If you have seen me over the last couple of weeks or so you won't have been able to miss me talking about my three day adventure to climb Snowdon.
After a strange and quite intense Spring and Summer of pivoting my business online, working hard, and homeschooling (or more unschooling in our case) I really felt the need to get some adventure, some space and perspective, as well as a healthy dose of outdoors.
Since most of my friends have children, it is harder and harder to co-ordinate time to do stuff like this together. And that's totally natural during these years of the kids being younger and family life being a priority. It meant that I know that if I was going to do something like this, I would need to organise to do it myself. Thankfully, there are more and more companies out there now tailoring to trips for women on their own. I had been following Gutsy Girls for a while on Instagram, they organise trips such as stand-up paddle boarding in Sardinia, climbing in Bath, and hiking in the Lake District and Snowdon. It was the Snowdon trip that caught my eye - climbing Snowdon has been on my list of things I want to do for a while now, and this weekend trip came along at just the right time.
We arrived on the Friday afternoon with all the kit we would need to camp out wild on the Saturday night. Friday night was spent in a campsite at the base of the mountains, and we met with our host, Sarah and guide, Sally for the weekend. They took us through pitching our tents, and how the weekend would pan out over a hearty dinner in the local pub. The guide and host put us all immediately at ease, answering all of our questions and putting our minds at rest about any worries we might have had. The weekend was suitable for complete beginners such as me so Sally had created a plan with several options for routes that would account for everybody's needs.
Saturday morning we packed up our tents and kit and were given guidance on how best to pack and organise our bags. We then set off for the path that we would be taking - away from the crowds. The pace was relaxed, and even though it was pretty windy the sun was shining, and I was feeling good about reaching the top, even though we were going to take the day as it came and see how everyone felt as we got nearer to the summit.
For me, I knew that the challenge was going to be any steep drops that we had to negotiate. Again, my mind was put at rest skilfully by Sally who is well experienced in coaching people in these kind of situations.
We made it to the top at around 5, and the plan was to walk down to a valley with a beautiful lake to camp for the night. The sun was setting over the peaks as we climbed down and the wind really seemed to pick up. We had one last push to get ourselves to the camp and get the tents set up.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of a truly physically tired body at the end of the day and I was in my tent by 9.30pm - to rest my weary bones. One thing I became aware of was just how present you become when you are doing something like this. I realised that I hadn't thought about anything, that day except where to put my feet next.
On Sunday we made our way down the mountain in the sunshine and finished the adventure with ice cream by the river and a reflection on the weekend.
Here are some the lessons I learnt from climbing the mountain:
If you have always wanted to go on an adventure what is holding you back? Is it the idea of going alone, or fear? There are so many ways of approaching your goals in a way that is supported.
Gutsy Girls for small group, women only trips
Sally at Far Out Pursuits for bespoke courses in hiking and climbing Snowdon
Read about how Sally coaches people through fear in her article here
Photo credit to our wonderful host Sarah Hewitt
And if you want to work through anything that might be holding you back from achieving your goals then get in touch to find out how I can help you change your mindset with hypnotherapy.
Taking Kerry's creative writing course was a big step for me. I hadn't written ANYTHING since school and had lived with the internal notion that I was not a "creative" person.
I have this hunch that not having a creative outlet can have a negative impact on our mental health. Or to put it another way, exploring creativity supports our overall wellbeing.
The biggest block and misconception that myself, and most people have is that in order to do something creative, you should be good at it. Kerry's 6 week writing course turned that idea around for me. There is value in being creative simply for the joy of it. For the pleasure in the process.
I loved chatting to Kerry about this. You can find out more about the courses Kerry runs here http://forbookssake.net/write-like-a-grrrl/
This has been difficult to write, I am so close to holding back because I don’t want people to feel sorry for me, or to judge me. But that is me, and my ego trying to pre-empt all of your reactions and that is not my business. What I want to do is share my experience because I think it might be useful to others. It may not be useful to all of you, but I hope that this reaches someone who needs to hear it.
I’ve had a block for a while about charging my worth. I am dedicated to offering value for money as I haven’t always had much disposable income. I want my products to be available to those who need them. For a while now I have been building a library of free resources, sharing as much as I can that is useful in the hope that it will reach those in need with ideas to manage stress during these difficult times.
Talking about money is sticky, isn’t it. We are conditioned to think that its crude, or vulgar. As a result, I have spent most of my life pretending that I had more than I did in order to fit in and spent well beyond my means for many, many years. This is a trap that I’m sure is familiar to some of you. We grow up being told that if we work hard, we will gain all the things that are due to us, a house decorated to match the interior magazines we buy, nice clothes to match the fashion magazines we buy, car (or cars) and holidays in exotic locations around the world. Then if we don’t earn enough to be able to afford those things it feels like we have failed. Have we not worked hard enough? Haven’t we played the game right? We keep trying, and striving, and it wears us down. That’s the grind isn’t it.
