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Welcome to this new meditation audio series by Pam Butler.

This is a program designed for people who want to learn to control their responses to daily stressors but who have little time to dedicate to a meditation program.

Three minutes a day will allow you to:

  • learn how to take a conscious breath

  • feel the difference in yourself before and after the three minutes

  • change the rhythm of your mental activity

  • re-set your emotions

  • improve your focus

  • become responsive rather than reactive.

Three minutes a day builds your brain’s familiarity with the activity of regulating your breathing; and as this becomes more familiar, it will be more and more available to you in moments of stress. The familiar action of taking a deep breath, linked to the familiar and positive feeling of being more in control of your self, more objective and more able to think instead of becoming emotional, means ou will have establishes a new behavioural pattern.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

 

Join me for a FREE mindful eating session on Facebook Live at 12:00 noon today!

Happy 50th Anniversary of Earth Day!

It is astonishing to me that on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the Earth herself is enjoying her best health in a long time even as we humans find ourselves thrown Earthpolluted
upside-down in a global health crisis. The significance of this turn is worth a short reflection.

Our global “health” crisis is more than that – it is an existential crisis. It is laying bare all of our systems’ weaknesses. Health care and wealth divides are a good place to start. Rich America is seeing a stark and horrifying result, due to its unjust, short-sighted systems – such as health care linked to employment, or wealth, so that those on the low end of the socio-economic scale can’t access health care now, in this desperate time of need. But, though stark in America, Oxfam says that this pattern repeats worldwide. India is a frightening example, and reports say that Africa is headed for desperate times as Coronavirus is set to hit hard.

Race, racism, wealth, power, corporations and government, leadership, pollution, climate change, health, health care, religion and beliefs, science, technology, biotech, ethics, morals, immigration policies, social support, job security, food security, food production, ... very few threads in our society's fabric have remained un-tugged; and how closely knit all these threads are has been revealed by this pandemic.

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booknowbuttonJuly 8-12, 2019

 

Experience a daily yoga practice, developing the rhythm and skills of foundation-level Shadow-style hatha yoga. This workshop is open to all, including beginners.

Though the full week is recommended in order to develop a rhythm and deepen your practice, for pragmatism discounts are offered to those who cannot commit to the full week.

 

Monday - Friday, July 8-12

7:00-8:30pm

Teach Bhride, Tullow

 

5 days €70

4 days: €65

3 days €55


 

Booking essential!

Restorative yoga: A doubter's journey

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Lying around on bolsters and calling it “yoga” used to bring out the cynic in me. Two incidents several years apart have now convinced me of its value.

When I completed my yoga teacher training in 2000, the routine I’d been learning was to begin with the relaxation pose, “savasana,” lying supine. It was fine in a class, but at home I’d plunge headlong into the tough stuff, seeking to “improve”. I had three young children aged under five, so no time to waste!

One day I rolled out my mat and was so very tired that I didn’t even want to practice. So I lay down. It felt good. I still remember that delicious moment of simply lying down flat, letting all my muscles and bones relax, and letting my mind notice that happening (rather than getting caught in thoughts about why I shouldn’t be allowing myself this luxury!). After around 10 minutes, without thinking, I rolled over, stood up, and did a short but satisfying yoga practice. It was amazing how those few minutes had such a strong restorative effect on me.

Fast forward to 2019. The yoga industry has boomed over the past 19 years, and restorative classes have proliferated. Once the preserve of the serioulsy stressed (aren’t we all? you may ask) or those with major physical restrictions and serious health issues, it now seems the done thing to arrange comfy bolsters, light candles, and lie back. Yet yoga is supposed to be a physical practice; a means to connect with our mind through the body, and unravel long-held patterns of thought and action through strong physical challenge. We see in children how beneficial movement or exercise is on the mood and for supporting a good, deep. So why skip the movement part and go straight to an extended lying-around session? Even having learned my long-ago lesson of the value of relaxation within a yoga practice, I remained cynical about an entire class of supported poses.

Meanwhile, in 2010 I had developed a programme for Lisnavagh House & Gardens for a new Yoga & Sleep retreat. Emily, lady of the hosue and herself a yoga practitioner, and at the time mother of very young children, thought that if she needed more sleep, probably others did too, and proposed the simple idea to me. She was right. It’s been a hit – nine years later it’s grown steadily in popularity and is a regular feature on their retreat schedule. It includes some gentle, restorative yoga, which always receives positive feedback.

pam butler yoga 20100602 48151000savasana995With all the signs pointing in the same direction, I enroled on a CPD course with Ciara Cronin in Dublin to explore this phenomenon more deeply.

Again, despite all the support of scientific studies, it was the personal experience that gave me the strongest conviction. Our first session consisted of lying in various arrangements of bolsters and blocks. After a while, when we’d come to our final resting pose (“corpse pose” is the popular translation from Sanskrit for the supine relaxation pose), Ciara’s voice drifted in: “So, it’s coming up to 3:15 now...” Impossible, I thought. We started at 12:30; that would mean that we’d been draped over bolsters and blocks for 2 hours and 45 minutes.  

We had, in fact, been draped over bolsters and blocks for 2 hours and 45 minutes. I felt great.

As we discussed and experienced through the rest of the course, the relaxation response can be learned, and triggered through environmental cues. The breathing, sometimes deep and controlled, sometimes allowed to take on its own rhythm, has a plethora of positive neurological and physiological effects that are being explored and  documented by the scientific community. The sympathetic nervous system (“fight-or-flight”) can be overridden by the parasympathetic nervous system (“rest-and-digest”). This is gold dust in our agitated age of disconnected-connectedness. They are tools that can also assist with deeply held trauma, when used with skill and care.

IMAG4258suptabBaddaArmed with this information, and with a new feeling of ease, I am implementing more restorative practices myself at home, and offering more restorative options at certain seasons – as we approach the holiday season, for example, which can be a fraught time of year.

I still believe in the tough stuff too, though. There’s a place for everything!

 

Join Pam’s restorative yoga workshops on Saturday 19 October and Saturday 14 December, 4-6pm, in Carlow Mandala Yoga Studios. Details and booking at http://pambutleryoga.com/workshops

 

For information on retreats, see http://pambutleryoga.com/retreats


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