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Yoga for People Who Don't Do Yoga

Yoga for People Who Don't Do Yoga

To live a healthy lifestyle, we should commit to developing changes in our way of life. We have to get friendly with the uncomfortable inevitability of change as we grow into the next version of ourselves. Choosing the right food, gym, sleep aids, and different activities to boost your health may sound overwhelming, especially to someone who prefers to just lay in bed and doesn't feel like moving too much. At. All. But one thing's for sure - it is possible, and yoga is a great way to start! It can be really tempting to just turn into a blanket burrito and watch Netflix all day, but some days require you to be more productive than usual. That being said, why not get yourself moving by doing yoga. What exactly is it, and why do you need to try it? This practice requires holding poses, maintaining focus and various breathing techniques. It also helps you develop mindfulness by connecting your thoughts to your breath. Although there are pretty intensive forms of yoga, you don't have to start that way (right away, anyway). It is best to follow the simple movements first through stretching your body. Below are some asanas you can do very (VERY) easily, even when you don't have the will to do any exercise, or anything at all, really. Child's Pose This position encourages mindfulness and is perhaps one of the most calming poses. First, you rest your knees on your mat and then bow forward while lowering your bellybutton to your thighs and your forehead until it touches the mat. You can add a blanket or your hands beneath your forehead for additional comfort, or simply relax your arms behind your thighs with palms facing up. Allow your entire body to loosen up and breathe slowly. By practising this yoga posture, you are stretching your thighs, hips, ankles and spine. Plus, it also provides tension relief to your chest, shoulders, lower back muscles and hamstrings. The blood circulation to your head will also increase by regularly doing this. In addition to that, your digestion will also improve. Besides the benefits of this pose for your body, it can also affect your mental health by reducing anxiety and fatigue. Hence, promoting both a healthy mind and body. Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose Viparita Karani or Legs-Up-The Wall pose is best done after a long day at work, before going to sleep. Putting your legs up against a wall helps you unwind before going to bed. You can start by sitting on the floor facing a wall. Proceed by lying on your side and rolling onto your back. You can slowly stretch your legs up the wall while positioning your tailbone towards it. Relax them and find a comfortable position for your arms at your side while breathing slowly. This is a great yoga pose to enhance your sleep because of its calming and relaxing effect. It triggers the parasympathetic nervous system that helps you relax and suppresses the sympathetic nervous system, which is stress-inducing. Not only that, but it also reduces the swelling of the lower extremities, giving you more comfort after working all day. Mountain Pose Also known as Tadasana, the Mountain position helps improve posture and is the best starting position for other asanas. It does look effortless and is basically like standing up straight. The main thing you should keep in mind is to stand with your feet a few inches apart. Then start lifting all your toes and fan them out before slowly touching the ground. Rock gently back and forth before going to a standstill. Make sure to keep your arms beside your torso throughout. Regularly executing this will give you good posture, stronger lower extremities, toned abdomen and buttocks, reduce the pain from flat feet and ease the pain brought by sciatica. Not only that, but you also improve your focus and concentration! This is such a great way to protect and elevate your mind and body! Downward Facing Dog Pose Adho Mukha Svanasana, commonly known as Downward Facing Dog pose is an inversion type posture that targets the lower body area. Although you'll be stretching your whole body for this, having the alignment in this yoga position can provide alertness and relaxation within you. Since both strengthen and stretch, you can also improve balance and flexibility – just the perfect combination for nurturing your mind and body. You can do this position by going down onto your hands and knees. Then lift your knees from the floor with an exhale while you push your tailbone towards the sky. Straight legs and feet flat on the ground are NOT and essential component to this pose. For comfort, you can maintain slightly bent knees and lift heels off the floor. Let your head hang. Neck relaxed, then breathe as you push your thighs back and engage your quadriceps. Exhale and bend knees to release, then go back to the first step. Wind Relieving Yoga Pose Pavana Muktasana or Wind Relieving Yoga Pose is a lying position that can be done in the comfort of your bed as well. However, it is better to do it on the floor for a flatter surface. When lying on your back, you will need a stable surface as you bring your knees to your chest and wrap your arms around your knees. Hold your breath for 4-8 seconds and exhale while releasing your arms and legs to the floor. This can be done with alternating sides or with both legs at the same time. One significant benefit of this yoga pose is how it helps in the digestion and elimination of waste of the human body. It also makes your lower back flexible and lengthens the spine. Corpse Pose The Corpse Pose or Savasana is the most favourite yin yoga pose for most as it is somehow something we do all day in bed-lying down. Just rest your entire body on the floor with your knees bent or legs extended. This position helps you prioritise your well being as it allows you to enter a truly relaxed state. A state we all love to be in! Just by incorporating these simple poses, you can prioritise mindfulness and your well being even if you are lazy and have absolutely no idea how to practice yoga. In fact, people who have no idea can learn with those basic yin yoga positions. These kinds of yoga asanas are fit for those who want to take things slow. They are slow-paced styles that will leave you flexible without working out vigorously. This is also perfect for busy people who don't have enough time to go to a studio as this can be done anywhere. Although it is not as intense as other poses or workouts, it actually contributes a lot to your wellbeing, affecting your quality of life. Imagine how you get healthy by doing some of these Yin yoga postures! Ready to get started with yoga? If you're ready to join our Lazy Sunday Yoga Sessions (online from the comfort of your own pajamas!) visit our website and sign up for February!

