25Apr/16

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A YOGA TEACHER…

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A Day in the life of Lee Tracey.

The very first thing I do in the morning as I wake up is say thank you. I find having a gratitude practice when you wake up sets your mind set and intention for the day and can colour your whole experience of that day.  I get up, wash my face and have a cup of lemon water. I then begin my Yoga practice which usually lasts for approximately an hour to an hour and a half. This includes meditation, breathing exercises (pranayama) and yoga asana (physical postures). Some mornings I may practice by myself at home, others I can take a class depending on my schedule. My home Yoga practice changes daily depending on how my body is feeling and my energy levels but in general my morning practice is a rounded practice working and waking up each joint and muscle of the body.  I usually start with the Jivamukti magic 10 sequence (which I will explain in a further post!) and then move into a flow.

After this practice I have my breakfast which usually consists of porridge topped with dried berries and nuts and rice milk. It’s warming and hearty and delicious. I always try to practice Yoga either on an empty stomach or not having eaten for at least 2 hours. This helps the energy or prana to rise and also insures that you don’t feel queasy!

PORRIDGE PIC

As a Yoga teacher my schedule changes each day so I have to be flexible (excuse the pun!) and arrange my day around classes, workshops, meetings and other work commitments. I also either go to boxing or go for a run at least 4 times a week. I have a lot of energy and I love being active so I really enjoy these cardio based activities, although I do find them challenging, but I like being challenged! I think it’s really important to step out of your comfort zone and do something that you may perceive as difficult. It pushes you and teaches you resilience as well as discipline and perseverance.

I usually cycle to most of my classes as most of them are around town and cycling is the quickest and easiest way to get around the city. I am lucky that I live quiet close town and most of my classes are within cycling distance.

My lunches tend to be quick and easy, maybe a bowl of soup or a filling salad or avocado on toast. I don’t eat meat so most of my protein comes from beans, lentils, quinoa and vegetables. People often ask me do I miss meat but to be honest, I don’t miss it at all. My Yoga practice off the mat is about living a sustainable, ethical life and that is equally if not more important than my practice on the mat. I might have a square of dark chocolate or an apple and some peanut butter after my lunch for something sweet, although I am aware of the effects of processed sugar (I try not to eat a lot of it but I definitely have a sweet tooth!).

In the afternoon or evening,   I do about 30 minutes in the afternoon of more specific yoga asana primarily focusing on specific postures such as handstand or areas of the body such as the hips or the spine.

Most of the time I am home after my work day by about 8.00 or so. For dinner I might have salad with chickpeas & vegetables, a lentil bake or a bean burger with hummus (I love hummus!). Usually something quite simple and wholesome but tasty! My diet tends to be whole foods and as much organic food as possible.

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In general I tend to live a very active and social life. My days can be sporadic so I need to plan carefully so I can get everything in that I need to do each day. If I for some reason miss my Yoga practice (which does happen occasionally) I feel unsettled or a little on edge for the day. My practice grounds me and allows me to start my day the way I mean to continue, with an inner softness, a willing to bend and a sense of gratitude and appreciation.

So there you have it, that is a typical day walking in the shoes (or lack thereof!) of a Yoga teacher in the city of Dublin! If you would like more information or to get a more intimate idea of my life, you can follow me on Facebook or Instagram @LeeTraceyLife. Thanks for reading!

06Apr/16

Flow – Creative Actions

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How we do one action is how we do every action.

One thing or action or movement done artfully and with the right intention can be a perfect action and can lead to Yoga or Flow or Union with the present moment. There are many ways  to express in words that feeling of being completely immersed in something, coming from a place of Being rather then just moving or acting on auto-pilot. You could get into this place of Being with any action done with mindful awareness be it Yoga, drawing, crotchet, (https://www.ramdass.org/i-crochet/ check out a story from Ram Dass here on that exact subject of crochet!) dancing, running, dancing, even washing the dishes, if done with the right intention, can be a creative action!

creative action

Showing up for our practice (or Sadhana) day after day with reverence and curiosity allows us to notice the shifting patterns of our lives. Showing up everyday can be tedious and sometimes even feel boring. Sometimes we wonder why we bother but the reward of a long term consistent practice is the ability to distinguish between our own true nature and the changing patterns that make up our body, mind and emotions.

