Kiss the joy as it flies

Early this morning, I completed a very short but very beautiful meditation with Jeff Warren. It was entitled ‘kiss joy as it flies’. We meditated on the concept of not resisting change, on non-attachment to feelings, ‘good’ or ‘bad’ so we can experience joy (however transient it may be) that is around us.

He quoted William Blake’s wonderful poem Eternity:

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise

We’re coming to the end of blossom season here. I love how all the trees in our village come to life in all their pastel-pink glory each year.

Today as we walked to school, we walked through the blanket of petals on the pavement – equally as enchanting as the trees somehow – and as my girls danced around in them, more rained down on their heads like confetti.

And so, my busy morning was on pause. Just for a fleeting minute or so the trees and my children dazzled in the morning sunshine and I could feel the magic of it all.

I’m grateful we were early this morning; that we had the space to pause, to kiss the joy as it flew away from the trees and landed in our hair and on the pavement underneath our feet. Would I have felt this if I hadn’t had the reminder earlier on? I don’t know. I hope so.

The reality is that the carpet of petals is the sign that the blossom is already on its way. It is tempting to feel sad about that. But this morning that fresh carpet of petals was equally as beautiful as the trees in full bloom: Proving that there is joy in the transition too if we can trust that it will fly on by once more soon enough.

Human and horse training

I follow a great horse trainer called Warwick Schiller


I’ve used his methods with my horses and really love his energy and his endless quest for self-improvement.

He has a great story to explain the concept of capacity/bandwidth/stress management, and while he is using it to explain an element of horse-training, it also fits perfectly for us humans too. It is absolutely relevant for a yoga and wellbeing website I promise.

So, the story goes (I’m completely paraphrasing):

Warwick is at a clinic and someone there says ‘My horse has a screw loose. We ride out all the time in the early mornings when there are lots of rabbits darting about. We can be riding along and one rabbit pops out, my horse doesn’t blink an eye, or might give it a quick look but carries on regardless. As we go on, more rabbits pop out of the grass and undergrowth… Rabbits everywhere but he’s still fine. Then, all of a sudden, another rabbit scoots out, no different from the others but he’s absolutely scared to death by it! Leaping about as if it’s a mountain lion or something.”

Warwick’s take on this was to explain what happened using the idea of a ‘worry cup’: Imagine the horse has a cup that holds any worries or stresses he may have. When he started the ride that cup was completely empty. When the horse saw the first rabbit, it caused a little bit of worry and the horse held onto that worry. When he saw the second rabbit, it caused a little bit more worry and he held on to that as well, and so on and so forth. After the twelfth or so rabbit, he had accumulated a lot of worry and his worry cup was now full… So, once that thirteenth rabbit jumped out, his cup over-flowed, and this presented as just ‘freaking out’ or ‘having a screw loose’.

It’s not a big leap to relate that to us humans.

Let’s just imagine our own worry cups for a second. The size of your cup could depend on how much sleep you had last night, whether you’re in physical pain, whether your alarm scared you half to death while waking you up…you get the idea. Then, throughout the day things happen that take up space in your cup (I’m taking a wild guess you’re not laying on a beach somewhere hot drinking cocktails this week? And if you are, I’d keep my head down if I were you 😉). The day starts with a silly disagreement with your partner, you brush it off, then there’s terrible traffic on your way to work. It’s OK. Then, something going wrong on a project at work… you sort it out, then move on. Your cup may be filling, but it isn’t full, so you just carry it around with you all day.

Or, maybe you’re juggling working from home with childcare/home-schooling/running a house. Each interruption, each time you have to stop work to break up a fight, tidy up the spilled paints, or soothe an upset child fills your cup a little bit more.

Then, suddenly, it’s late afternoon. You’re driving home and someone cuts you up. You see red. Blasting them on the horn and swearing and shouting and screaming through the window at them. You nearly cause an accident. Heart racing, hands shaking, not breathing. Not thinking. You pull over to calm down and promptly burst into tears. Do you have a major anger issue with inconsiderate road users usually? Of course not. You had just reached your threshold. The cup was full. This was the tipping point of your capacity to hold any more activation in your system, so you went into overwhelm, just like the horse in the story.

Back to Mr Schiller then. He says our job is to help our horses empty their worry cup, so it never gets close to overflow. I absolutely agree.

Who is going to do that for us though?

The answer can only be us.

What can we do to empty our cups, or even increase the size of them?

For me, the first challenge was even recognising the early signs of stress in my body. Identifying the early ‘rabbits’ is important because it means that we can empty them out before the cup is anywhere near close to full. Often, for me, it starts with a flutter in the back of my throat and upper chest. Other people I know talk of churning stomachs, dull headaches, or forgetting to eat.

