given space for things to be, just as they are and then you will notice that answers arise, solutions appear and you gain access to insights hidden beneath the previous clutter of your mind. And yes sometimes you will notice that some things are not worth noticing but then perhaps you will notice that you no longer notice these things..........happy noticing!
Nicole is a Reiki Master, Body Worker and Meditation & Yoga Teacher. She loves walking in nature, spending time with animals. practicing yoga and meditation, singing and listening to music. She is also an avid reader ♥