I remember back in my twenties, while working in the head office of a fashion retailer, earning around £16000 a year, reading a magazine with a bag which cost around £300 and I thought that that was quite reasonable. These same magazines told stories of fashionistas, winning at life by saving money eating noodles from a packet in order to scrape the money for one of these designer pieces. That bag would surely make everything better in our lives.
In hindsight, this is absolute madness of course. I don’t know if this is the message that fashion magazines are still peddling because I don’t buy them anymore. I’m sure that had I had any sense I could have made that wage support me, but I didn’t and I borrowed and borrowed to make it seem like I was living the life I was supposed to be. I didn’t even buy the bag! But I did spend on clothes and eat and drink in restaurants and bars that I could not afford so that I could feel fancy. Like I was living the dream. It’s funny, and also very sad.
I’m sure that not many people are quite as foolish as I was, however, my point is that in many ways we are all sold this idea of how our lives should be, and therefore what things we should buy to fit in and succeed at this life. It might not be clothes for you, it might be something else. And when we struggle there can be a lot of misunderstanding about how we got there.
There is a lot of shame and guilt associated with addressing this stuff. Underlying beliefs that drive the way we behave. Did I overspend to make myself feel like I was good enough to fit in with others when perhaps I didn’t feel like I deserved to be there?
A grammer school boy, my father was deeply working class, with a chip on his shoulder because he neither fitted in with his family, or with the intellectual middle class that he probably could have been a part of if he had really wanted to. I probably soaked up that sense of not fitting in, and the awkwardness that goes with that is easily masked by buying the right clothes, or hanging out with the right people in the right places. Even if that means spending every penny you have on one dinner out with friends. I remember the so familiar feeling of dread and sickness as the bill would come and I would pray that my card would not be declined in front of everyone.
I have done so much work around this stuff over the last year. I felt like it was my duty to address it, as a hypnotherapist, I needed to walk the talk and use the tools to overcome these limiting beliefs and behaviours that were affecting not just me, but my family. With the help of Catherine Morgan, money coach, I have totally turned my way of thinking around. I got help, and it really worked. Changing your beliefs changes your behaviour. But what I am learning as well is that it isn’t necessarily a job that is done once, and ticked off the list. I still have work to do. I want to share this because what has helped me, can help you too if this resonates and sounds familiar. You can change our beliefs and behaviour, and it’s OK to reach out to someone else for help and support. You don’t have to do it alone.
This is a note to self, and to anyone else who is suffering with limiting beliefs:
You deserve it. You deserve it as much as anyone else. You are loving and kind and you care about your work and your family and your community. You have needs too. It’s OK to charge what you are worth.
So, I am increasing my drop-in rate to £8 per session.
And my Yoga membership to £30 for any new members as of next week.
This is your last chance to get the membership at £20 per month.
Founding members will keep the £20 rate forever.
The online course is going up to £24 – last chance to get at £12.
New pricing will take affect from Monday next week.
Hi, for any new followers I thought I would introduce myself. My name is Frances, and I'm a Yoga teacher and hypnotherapist interested in the power of movement, meditation and mindset. I can help you to create healthy habits - I created an online course for that very reason! Foundations for a home yoga practice has everything that you need to make Yoga a habit.
-3 videos to follow, giving you a frame work for a home yoga practice - suitable for all levels
-Meditation for creative visualisation
-Journaling exercise for a positive and resilient mindset
-Tips for developing healthy eating habits
You can access your FREE lesson from the course here .
I will be showing up on Facebook, every Monday morning for the next 3 weeks to go through an element of the course and give you the chance to ask any questions you might have. I would love to see you there!
I want to give you a taste of what the whole course involves and share my take on Yoga with you.
Maybe you already know this, but the secret is that Yoga really isn’t about the poses at all. The poses are simply a means to an end. The practice of Yoga is the practice of finding a calm and peaceful mind. The movements that we practice in class are there to guide us to become more aware of our bodies, of sensation, of their potential.
If this is the process of Yoga, then we can approach it gently and with kindness.
If this is the case, and it doesn’t matter what the poses look like then why do we have to follow set ideas and traditions that perhaps no longer serve our bodies in a healthy way? Perhaps we can give ourselves permission to move in a way that feels good, and comfortable? That doesn’t mean it is always easy. There is resistance and progressive strengthening. We notice our bodies and their capabilities with curiosity. No need to push into pain.
Does this kind of Yoga appeal to you? If so I would love you to join me at class sometime! I run Yoga sessions live on Zoom 4 times a week -
Accessible classes that give you the time and space to explore movement in a way that is right for you and your body.
Lots of options at a slow pace.
Plenty of moments to pause and observe the effects of the movement on the body and the mind.
Simple techniques to manage stress.
Strengthen the body progressively without pain.
Consider the why behind the movements we practice.
Find joy in the present moment.