Warning signs that the cup is filling up further can be feelings of frustration or snapping at people, abandoning a new habit such as healthy eating by mid-afternoon, even though you started the day with the best of intentions. We’ve all been there I think.

So what else can we do if you start to feel like your cup is in danger of spilling over?

Well, you know I’m going to say start with movement (it’s the same for horses btw).

Depending on how you’re feeling. If you’re operating from a place of fight or flight (see the earlier red-mist driver example above), a good starting point is anything that utilises the same big muscle groups that we would activate back in the caveman days when we need to escape or fight for our lives. So, glutes, quads, biceps, triceps. That’s part of why people find activities like running or stronger yoga postures great for stress relief.

A super quick easy option is to simply standing up from your desk and stomp your feet, hard. If you’ve been to one of my classes you know that I love a bit of stomping and whole-body shaking. Obviously, this is easier to do if you’re working from home and not in an open-plan office full of people.

Sometimes we end up on the other end of the pendulum though: Absolutely exhausted, shutting down from communication, with a strong desire to do nothing – basically, a collapse response. In these times, I always turn to Dru’s energy block release sequences because they are so gentle but so effective at rebalancing the system. Energy Block Release 7 is even performed entirely on the floor so can be great for those moments when all you want to do is lay down but are too wired to sleep.

Or, if yoga feels like too much effort, simply patting down the body with the palm of your hands to help you feel into the edges of your skin. Brushing your body in a bath or shower, or even rolling your shoulders forward and back can help shift yourself back into more of a balanced place.

I’ll finish by saying that we combine so many of these stress relief, nervous system regulation elements in every Dru class as standard. That’s why, so many people who come to class aiming to become more flexible or a more effective sports person find a greater sense of balance and wellbeing in class too. 🧡

I would love to know your thoughts on this.

The Ocean

Photo by Malcolm Hill on

I think at some point or other, we’ve all felt like the boat in this picture.

Exhausted from the relentless storm and soaked in icy spray; at the mercy of the vast and powerful ocean. Terrified that the next big wave will be the one that takes us out.

Years ago, I had this inspiring Louisa May Alcott quote on my bedroom wall:

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship”.

Now, I do hesitate before taking on the mighty Alcott and her wisdom, but I would like to respectfully offer an alternate perspective:

What if, in this picture, you are not the boat. What if instead, you are the ocean?

In all it’s vast, powerful glory. Rich with treasures and endless wonder. What if that is you?

If you’re feeling like the sea is stormy right now. I invite you to take a breath and return to your centre, and with deep awareness of your power, trust in this. Trust in the tranquil waters under this choppy swell. Always there, still, limitless, peaceful. Within you, always.

Go well lovely people x

First shared on Instagram 24 Nov 2020

Perfectionist in recovery

The term recovering perfectionist is spot on for me.

For years I wore the badge of perfectionist as a sign of virtue.

I thought it showed that I was a hard-worker, a striver, a seeker of excellence.

In reality, it was a flimsy cover for a lack of self-worth. And, a symptom of taking myself far too seriously.

The thing is, when you’re looking for perfection, it’s not a focus on a lofty endeavour or ideal.

The focus is always on what is missing. The lack. What is ‘wrong’, and what could be better.

That realisation literally blew my mind. 🤯

In yoga we talk a lot about the concepts and practices of equanimity, non-judgement and non-attachment: AKA. Kryptonite to perfectionism. 💫

I think I’ve only just connected these dots.

Originally shared on Instagram April 2021

Make the most of an online yoga session on Zoom.

This is a bit of a change to my usual post – more a top tips type postreally hoping it will be useful nonetheless!

Since COVID online yoga has become a staple offering within the industry. I certainly wouldn’t have my early riser yoga club without it. There was lots of debbie doubters at the beginning, but love it or loathe it, it’s here to stay.

I’ve had a couple of chats with people recently about how to get the most out of a Zoom yoga class and I thought some ‘top tips’ might also be useful here too.

1) Arrive early:
Give yourself at least 5 mins to join the class and check your tech is working. Can you can hear and see everything OK? Also, have a little stretch up overhead to check you have enough room to move.
2) Connect with the teacher:
As a teacher I am really keen to know how you’re feeling, any aches or pains? What kind of day have you had so far?

3) Less is more:
Get rid of anything on your screen you don’t need during the class. On Zoom keep it to ‘Speaker View’ and not much else. You’ll notice in the top r/h corner you can minimise everyone else in the class. You’ll also notice you have the option to minimise yourself should you so wish: Although it can be useful for checking alignment, it might be worth playing about with this. Do you need to see yourself on screen? If not, you might find yourself more focussed on the yoga & more present in your body.