Shin-Rin Yoku - The Art of Forest Bathing

Shin-Rin Yoku - The Art of Forest Bathing

Forest bathing, at first glance, could simply look like a walk in the woods. However the main objective is not the walking itself, but the ‘being’ in nature, connection, immersion, it’s about absorbing the atmosphere, paying attention to the experience and allowing the forest to work it’s natural ‘magic’ so to speak. When autumn rolls around each year, Busanites dash outdoors to bask in the beauty of the fall foliage and snap that essential Insta-worthy selfie. It’s really no wonder; Nationwide, Busan boasts some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes and hotspots for ‘당풍놀이’ — enjoying the beautiful changing colors of autumn leaves. The colors of fall soothe us; the change from a hot, sticky summer into a cool, vibrant autumn refreshes us as the winds blow stronger and the deep blue nights become chilly. It’s magic. Colorful, natural magic. But the magic of getting out into nature runs much deeper than any #nofilter shot could ever hope to convey. Spending time in nature, and amongst the majesty of tall, silent trees in particular, actually makes you healthier. A concept born in Japan named ‘Shinrin-Yoku’, or quite simply ‘forest bathing’, is nature therapy in its most beautiful and simple form. Forest bathing, at first glance, could simply look like a walk in the woods. However the main objective is not the walking itself, but the ‘being’ in nature, connection, immersion, it’s about absorbing the atmosphere, paying attention to the experience and allowing the forest to work it’s natural ‘magic’ so to speak. The therapeutic benefits are credited largely to phytoncides – antimicrobial essential oils with natural healing properties – but the whole experience of Shinrin-Yoku is transformative. Click here to find out our Five Great Spots to Heal Your Mind, Body, and Soul in Busan So what’s so great about it? There have been scores of scientific studies conducted on the effects of Shinrin-yoku since the term was coined in 1982 when Japan made ‘forest bathing’ part of its national health program. The documented results (and ongoing studies) show that forest bathing is scientifically proven to: Reduce Stress Studies have shown a significant decrease in the levels of cortisol in those who take a leisurely forest walk compared to a leisurely urban walk. Boost Your Mood By spending some time in nature we detach from the high-speed dot com insta-world and connect to our roots. Studies have shown that from simply spending time in nature, feelings of contentment increase and feelings of confusion and urgency are reduced. Increase Creativity & Cognitive Function Time in nature boosts our creative juices and enhances our mental performance. In one study participants were found to perform 50% better on creative problem-solving tasks after wilderness backpacking compared to their urban-based counterparts. Decrease Inflammation (including better skin, relief for sore muscles and improvement in respiratory conditions) Inflammation can cause a multitude of unpleasantries in the body, as we well know. This can range from skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema to respiratory conditions such as asthma and COPD, to inflammation in the liver and brain. Forest air is naturally fresher and cleaner than city air, and the trees release natural compounds that can help reduce inflammation in the body, reducing symptoms of inflammation and increasing wellbeing. Create Natural (born) Killers The body has a natural cell, called NK, that actively seeks out and destroys cancer cells and bacterial infections in the body. Pretty badass. One particular Japanese study showed that after just 3 nights in the forest, participants’ average increase in NK cells was a staggering 50% compared to those participants who encountered a normal working environment during the study. Additionally, a simple leisurely stroll into the forest can help to reduce blood pressure, improve the health of the nervous system and accelerate recovery from illness. It allows us a mini-vacation from our hectic daily lives, its FREE of charge, and benefits everyone. So how do we do it? Simply head out to your favorite wooded area, forest, mountain or tree-filled neighborhood park.Walk leisurely with ease, calmly and without any particular direction. The aim is to enjoy the forest, not to get hot and sweaty, running like a hog up Halla San.Engage all your senses to notice everything around you – the colors of the leaves, the motion created by the wind, the smells and sounds of the forest, branches cracking below and above you, the taste of the air, the touch of the ground beneath your feet.Lather. Rinse. Repeat. And that’s it! Simple, effective, fun and free. And what better way to check out Busan in autumn than a leisurely, healing walk under the golden boughs of the ever-changing city. Wherever you go to for your Shinrin-yoku practice, make sure to indulge your senses in the delights of the city, and savor the colorful changing palette of nature right here in our dynamic Busan! #lifestyle #healthtips #forestbathing #foresthealing

Stave off the Winter Blues!

