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.
Thanks for sticking with me so far on this crazy journey, made even crazier with the current challenges being imposed upon us.
I thought I would just tell you a little bit about myself, for those who don't know me, and explain what I want to create with this Happy Healthy community.
I came to Yoga teaching from a major shift in my life. I had been working in London since leaving university, and now, with 3 kids, commuting to the city from our seaside town four days a week was really taking its toll.
The house was chaos, my marriage was falling apart, and the kids were shunted from different nannies to grandparents and back throughout the week. I was a wreck. Totally stressed out. Working my arse off but never quite making enough money to cover everything. I drank too much and craved escapism. Connecting with the children in a meaningful way was almost impossible as I was so stressed out and irritable. Life was a blur.
And then I had a health scare. I had to have a lump checked and then when it didn’t go away, I was referred for a biopsy. In that moment, I was shocked into re-assessing everything. I was petrified, I didn’t cope with stress well and catastrophised at the best of times. I got straight onto the phone with my Mum and she said, “Franny, whatever it is, you have to change something. You have been running around like a mad woman for years!” And so I quit my job. I called in sick the next day, and never went back.
Like so many others before me, I was lucky enough to fall into my Yoga practice in this time of worry and uncertainty. I was so lucky that my results came back and everything was fine. I’m well aware that many people don’t have it so easy.
Yoga was such a huge support during that time I was drawn to share it with others. I became fascinated with the power of the tools that Yoga offered. Not just the poses, but the practices like meditation, relaxation, intention, gratitude, kindness. Practices that we now know are scientifically proved to be good for our health and make us feel better.
I was drawn to study hypnotherapy and the potential that we have to change our behaviours and habits to further support a happy and healthy lifestyle.
I have a vision of a community space where these resources can be shared in a simple and accessible way. Resources to help relieve pain, suffering, isolation, and stress. Free of jargon and dogma. A place where someone who may have been intimidated by the idea of a Yoga class would feel comfortable.
I started with local classes and created a programme to combine techniques from both Yoga and Hypnotherapy. I then progressed to organising events, workshops and retreats to share these tools for managing stress and anxiety, for finding a way to live happily and healthily.
Since then I have taken my offering online, with this website and Facebook Group, a hub where you can join a live class, and find free resources to support your happy healthy lifestyle: short Yoga videos, meditations, relaxations and workshops.
All the Free resources I share on facebook are also uploaded to the website so No Facebook = No Problem!
My experience and belief is that if you focus on supporting your happiness and your health then everything else will follow.
I can help you to:
So THANK YOU, and I look forward to seeing you this week if you can make it.
Frances Robertson-Ritchie, Yoga teacher and hypnotherapist