So come over and follow me @Yogacheriton
You can find out more about my classes, events and I will be LIVE every Monday at 8am. If you miss it you can catch up on it later.
So happy to connect with you!
Do you find it hard to speak? To find your voice?
I used to HATE speaking up, it was so so hard. My body would not comply, shaking, stuttering, red face, not clear on my own thoughts.
Without realising, practicing yoga helped me with this. I learned to relax my body and use my breath.
Yoga has helped me to accept who I am, to understand more clearly what I really believe.
Did you catch my chat with Sarah Thurstan last week over in Facebook? Sarah has written a book called Personal Presence combining her wealth of knowledge and experience in the theatre with her consultancy work in the corporate world. She shares her simple and proven techniques for sharing your authentic voice effectively.
Would you be interested in joining Sarah and I for a workshop combining yoga with Sarah’s techniques to help YOU to communicate freely and confidently?
I've just been doing a really interesting journalling exercise - I've been imagining that money is no object, that I am living in a dream house, which needs no work doing on it. Even the garden is perfect. So I have everything I need, and if I didn't want to work, I wouldn't have to, so I asked myself, how would I spend my time? And I got really specific, like right down to the hours per day.
And, do you know what, it doesn't look that different from the ways that my days go right now. I know, that if money were no object, I would still share the practices that I do now, because I love it
I might take the pressure off myself a bit.
But maybe I could do that anyway
So this is what I do, I teach what I know about Yoga, about moving, about stillness, about rest. About how the tools we have at our disposal to make this one life of ours a joyful journey with all its ups and downs.
You can find me at class, online 4 times a week, or you can book in some 1:1 time with me. Or you can head over to the website and take a look at some of the free resources I have posted.
How about you? How would you spend your days if money were no object? If you were free from worry about money.
Which parts of the body are we using in these poses that we are doing?
How does it feel when we move the body in different ways?
This week we are taking time to notice, movement, breath and the effects that these movements have on the body. Opening up enquiry. What's happening, why are we doing this? Observing the sensations and thoughts that arise without judgement or expectation. Learning to listen.
We were actually doing quite a lot of core work again this week, but I really wanted to explore what that means without it just being all about the abs.
Why do we care so much about our core, really? We aren't in a Yoga class to get a 6 pack are we? Toning might be a nice side effect of the work we do in class but what are we really trying to achieve?
I don't know the answer for sure, but I will share my thoughts, I think we are trying to develop a deep inner strength and resilience that goes beyond simply muscle. By becoming aware of our core, our centre, physically and energetically we are stronger, more stable, balanced, we can move more freely with confidence and ease.
We can connect with an inner sense of power that can help to motivate and drive us in the direction that we want to go. If you really want a 6 pack there are a million classes and tutorials out there. There must be a reason that Yoga is more than that. More than the physical.
I would love to hear your thoughts? Why do you choose Yoga over a fitness class?
I had this dream of moving away somewhere remote. Where we could roam through the countryside. To have a wild patch of land on our doorstep which we would get to know like the back of our hand. I dreamt of moving to Wales or Scotland, so we could be surrounded by green and hills and trees. So that the children would be able to roam.
I also dreamt of taking the children out of school. Of turning our backs on the constant need to fit a particular mould. To conform and to fit in. To create an environment that prioritises creativity and exploration and joy. I imagined the children relaxed and smiling, rather than withdrawn and anxious.
I know I live in a dream world. I’m too keen to shield my kids from disappointment and pressure. I know they have to figure this stuff out for themselves.
But I’ve had a glimpse of what it could be like. It turns out we have the countryside right on our doorstep, in our back pocket and we didn’t even notice. We’ve walked the paths into the hills almost every day. It was all right here all along. Not in Wales, not in Scotland, right behind our house.
And I’ve had a glimpse of the children free from the structure of school. Smiling more. Seeking out learning in their own way. I’m 100% sure that if I asked them, they would want to go right back as soon as they could. And in many ways that would make my life a whole lot easier.
Or would it? Only if I went back to working exactly how I had been before. Running from class to class. I may be calmer than I used to be (you might have read my blog post from chaos to calm), but I still have a tendency to fill my time. To hustle. If I can take anything away from this crisis it will be to notice how we are benefiting from this pause and see how much of that I can guard and hold onto as we begin the transition out of lockdown.
It was a delight to speak with Gemma, founder of Calm Mamas Club. Check out her website for a directory of wellness practitioners available to help stressed out mums take some well deserved time for themselves.
Following our latest collaboration I thought I would catch up with Jo from Solasta Sounds to find out more about how Sound Therapy can support our wellbeing.
We have taken our Yoga & Sound sessions online via Zoom for the time being, and were really happy with how well it worked.
You can join us for our next event on Saturday 23rd May 4-6pm.
Head over to Jo's website to book your spot www.solastasounds.com.
Frances Robertson-Ritchie, Yoga teacher and hypnotherapist