Stave off the Winter Blues!

As the seasons change and the nights draw in, we’re greeted with the end of another year. While many look forward to the festivities of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, others start to struggle with the change of seasons, becoming more isolated in the colder, darker months. Some people call it the ‘winter blues’, but for others, the change of seasons can affect dramatic change in the body and mind. Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly referred to as SAD, is a type of depression that appearsin a seasonal pattern. Symptoms of SAD can be more severe during the winter months, which is why many people call it ‘winter depression’ although others do feel symptoms in summer months, too. The causes of SAD still aren’t fully understood, but its theorized that lack of sunlight exposure during the long, dark winter months may affect the hypothalamus - a part of our brain - from functioning properly. This could affect the production of the hormone melatonin (related to wakefulness) and serotonin, a hormone that affects your mood, appetite and sleep. It could also affect the body's internal clock (circadian rhythm) as our bodies rely on sunlight to help us time certain functions, such as waking up. A lack of sunlight could disrupt our body’s natural rhythm causing us to feel lethargic and low. It can be hard to tell if what we feel on a daily basis is ‘normal’ (and what does ‘normal’ mean, anyway?) So some symptoms to look out for include: Loss of interest in daily activities, low mood and self esteem, feeling irritated or lethargic, finding extreme difficulty in getting up in the morning, food cravings and weight gain. So to help you prepare for the dark nights and the winter ahead, here are some tips to help stave off those winter blues before the cold sets in. Light Therapy There are many light therapy treatments available these days, devices and technology that can lighten your mood by helping to regulate melatonin and other affected hormones. Whether you’re visiting a professional establishment or simply buying a light box for your home, it is always advisable to consult with a medical professional before beginning any treatment. There are a number of affordable light boxes, dawn simulators or blue light devices available online. Stay Active One surefire way to get the heart pumping and the mood lifted is to get active. Exercise transforms low mood and lethargy by flooding the brain with BDNF and endorphins. These chemicals make us feel great, and actually have a very addictive trait similar to morphine or nicotine. Getting outside for a run, brisk walk or even just a gentle stroll will make you feel better. Staying active is a great way to alleviate symptoms of SAD and other mood related symptoms. Take a Window Seat Sit next to a window whenever you are indoors, whether that means moving your desk next to the window at work or choosing a window seat when you go for coffee after lunchtime. Being next to the window will help you get some sunlight exposure to help the body produce Vitamin D, giving you a boost and benefitting your bones, blood cells and immune system. Eat Well Eating a healthy balanced diet is essential to helping maintain a healthy mind (and body). Why? In order for our brains to function at top speed, we need to fuel up properly. There are certain nutrients that have a huge impact on our cognitive function, even helping to combat depression and anxiety. Great mood-boosting nutrients include calcium, iron, magnesium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. Eat up! Talk About It Acknowledging your symptoms and letting yourself ‘feel’ whats going on in your body is an important part of your overall wellbeing. Talking to someone out loud can help you work through your symptoms and care for yourself at the core. Sharing your thoughts with a trained professional can be helpful, and experts can help you develop and implement coping strategies for your healing process. Slowly, step by step. Socialize Perhaps talking to a professional seems a little daunting, or you’re not quite ‘there’ yet. Get outside and get into your supportive social circles to have fun. You don’t need to regale your best friends with all the grizzly details, simply boosting your social connections will increase your mood and increase your levels of dopamine, endorphins and serotonin, often referred to as ‘happiness hormones’. Avoid toxic people at all costs! Build a Fort Sometimes the last thing we want to do is be next to other people, and that’s completely fine. Self preservation and self care are not selfish. Why not try building yourself a little fort in your bedroom - aromatherapy candle, favorite movies, throw away that phone, stock up on some non-greasy snacks and take a lot of naps. Keeping a relaxed atmosphere and a clear head can help you tune in and chill out. While there are many healthy things we can do to help alleviate feelings of low mood, lethargy or hopelessness, sometimes we just don’t have the energy or the desire to try. That’s ok. Feeling down now and again is completely ‘normal’, however if you suffer prolonged symptoms and find it hard to cope, you may be experiencing more than just the winter blues. Just make sure that you have some tools in your toolbox for when you feel ready to take action and reach out to someone who can be there for you, because you’re never alone. If you feel you or someone you know are showing symptoms of SAD or are suffering from any other kind of depression, please contact your GP as soon as possible, as these wellbeing tips are not a replacement for professional medical treatment. Stay warm and well this winter. A small list of local mental health and wellness resources can be found here.