Our experience on the mat can showcase how we live off the mat. Do we rush our breath? Do we always move as quickly as we can to the peak of the pose? Do we allow ourselves to settle into postures moving with awareness or are we always thinking of where we are going next?

create yourself

With these small insights we can begin to live with more awareness, allowing our movements and actions on the mat to become more mindful and creative and that also ripples out to our daily lives. Our lives off the mat, our interactions with others, how we live and create our thoughts, words and ultimately our actions which create our reality.

Until next time, keep creating x

11Mar/16

Perception-What are you really looking at?

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Ever notice how two people can look at the same thing or situation and react to it completely differently? Some people face adversity and grow and flourish because of it….Others face similar challenges but may become sour or resentful feeling like a victim of circumstance.

Our perceptions and projections are made by our minds. Most are unconscious and keep us in an old groove or habit. We see the same situations occur in our lives again and again, the same patterns in relationships, interactions with others and how we treat ourselves.

When we begin to look at things consciously, becoming aware of our tendencies and habits to label or to look at things a certain way.This awareness is the first step in opening our eyes and shining the light of truth on our lives. We stop following things blindly, continuing the Samsakras we have been re-living day after day. This can be difficult! It can raise some scary questions- it may question everything we believed to be true, the reality which we have built up over years could be torn down and that’s a little terrifying hence a lot of us don’t want to do it.

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We begin to realise that our thoughts, words and actions have a massive impact on our lives , the lives of those around us, and the environment. We begin to think less selfishly and begin to act with a deep sense of compassion and understanding. Taking responsibility for our actions, thoughts and words and understanding that we are in control of our own lives and what we do matters. We begin to realise everything is interconnected and what affects one, affects us all.
Our intentions matter, how we interact matters, how we treat others matters, how we treat our planet matters. Take responsibility, make conscious choices and begin to live more compassionately. The world is not coming at you- You are a part of the world.

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Our Yoga practices can help us become more conscious or our thoughts, actions and decisions. As we become more aware of our bodies and minds on our yoga mats we can begin to bring this level of awareness off our yoga mats. Instead of feeling like a victim of circumstance, ask yourself – Is there something I can learn here? Is there something here that will accelerate my growth? As my teacher says: You can’t be a victim and Enlightened at the same time!

20Aug/15

The Tools of Transformation.

Deepak Chopra Inner Transformation

Can you feel it yet? A palpable shift in people’s perceptions. Our priorities are changing. We want fit healthy bodies and fit healthy minds. So many people are getting involved on the yoga for preciously those reasons and once they are on the mat they realise there is a bit more depth than at first meets the eye…

So many of us are interested in health, fitness and well-being these days. It is across generations, not just one demographic. We are all interested in making positive adjustments in our own lives, but there is also a deeper, wider context to this – something has shifted, something has changed.  On a wider context we are starting to really notice the changes in our planet. We are beginning to evolve a broader awareness of how our life impacts the world.

Yoga and mindfulness has this capacity to take us out of our small minded thoughts and help us to gain a deeper connection to ourselves, others and our environment. We can slow down and begin to really hear through all the noise that is thrown at us day after day. It has a genuine transformational effect.

We smile, laugh and feel a part of something bigger, more significant. We feel lighter. We gain hope. We gain connection. We begin to understand how we fit into this world that we are a part of.

As we feel more connection we begin to ask questions like ‘What imprint are we leaving behind us as we stride forward?’  There is a social consciousness coming to light and it means that society as a whole is ready to move forward from the ‘I, Me, Mine’ mind set into a much more community based, social mind set.

