‘The perfect workout for body, heart and soul’
Recently I attended a ‘Love Yourself Mindful Yoga and Meditation’ workshop with Sophia Pollaro in The Elbowroom, Brunswick St, Dublin. From reading Sophia’s profile online I discovered she was a qualified Yoga Teacher for the past ten years. While practicing various forms of meditation, she discovered the benefits of Mindfulness Meditation and its direct connection to the body. Yoga, and its endless benefits, was the next step on her path. Sophia’s teaching places emphases on a deep connection with the breath, stillness and clarity of the mind, strength, balance and a mindful flow of movement. Her classes include asanas (practice of postures), pranayama (breathing techniques) and dhyana (meditation). Clothes wise, I wore yoga pants, socks with a grip underneath them (yoga socks), and a loose t shirt (comfy clothes). I also made sure I didn’t have a heavy meal beforehand. Just some fruit and yogurt or you could even have a smoothie maybe an hour before. No one wants cramps or indigestion at their first yoga class!
We all know how to love others. We love our friends, family, partners and even pets but it is a bit more difficult to show love towards ourselves. This workshop thought me how to cultivate the healthy and healing self-attention we all need. Our awareness of breathing was the core skill thought to enhance relaxation (its importance was spoke about in an earlier post). To start off a full body scan was done to check in with ourselves and relax each part of our body (examples of this was mentioned in previous posts) Meditation was also brought in at the beginning followed by asana flow (a type of yoga). It wasn’t too difficult. Iv never done yoga before and I wouldn’t be the most flexible but I was able to do most of the moves without cutting off my breathing or looking like a twisted upside down fool (you don’t really go upside down, slight exaggeration). The meditation focused on self-compassion and love to ‘quiet the mind and nourish the heart’. Sophia asked us to pick one thing we did not like about ourselves. We sat with that thought. We thought about how it manifested in our daily lives. How it made us feel, what actions or behaviours it caused. Then we took a deep breath in and exhaled that negative thought. We were told to imagine someone close to us was sitting in front of us disclosing that they did not like that similar part of themselves. I imagined my little brother sitting on the mat infront of me. I became tearful when I imagined him with similar feelings about himself. Whatever way we responded to our loved ones telling us this information we were then to respond to ourselves when we had these thoughts. Sophia thought us how to be kind to ourselves, show love and compassion and to acknowledge these negative thoughts about ourselves. We were also thought how to show affection towards ourselves with this gentle pose:
Sophia then repeated an affirmation of self love we all had to repeat in our heads as we meditated:
May I be happy
May I be safe
May I be kind to myself
May I love myself just as I am
To end the Workshop we done another full body scan followed by the listening of a self love poem. This poem is the extended version of the one I have on my home page (Charlie Chaplain):
On their website they said this workshop would leave you feeling ‘deeply relaxed, emotionally and physically stronger’, which i most certainly did.
I have added the link below to the workshop and website if anyone is interested in attending in the future.