How to Battle the Winter Blues

How to Battle the Winter Blues

As the seasons change and the nights draw in, we’re greeted with the end of another year. While many look forward to the festivities of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, others start to struggle with the change of seasons, becoming more isolated in the colder, darker months. Some people call it the ‘winter blues’, but for others, the change of seasons can affect dramatic change in the body and mind. Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly referred to as SAD, is a type of depression that appears in a seasonal pattern. Symptoms of SAD can be more severe during the winter months, which is why many people call it ‘winter depression’ although others do feel symptoms in summer months, too. The causes of SAD still aren’t fully understood, but its theorized that lack of sunlight exposure during the long, dark winter months may affect the hypothalamus – a part of our brain – from functioning properly. This could affect the production of the hormone melatonin (related to wakefulness) and serotonin, a hormone that affects your mood, appetite and sleep. It could also affect the body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm) as our bodies rely on sunlight to help us time certain functions, such as waking up. A lack of sunlight could disrupt our body’s natural rhythm causing us to feel lethargic and low. It can be hard to tell if what we feel on a daily basis is ‘normal’ (and what does ‘normal’ mean, anyway?) So some symptoms to look out for include: Loss of interest in daily activities, low mood and self esteem, feeling irritated or lethargic, finding extreme difficulty in getting up in the morning, food cravings and weight gain. So to help you prepare for the dark nights and the winter ahead, here are some tips to help stave off those winter blues before the cold sets in. Light Therapy There are many light therapy treatments available these days, devices and technology that can lighten your mood by helping to regulate melatonin and other affected hormones. Whether you’re visiting a professional establishment or simply buying a light box for your home, it is always advisable to consult with a medical professional before beginning any treatment. There are a number of affordable light boxes, dawn simulators or blue light devices available online. Stay Active One surefire way to get the heart pumping and the mood lifted is to get active. Exercise transforms low mood and lethargy by flooding the brain with BDNF and endorphins. These chemicals make us feel great, and actually have a very addictive trait similar to morphine or nicotine. Getting outside for a run, brisk walk or even just a gentle stroll will make you feel better. Staying active is a great way to alleviate symptoms of SAD and other mood related symptoms. Take a Window Seat Sit next to a window whenever you are indoors, whether that means moving your desk next to the window at work or choosing a window seat when you go for coffee after lunchtime. Being next to the window will help you get some sunlight exposure to help the body produce Vitamin D, giving you a boost and benefitting your bones, blood cells and immune system. Eat Well Eating a healthy balanced diet is essential to helping maintain a healthy mind (and body). Why? In order for our brains to function at top speed, we need to fuel up properly. There are certain nutrients that have a huge impact on our cognitive function, even helping to combat depression and anxiety. Great mood-boosting nutrients include calcium, iron, magnesium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. Eat up! Talk About It Acknowledging your symptoms and letting yourself ‘feel’ whats going on in your body is an important part of your overall wellbeing. Talking to someone out loud can help you work through your symptoms and care for yourself at the core. Sharing your thoughts with a trained professional can be helpful, and experts can help you develop and implement coping strategies for your healing process. Slowly, step by step. Socialize Perhaps talking to a professional seems a little daunting, or you’re not quite ‘there’ yet. Get outside and get into your supportive social circles to have fun. You don’t need to regale your best friends with all the grizzly details, simply boosting your social connections will increase your mood and increase your levels of dopamine, endorphins and serotonin, often referred to as ‘happiness hormones’. Avoid toxic people at all costs! Build a Fort Sometimes the last thing we want to do is be next to other people, and that’s completely fine. Self preservation and self care are not selfish. Why not try building yourself a little fort in your bedroom – aromatherapy candle, favorite movies, throw away that phone, stock up on some non-greasy snacks and take a lot of naps. Keeping a relaxed atmosphere and a clear head can help you tune in and chill out. While there are many healthy things we can do to help alleviate feelings of low mood, lethargy or hopelessness, sometimes we just don’t have the energy or the desire to try. That’s ok. Feeling down now and again is completely ‘normal’, however if you suffer prolonged symptoms and find it hard to cope, you may be experiencing more than just the winter blues. Just make sure that you have some tools in your toolbox for when you feel ready to take action and reach out to someone who can be there for you, because you’re never alone. If you feel you or someone you know are showing symptoms of SAD or are suffering from any other kind of depression, please contact your GP as soon as possible, as these wellbeing tips are not a replacement for professional medical treatment. Stay warm and well this winter. A small list of local mental health and wellness resources can be found here.