4) Mute yourself:
As a rule I usually mute everyone in the class once we’ve all settled in. This means if your four-year-old comes into the room, or your dog starts barking, or the doorbell rings, or one of the million other reasons there may be background noise, you won’t be worried you’re causing a distraction. Also…

5) Shout up if you need help:
unmute yourself and let your teacher know what’s going on. It’s what they are there for.

6) If at all possible try to set it up so you won’t be disturbed during the class:
You’ll find it easier to stay with your body & breath & reap more energetic benefits too.

7) Don’t worry if your WiFi fails you:
Just take a breath and log back in.

8) (and most important) Work with the body you have on the day: One of the bonuses about Zoom is that you won’t feel the need to keep up with Bendy Wendy on the next mat. So, relax, enjoy & make the class your own.

Any other tips? Would love to hear them in the comments.

Random good stuff

I think we can all be forgiven for feeling like the world has gone a bit crazy.

Photo by Ray Bilcliff on

If you follow the News there seems to be little evidence of anything else. 🤯 As I sit here planning a private class for the weekend, it just struck me that although the world has seemed an unsettling place this week, I’ve also had lots of reminders about the good stuff available to me too.

Here are a few that hit me over the head this week:

These astoundingly beautiful words from @kaetempest’s Hold your Own that made their way back to me via a random social media thread:

“But, when time pulls lives apart
Hold your own
When everything is fluid, nothing can be known with any certainty
Hold your own
Hold it till you feel it there
As dark and dense and wet as earth
As vast and bright and sweet as air
When all there is is knowing that you feel what you are feeling
Hold your own
Ask your hands to know the things they hold
I know, the days are reeling past in such squealing blasts
But stop for breath and you will know it’s yours
Swaying like an open door when storms are coming

Next was a simple #DailyCalm meditation where the wonderful @tamaralevitt explored the metaphor of a Lighthouse.
Lighthouses by design, live in precarious places like cliff edges off stormy seas. No matter the conditions, they stand tall through it all. Steady & unwavering, shining light in all directions. 360 degrees of perspective. 🧡

And in class too, this week has all been about stability. In all my classes we slowed right now, spending time in Mountain pose. Feeling into our strength & connecting with the Earth beneath the feet. 🧡

In fact, when I began to feel a bit off-kilter myself it took a friend to remind me of MY OWN WORDS in class to really switch back on and start looking for the good stuff.

So here it is, all of the above and so much more:

Sharing fears with friends;

the wonders of seasons in this hemisphere;

sunshine after all the rain;

my horses;

my cats shadowing my every move;

my children hysterically laughing at nothing in particular;

my cosy living room.

My body.

My breath.

My beating heart.

It’s all here, we only have to remember to look for it. 🧡

First shared on Instagram 6 Nov 2020

See you on the loop

Photo by Stas Knop on

In the past, I’ve experienced a huge amount of anxiety around public speaking.

Over the past few years, I’ve worked hard to get better at it. And, with the right preparation, I’m able to get myself into a resourceful enough place so that my brain and mouth are able to engage at the same time and actual real sentences come out.

Honestly people, the struggle is real.

Recently though, I attended a webinar that was definitely out of my comfort zone. It had participants from across the world, it was all new stuff and I didn’t know what to expect.

On one level it was a success: I managed to pull together a couple of coherent sentences to say, got a lot of useful info. Didn’t die.

Short on time, I hopped straight into class planning mode for my yoga class. It was only then that I realised that I’d completely ignored my body for the whole webinar. As I started to drop down into my body, I felt the tightness in my back and the residue of stomach butterflies catching in the back of my throat. Weak-legged, achy head. Anxiety hangover. What struck me as I started to move my body, is just how easily old patterns can slot back into place. The familiarity of it surprised me.

Now, it’s not big news to tell you that the movement worked a treat. It soothed my nervous system and brought me back to myself. But that’s not the point of this post.

This is the point. 👇🏼

For a moment I felt like I was back at the start. I was frustrated, asking myself ‘how am I not beyond this by now?!’

The truth is though, I was nowhere near the start. That person wouldn’t have even signed up for the webinar.

No, this my friends, is a great example of an upward cycle of progress. It feels very similar to the beginning, but it’s not.

It’s just a loopback around so we can reinforce our foundations with everything we’ve learned since the last time we were there. Remembering this really helps me to skip the rumination stage. I can ditch the story and just apply what I’ve learned. Keep moving forward.

For me, it’s public speaking, but it’s the same for any skill. So, I’m here to tell you, if this applies to you, to give yourself a break.

See you on the loop.

Originally posted on Instagram May 21 2021