March 08, 2013

9/52 Weeks of Gratitude

52 Weeks of More gratitude. More love. More hope. 

...and more joy! Last week was a big one for joy (I was too busy meditating to post this post any earlier!). And you betcha! I'm feeling grateful for it. With the arrival of Autumn, I'm definitely starting to feel an internal shift, hard to put into words, but something along the lines of feeling ready to embrace change, to leave things behind that are serving no purpose. Being a lover of blue skies and warm weather I used to think I wanted Summer to stay year round, but I've realised I love the change each season brings, the way our bodies, our daily patterns and lives adapt to the seasons. And I love the gentle pull towards nature each new season brings. The first fallen leaves in Autumn,  the wild seas in Winter. 

You can probably tell by now that I'm on a bit of a high, loving life! Why you ask? I think it was all the breathing I did right down into my belly and out to my side ribs over the weekend at Spirit Festival in Mullumbimby. I immersed myself completely in the present moment practicing yoga, exploring meditation and pranayama, chanting, opening my heart and letting emotions flow freely.
The festival was a last minute decision for me, the right one though as everything flowed easily. I booked tickets and accommodation on Friday (Airbnb you are so good! I stayed at Anna and Steve's place in Myocum, I highly recommend it) and arrived Saturday ready for whatever was to come.  The feeling of ease continued and I floated from workshop to workshop. I ended up at Mark Breadner's ( he is an amazing man!) Pranayama workshop by way of recommendation from a few people and when I was at a point of indecision I overheard a well known yoga teacher talking about a Kundalini Yoga workshop he was going to so I jumped on board. And I wasn't disappointed.  I have limited Kundalini yoga experience but I can tell you repeating the mantra 'Sat Nam (meaning truth is my name) out loud for a good 10 minutes does awaken the soul. 

'Be brave' was the theme throughout the Kundalini class, and being my year to 'be courageous' I was thrilled. I felt like I pushed through my usual fear of overdoing it and ending up in pain. And you know what? It was all good in the end. And even the next day too. If you have ongoing health problems of the fatigue kind you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Worry about your health and your condition becomes a constant in your mind. One that needs to be regularly kept in check so it doesn't turn into a monster and take over. 
The pranayama workshop was a highlight, Mark shared with us the idea that really there is only one thing, and that is the breath. And it's so true. Breathing is the last thing we do in these bodies, yet we often don't give much thought to it. Pause on that for a moment. 

What also really struck me throughout the festival was how good it was just getting down to doing the practice! Less thinking, talking, reading about why yoga, meditation and the like are so good for you, and more just getting down to doing it! Nike sure knew what they were doing when they trademarked that slogan. I just wish they'd do something good with it.
What was probably the biggest 'take home message' if you like from the festival was the joy and inner peace I felt. I think I'm starting to understand the difference between joy and happiness. The internal versus the external. Through practices such as yoga and gratitude I'm experiencing more moments of lasting joy and inner contentment and once you know that it' s available to you, you keep going back for more.  

Linking up with Maxabella for 52 Weeks of Gratitude.


  1. What an amazing post and wonderful experience Natalie! Sounds like something I would love. I adore those words on the breath - how powerful and present. Elisa xx

  2. What an awesome experience - love your takeaways - thanks for sharing

  3. Oh that is so beautiful and amazing. I love that story and I agree after such a spiritual experience you come away feeling as though the keys to inner peace are so available. I love reading this. You truly are beautiful xxx

  4. It's wonderful that you got so much out of it. Good to just do it sometimes, without the thinking :)

  5. Oh that sounded absolutely amazing, I love hearing the joy and nourishment in your words, they seemed to practically leap from the page. To be so immersed in yoga and meditation what a precious and wonderful thing. Would love to go to that next year. xxx jay


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