Busan Destinations: Five Great Spots to Heal Your Mind, Body and Soul in Busan

Busan Destinations: Five Great Spots to Heal Your Mind, Body and Soul in Busan

First Published on hapskorea.com __________________________________________________________________________________ Mountains? Check. Ocean? Check. Natural hot springs, forest trails, eco-parks. Double check. Busan and the surrounding areas are packed with some of the most beautiful and vibrant natural travel destinations found on the Korean Peninsula, and we’d be as bold as to say in the entire world. However, it’s not just the beauty of Busan that attracts tourists from all across the globe. Busan is becoming a top destination in the wellness tourism world, and things are hotting up even as the weather cools down. Worldwide, wellness tourism is on the rise, with luxury wellness destinations popping up everywhere from Argentina to Zimbabwe, and now Korea is getting a slice of the $639 billion market. According to the Global Wellness Institute, Wellness Tourism is one of the the fastest growing segments on the wellness economy, and growing 50% faster than the overall tourism industry. We can expect to see big changes over the next few years. Wellness tourism, not to be confused with medical tourism, is travel with the specific purpose of maintaining balance and quality of life through wellness related activities like meditation, spa treatments, hiking, nature walks and exercise. Although a relatively new concept in Korea, wellness tourism has become a hot topic globally over the last decade or so. The Korean government announced that it will invest 800 million KRW (US$742,000) into the wellness tourism industry in order to attract overseas visitors, as well as create wellness initiatives in local communities to foster happy, healthy citizens. By combining new and exciting wellbeing programs with existing markets, including K-beauty, medical tourism, spas, health cuisine etc. Korean wellness tourism looks to attract new and repeat travelers who want to spend their money on self-improvement and wellbeing. According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, South Gyeongsang Province has been tapped as the country’s base for wellness tourism. While Busan has long been known as the best summer hotspot in Korea, as the autumn winds blow a little colder, the city is transformed into a different kind of travel destination, while spring and winter also offer something seasonally unique. One thing remains constant; nature is good for us. Busan, Koreas second largest city and largest port city, has all the makings of the perfect wellness destination, with abundant natural environments perfect for healing the mind, body and soul. Why not get outside and enjoy everything that Busan has to offer, no matter the time of year, and give yourself some time to feel a little better. Jangsan Mountain Beautiful Jangsan has an elevation of 634 meters and is popular with locals and tourists of all ages and fitness levels. Jangsan offers a full range of trails for everyone, and nature abound. Jangsan park is a great place for families to enjoy the fall foliage, and for the more adventurous hiker, go a little further into the mountain to discover the signs warning of an active land mine field – just make sure you don’t venture too far! How to get there: Subway Line 2 – Jangsan, exit 10 and walk uphill towards the mountain Geumgang Park Best during October and November, the fallen leaves of red and gold create a red carpet fit for a Joseon King. Head into the crisp forest air, wander through the towering trees, standing to attention for each new visitor. The park is easily accessible by foot and leads to some of the most breathing taking views of the city. Hike up the many trails for an invigorating workout, or take the cable car for 8,000 won return, and sip a cup of makkoli (Korean rice wine) as you check out the sprawling views from the top! How to get there: Subway 
Line 1 – Oncheonjang Station, exit No.1. Taejongdae Park While some wouldn’t consider this a traditional forest trail or hiking trail, there’s no denying it is the perfect place to dive headfirst into nature and enjoy the invigorating power of the ocean. Take a walk to the top of Taejongdae through the tree-lined roads, or hop on the Danubi Train for a ride to the top. You’ll soon relax in the calming and comforting atmosphere of Taejongdae Park. Perfect for a Sunday stroll with the family, a romantic ‘Couple Course’ with the one you love, or choose the ‘Cruise Ship Course’ to get the wind in your hair. How to get there: Bus

From Busan Station, take bus No. 88 or 101 and get off at Taejongdae Cliff Bus Stop.

Other buses for Taejongdae: No. 8, 13, 30, 88, or 101. Children’s Grand Park How to get there: Bus

Take Bus No. 33, 44, 54, 63, 81, 83-1, 133

Or Village Bus No. 17

Get off at Children’s Grand Park (어린이대공원) Subway Line 1 – Seomyeon, exit 13 and transfer to bus or taxi, Yengjeong, exit 5 and transfer to bus or taxi – Line 2 – Seomyeon, exit 2 and transfer to bus or taxi – Line 3 – Geoje, exit 8 and transfer to bus or taxi. Democracy Park Image: YouTube Opened in 1999, Democracy Park symbolizes peace and honors the spirit of democracy, remembering the sacrifices of those who fought for Korea’s freedom. With facilities including an outdoor theatre, an observatory and exhibition halls, you can spend the day relaxing in the grounds, enjoying a game of baduk under the trees or find a quiet space in the democracy library. How to get there: Bus

Take bus No. 38, 43, 70, 135, 190 and get off at Democracy Park bus stop Subway Line 1 – get off at Busanjin, Choryang-dong or Busan station, transfer to bus or taxi. No matter where you travel in Busan, or even further afield, getting outside into the sunshine, enjoying the ocean air or the shade of mountainside canopies, it will leave you refreshed and calm (and not a penny out of pocket). Enjoy nature, and enjoy Busan.