This is powerful. When individuals become aware of their own power to shift and shape society as they see fit, they begin to mould a new way of doing things. A way based on compassion and kindness towards others. We become a little less selfish and a little more selfless. As community bonds are made, anxiety, loneliness and depression decrease. We feel more empowered and less powerless.  There is social inclusion. This is democracy. Power to the people.

Ask yourself what do you hold dear, what you truly want from life and work towards those goals. Is it money? Power? A fit body? A healthy mind? A smile from your child? A touch from your lover? A sense of making a difference to someone’s life? Ultimately what is life about other than to share joy and love with the people that surround us?

Don’t allow society to dictate what should be important to you, decide for yourself. Use the tools that work for you to transform your life. That could be yoga, meditation, mindfulness, running, swimming, weights, whatever floats your boat! Discipline and practise is the first step to transformation.

Remember, what you do really matters – on and off the mat.

Make goals, have discipline and be aware of your own ability to make others happy.

When you stop focusing so much on yourself; that’s when the transformational magic happens and as my teacher says, ‘Magic is simply a shift in perception.’sunset lotus

28Jul/15

Observe & Subtract

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Observe and Subtract

Over the last week or so, I have been paying attention.

Just paying attention…Sounds easy?

I have been paying attention to exactly how I am reacting to certain situations, especially ‘bad’ ones or situations that perhaps don’t go my way.

Those moments when somebody speaks to you in a way that you do not like, when people display aggression or are rude and it is just so easy to react in the same way and before you know it, you are in a conflict. A conflict of ideas, emotions and words.

You know those times when somebody really gets into your head and annoys you for the rest of your day? You end up having arguments in your head with them even though they can’t hear you! Mental, right? Or maybe it’s something physical like when somebody bumps into you on the street or knocks you off your bike.

So these are especially the types of situations I have been paying attention to and instead of reacting, I have been responding. Taking a moment, taking a breath, and formulating a response with calmness and clarity instead of aggression and rage. And do you know what I have found?           I am the one who comes out the better for it, as I can then let it go. I am the one who ultimately benefits.

When we meet aggression with aggression it just grows. When we meet it with compassion it somehow melts away. And ultimately that it is compassion towards your own state of mind.

I have been paying attention and some of the conflicts I have seen between others have flared up instantaneously over people afraid that they don’t have enough… Enough room, enough time, enough space. I have seen reasonable people shouting at each other in the street because they are simply reacting to the perception that somebody is taking something from them and there is not enough to go round. There is always enough. It is when we let go a little we can see a little clearer.

So next time you find yourself in one of those situations maybe try it.

Observe and Subtract- observe & take away whatever you need to learn from that situation without losing your cool or your state of mind. Don’t give it away, but let go.

Simple, eh?

thankful attention

07Jul/15

DO MORE OF WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY!

Happiness – what does it actually mean to you?

 LOKAH SAMASTAH SUKHINO BHAVANTU

MAY ALL BEINGS EVERYWHERE, BE HAPPY AND FREE & MAY THE THOUGHTS WORDS & ACTIONS OF MY OWN LIFE, CONTRIBUTE IN SOME WAY, TO THAT HAPPINESS AND TO THAT FREEDOM FOR ALL.

It is the one thing that we strive for continuously in life but curiously most of the time we are pretty unsure as to what it actually means to us….and if we don’t know what it is, how are we going to get it?

Seems pretty obvious but I have often found myself going in the wrong direction, sometimes based on other peoples expectations. Society expects us to behave a certain way and we begin to accumulate a list of ‘should do’s’ based on social norms rather then what we actually want.

Our society today places a huge emphasis on materialistic ideals, telling us how we should look, what we should buy and how big our bank balance should be. We tend to place our worth on where we live and what we can afford. But as we know this does not make us happy!

So whats the secret formula?

There is none! Being happy takes work, effort and it is a conscious decision that we are all capable of making. Being unselfish, kind and caring towards others can paradoxically be a step towards our own happiness.Take a step back, notice the things that are important to you and take responsibility for your own happiness – you do actually deserve it!

Be Someone who makes you happy