WellMi Visit www.wellmi.net for tours and events

Let’s talk motivation.

Let’s talk motivation.

As Oprah Winfrey said, what you dwell on, you become. We all go through tough times, sometimes stepping 2 feet on the floor is our best. So what is it that gives us meaning in our lives? Meaning significant enough to rush us forth with passion and spirit, to climb higher mountains, to wade into uncomfortable waters? “What motivates you to get out of bed every morning?” “아침마다 당신을 침대에서 나오게 하는 원동력이 되는 것은 무엇인가?” Think about it, embody it, and make it your superpower!

We are what we think we are...Affirmation Writing

We are what we think we are...Affirmation Writing

Some say ‘you are what you eat’, some others say ‘you are who you spend your time with’, and some (who have the money to back it up 😉 )might say ‘you are who you wear’…There’s truth in all of those, I guess. But more so than any other, I live by the philosophy that ‘YOU are WHAT YOU THINK YOU ARE’. The mind is everything. What you think you become. We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow untouched by darkness. Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. – Gautama Buddha Not that simple, unfortunately. Around the globe, scientists to thinkers and philosophers to present day tycoons of industry, professional sports people to motivators, teachers and all round happy and positive people agree – you become what you spend your time thinking about. A quick google search will bring up the benefits of positive thinking, but as a mindfulness practitioner and habitual-happy-thought-thinker myself, I will speak simply from experience. If you believe you can be or do something, you will behave in a way that facilitates that. If you believe you cannot, then you shall not. This is how I (try to) live. Seems too easy right? Well it’s not. Not that simple at all. Our minds can land us in territory that we, as humans and users of that squishy zombie bait, tend to find unfamiliar and often downright terrifying. Simply speaking, our brain is out to get us. A Modern Psychology and Buddhism course that I have taken (and continue to take again and again – hurrah for lifetime access) taught by Robert Wright gives a plain and simple explanation; I’m paraphrasing; natural selection wants us to survive, so our brains are wired to keep us safe. To which you might say, 'well that’s not a bad thing'…sure, fight or flight response etc. But that comes with a side order of Automatic Negative Thoughts, that run like a soundtrack to our lives. Thoughts of not being good enough, not being smart enough, being too slow, too thin, not thin enough, comparing, judging, negativity over and over again. And if we don’t catch it, and flip it around, it can send us into a spiral of Negatron-ism. (I made that word up). How often do you look in the mirror and have an automatic negative response to what you see? How do you react to certain circumstances? Have you caught yourself playing the “(Person) is better than me at_____” game? It’s so natural, but so important that we transform that habit. Of course it can take months and years of practice to get our thoughts under control, but there are practices that we can use, habits to form that make small steps more achievble. (BTW I find it especially important while in Korea, seeing English learners who constantly berate themselves for being sub-standard in a society that favors grades over growth.) Anyway, you don’t need me to explain the benefits or inner workings of positive psychology (because I can’t ) so I shall simply offer nowt but my two pennies. I want to share something I do with my clients that really breeds wonderful results: Affirmation Writing I might do this as a full session or as a warm up exercise. Hand out pieces of paper with affirmations written on them. Like this: I am a confident person, I am confident in myself and in what I believe. 나는 자신감 있는 사람이다. 나는 내 자신과 내 신념에 자신이 있다. I am fulfilling my dreams one step at a time. 나는 한 걸음씩 내 꿈을 이루어 나가고 있다. I am moving in the right direction. 나는 올바른 방향으로 나아가고 있다. My life is filled with joy and positive experiences. 내 삶은 기쁨과 긍정적인 경험으로 가득 차 있다. I do more and more each day towards fulfilling my desires. 나는 내가 원하는 것들을 하루 하루 더 채워 나갈 수 있다. We look over them, read them, digest them and choose one to read aloud to the group 3 times in a row. Our next task is to write our own affirmations: 1) write one for a friend 2) write one for our future self 3) write one for our past self 4) write one for present self A few tips on writing affirmations: Always write in present tense – “I will be happy when…” is a sure fire way to never be happy. “I am happy…” Always write with positive language – for example, “I don’t allow negative thoughts…” can be replaced with “I always invite positive thoughts…” Write something that is personal to your own experience, that works for you, and that you will find useful. And finally… if all else fails, use the “I am…” model. It can be incredibly powerful, insightful and simple to understand and take with you throughout the day. And finally, thank you for joining the journey we're on! Let's always share those positive vibes. Always. And encourage positive thinking within our students, clients, family, friends and ourselves. Happy begets happy <3 L x #healingenglish #thinkthinktalk #kindness #wellness #mentalhealth #southkorea #self #mantra #forgiveness #lauramcluckie #Englisheducation #esl #english #mentalhealth #motivation #education #worth #love #laura #mindfulness #positive #buddhism #listening #stressrelief #healing

Let’s talk about…Forgiveness 용서

Let’s talk about…Forgiveness 용서

This week our mindfulness session will be looking at forgiveness and all the amazing benefits of practicing the art of forgiveness. It takes practice and it takes dedication, but my oh my is it worth it! Why not set up a little conversation circle with your class, or friends, and address some ideas surrounding forgiveness! Here’s a little something to nibble on to get you started… “Allowing myself to make mistakes is important because…”

“내 자신의 실수를 허락하는 것이 중요한 이유는…” Have a productive and positive day~🌱 L x

The Mindfulness Effect

The Mindfulness Effect

When we unlock our natural skill to be present in each moment, we unlock new meaning in our life. To savour the soft whisper of your child’s breath as she sleeps, to delight in the unnoticed moments of silence in the day, to find beauty in normality when all around you are blinded by the lights, each moment of our lives is transformed into something more than life as we once knew it. Life as we were content to know, as we were taught and led to know. When we unlock that magic within, the addiction of clarity and peace takes hold, and we become more than we knew was inside. We become love. We become smell and sight and sound and taste and touch and conception. We become the world around us. We become more than ourselves. We become. Once we find the love within each part of our existence, once we start to appreciate the here and now-ness of each moment, our experience is magnified and we are reborn. Our fears quieting, our joys amplified, and us ourselves growing in our conscious state, walking in peace and holding onto each grain as it passes through the hourglass. Life is fleeting. Moments are just that. Do we really have any time to waste?

The Magic of Forgiveness: How to forgive yourself (and others)

The Magic of Forgiveness: How to forgive yourself (and others)

I’ve been practicing meditation, mindfulness, cultivating skills and spirituality, and developing material for a while now, putting it into practice, it’s really starting to take shape. I sound surprised. I am surprised. And impressed. But I, like everyone, fail more than I succeed. I often neglect my own practice, I find other more ‘important’ things to focus on. I snap at the ones I love. I allow emotions to take the wheel. I’m a very forgiving person in general, I don’t often cling to anger. There are days I fall off the forgiveness wagon and become so upset I feel perhaps I’ve fallen all the way back to square one. Of course there are situations that will make us angry, but it’s so damaging to hold onto that anger. Forgiveness isn't a cake walk, either. However, science tells us how incredible it is fr the brain, so when and if possible, let's try to forgive. Tips for forgiving yourself (and others) and letting go. Allow yourself to feel angry at the situation rather than at yourself.Or someone else. It’s very easy to hold onto toxic feelings about ourselves and others, but actually it’s the situation (and the replaying over and over and over in our heads) that affects us. Say to yourself “I forgive myself for making mistakes, I can find a solution to this situation.” It might not solve the problem, but it will remind you that shit happens, and you’re not so bad, really. Remember that shit happens. – Some things in life are just too inevitable, and some not so much, but once something has happened all we can do is move forward. Time travel would be great, but alas if you can’t get your hands on a flux capacitor you’ll just have to live in the present. It’s very easy to say and not so easy to do, but try to remind yourself; "what’s done is done and now we go forward." Don’t give yourself so much credit. – The world is a crazy place, and those of us in it are even crazier. You are not alone in slipping up, you’re not the first or the last person to make that huge mistake, you’re not alone in your faults and follies. Yeah you messed up. But the world doesn’t care. You (and maybe some others) care a lot, but time will take away the sting, and forgiveness will take away the heartache. You’re not alone here. Don’t think too much. – Its easy to say “forgiveness will take away the heartache”, but what TH does that actually mean and how TH do I do that? First, breathe. Don’t let forgiveness be another cause of stress. Just repeat some affirmations, avoid focusing on what it means to forgive; rather focus on being kind to yourself. If being kind to yourself is tough right now, find something that makes you happy and do it. Exercise, sleep, eat something delicious, take a walk, meditate, call your mum. The headspace needed to forgive will soon come and you’ll be in a position of gentle power. Remember that you are amazing. – How cool is it that the earth is around 4.5 BILLION years old and we get to be a walking, talking evolved conscious being there upon it?! How freakin’ cool is that!? Which means, in all of those billions of years and strands of DNA evolved from our ancestors’ ancestors’ ancestors’…we get to bear witness to all that exists. That’s pretty amazing. And you are an important part of it all. Of course you’re gonna make mistakes. Of course WE are. The important thing is to remember we are all learning, every day, more about ourselves, the world around us, life as we know it. Cut yourself some slack. If we had it all figured out, what a boring existence it would be indeed. Lastly, love yourself. – A good friend of mine always says “Live your best life”. I love that. To hell with what anyone else thinks. You are wonderful, and you deserve love. Give yourself love. That’s the most natural and beautiful thing I’ve learned so far in this life; love IS the answer. Practice it. Share it. Receive it. Believe it. Live it. Live Love. If all else fails, listen to some soothing music, and repeat these words: “I forgive you. I love you. You are enough. You are human. You are not alone. I forgive you.” Love

Improve Your Relationships: The Art of Listening

Improve Your Relationships: The Art of Listening

I often find myself in conversations where my participation level sits at 90% listening and 10% head nodding in empathetic agreement, offering hums of understanding and the odd utterance of mutual dismay. I sit and nod, tilt my head to one side, keep eye contact, and let the words of my companion seep inside my head and resonate through the space between us. I enjoy this kind of conversation. I like to be quiet. I also like to talk, sometimes. I'm enriched by this kind of conversation. It reminds me of who I was before I was 'now' me. I know what it is to be lonely, to need a compassionate ear to bend and stretch to fit the words literally bursting from my mouth. I know how it feels to need release. I know how it feels to feel (and be) alone. To have the urgency to say the words out loud to someone I trust, to look at someone’s face, as a waterfall of emotions spill from my heavy lips, as their eyes fixated on mine concur; ‘I’m not crazy’. Not all crazy. I know the dull, aching itch to say the words out loud, to get them outside of my head, blurt out as rapidly as possible, ripping off the plaster, knowing that a moments hesitation, a wayward eyebrow raise, a barely imperceptible twitching of the lips; the gust will falter, the head will clog, and everything turns black, stifled. I like these types of conversations. I like being that ear to bend and stretch. I like being the sounding board for ideas and theories that really need no answer nor opinion, where nods and head-tilts alone soothe mental cuts and bruises like breathing in deep mother hugs. I like to embody trust, and be worthy of such. I try to be that person. Compassion. Understanding. Kindness. Love. It’s not always easy to approach each encounter with each of these skills. We have to practice to be proficient users of the larger, 'listening skill'. We learn to bypass in favor of teasing and gossiping and other playground habits engraved on our character as we grow. Kids are cool. They are kind, empathetic, beautiful little creatures of inspiration. They're also mean, and gross, and smelly and sometimes very unkind. Human nature, and environmental influence. Just as traits take years to learn, they take years of practice to change. From experience, not every day is a good day, and that’s OK. Understanding is easy, practicing is an ongoing process. I digress… I like to be the listener and the comfort giver, the human pillow. I want to be the fixer too, despite knowing my own needs don't need a fixer, but an ally. The most important thing for me to remember as mother, lover, friend and professional; it’s my responsibility to listen, not fix. Sometimes fix. Listen without judgement. By listening, we facilitate growth, we enable release. Listening speaks volumes. It changes lives. When we listen without judgement, without offering advice, we are doing a silent kindness that resounds throughout the universe. A simple mindfulness practice or fun activity (like the Listening Circle game, also known as the whispering game) can open the listening conversation to our kids and students. Daily affirmations and mantras are also effective (for the big kids :D ) Here are a couple- 'I listen with my ears, heart, eyes, soul and energy.' 'I give my full attention, I listen deeply, I hear the words of others.' ‘In willingness a hundred thousand miles is not far, in unwillingness even your neighbor is far away’ – Venerable Master Hsing Yun Listening, really listening to understand, is the biggest service we can do for others and for ourselves. Our relationships will thank us for it. Lx

Wednesday Words – Healing English – 힐링 영어 표현 2018/01/24

Wednesday Words – Healing English – 힐링 영어 표현 2018/01/24

“We don’t see how things are, we see how we are. A peaceful and focused mind brings you joy in each part of your life. Colours are more vibrant, flavours more intense, life will be more beautiful. See the world reflected in you.” “우리는 사물이 어떻게 되어있는지를 보지 못하지만 우리는 어떻게 살아가고 있는지를 알 수 있습니다. 평화 롭고 집중된 마음은 삶의 각 부분에서 기쁨을 드립니다. 색상이 더 활기 차고, 맛이 강하고, 삶이 더 아름답습니다. 너에게 반영된 세상을 보세요~” Time and time again~ if we are stressed, then the way we see the world is affected. Flavours don’t pop, colours are dull, even the sunrise sulks and lacks beauty. However, if we can set aside a few minutes for practicing mindfulness, no matter how brief, it can be enough to give us that space between thought and feeling, and allow us to see 'is' as 'is'. Just 5 minutes a day can make a world of difference. Thats my window. Super dirty, I know. Look past the dirt and see beyond the window. If we look at what is directly in front of us without judgement, we can see everything that exists beyond it in deeper clarity; how the world is, as opposed to our perception of such. Patience, and kindness, as we take one more step towards the sun.