My Hypnotherapy Experience

As some of you know, I’m currently enrolled on a Holistic Healing and Coaching diploma in London, which so far has been absolutely incredible. Over the last few months I’ve studied Emotional Awareness, Relationships, Chi Kung (a gentle and healing martial-art inspired practice which I brought a little piece of to my yoga classes) and last weekend, Hypnotherapy. Before booking onto the course I remember looking at the syllabus feeling excited but nervous and a little out of my depth, but I felt such a strong pull to do it that I had to go with it. And all I know is that I feel at home every time I’m there, surrounded by a group of like-minded individuals who don’t look at you like you’ve just tried to lick your elbow when you talk about chakras and crystals…

So I thought I’d write a short blog about the weekend just gone. I wasn’t sure what to expect on this module as I’d never been hypnotised or heard too much about it, so I was really excited when Blue, our teacher (LOVE that our teacher is called Blue by the way), opened the day by telling us he was going to perform a group Hypnotherapy session. Yes! (And the phrase ‘look into my eyyyyyyyes’ did not once feature, I’m sorry to say.)

Blue asked us to close our eyes and relax. He led us through what felt like a sort of guided meditation, using the imagery of a bright white light melting down over our bodies from head to toe, before we walked through a door and down some steps, at which point he began to count from one to ten. I could feel myself sinking deeper and deeper into a state of complete relaxation. I have to admit, I didn’t think I would be able to let myself go in a room full of 26 other students, and I don’t know if I really believed anyone could send me into any kind of trance! But as the Hypnotherapy continued, as my whole body became really heavy and tingly, I realised that I didn’t know where I was anymore, but on some conscious level I decided to trust and continue to follow Blue’s voice as he repeated some positive affirmations to us. ‘You are enough. You are worthy. You are strong.’ He told us afterwards that repeating affirmations in a relaxed state is really effective in rewiring the subconscious mind and programming it to react differently when back in the ‘real world’. At the end of what felt like five minutes (but apparently was closer to twenty), Blue counted from one to five and brought everyone back into the room. I found that I was so at peace I didn’t want to open my eyes! An amazing experience.

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Hypnotherapy is a way of literally tapping into or speaking to the subconscious mind whilst in a deeply relaxed state or trance, re-jiggling some wires that have tripped us up in our daily lives, causing addictions, phobias, or negative core beliefs, and setting us on the path to recovery. I still think it’s crazy how our subconscious mind holds around 90% more wisdom than our conscious minds – there’s a lot of shit going on down there, and sometimes we need help shovelling it out!

I enrolled on the course with the forward vision of eventually being able to help and heal others, but the most important thing I’ve taken from it so far is that you can’t do that until you learn to heal yourself. I’m going on a real journey with it and I’ll continue to share my experiences, even if I don’t quite know where I’m heading with it! But this is the thing – I think we spend so much time and energy trying to work out the direction of our life, where it’s leading to, what’s going to happen… But all we can do is act on our gut instincts, listen to our intuition and trust that it’s guiding us safely forward.

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My next module in October is called ‘Soul Plan’ – all to do with finding your life purpose – so guinea pigs, make yourselves known!

Have a great week x

 

 

 

All Those Little Things

I’ve come to learn, more and more over the years, that it really is the little things in life that count for the most. A smile to a stranger, a chocolate on the pillow, the twenty seconds it takes to write ‘Happy Birthday’ on a friend you haven’t seen in ages Facebook wall.

The little things that are so easy to not bother with, but can make a lasting imprint on someone’s memory. It’s easy to not make the effort to do things you think no one will even notice, and it’s true, they won’t notice you haven’t done them. But going that extra mile and giving that little bit more, can make a world of difference. A small gesture can ripple out and have all sorts of positive effects – then somehow make its way right back to you.

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I admit – at a time when I felt really stuck in life, I fuelled my days with minimum input. I was lazy in my work, feeling little passion for anything, more interested in leaving early and coming home to dinner in front of mind-numbing TV shows than putting my attention into anything really worthwhile. I didn’t know how to move forward with my life. Honestly, I just wanted the money. (Did I just say that out loud…) That’s another blog for another time. But my point is – you get back what you put into life. You can’t expect anything to change if you don’t make any changes. I was putting in nothing, and getting nothing back. I’m crap at maths, but I know that zero + zero = BIG FAT ZERO.

Sometimes it’s scary to make a big change! So start small.

Since I started teaching yoga back in March, I thought about what little touches I could bring to my classes to make my students happy. Some weeks I leave small gifts at the end of the mat. Most weeks I read a poem or a positive quote at the end of the class. Once I started thinking about how I could brighten up other peoples’ lives, feeling passionate about helping others, I started to get back what I was putting in – without that ever being my sole intention. I love this example – a few weeks ago, I brought some chakra-healing tea bags to leave at the end of my students’ mats. Before the class had begun, one lovely girl who was leaving the country gave me a thank you gift. I opened the gift at home, and inside was a beautiful box of tea bags.

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My discovery is this. By switching the focus off of you, and thinking about how you can serve others, even in the smallest of ways, things really do start to change in your life. And they come back to you tenfold. Opportunities arise, doors open, and you are put in touch with all the right people, as the universe recognises you are doing your bit to move it in the right direction. Don’t do it for the purpose of getting anything back in return – do it because you genuinely want to.

What can you do today that will make someone happy? Start small. Because sometimes it’s those little things that make the biggest difference.

x

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Not Everything You Lose Is Bound To Be A Loss

Without fail, on a weekly basis I always have someone shuffle up to me at the beginning of a class telling me, in some form, that they’re going to be shit. ‘I have no co-ordination!’ ‘I’m so unflexible!’ ‘My face goes like a tomato!’ I always wonder why they feel the need to tell me this, as if not saying anything would result in me stopping the class so everyone could point and laugh. Guys, I ain’t here to judge. We’re all in this together.

So last week, I themed the first few of my outdoor summer yoga classes around the subject of letting go. I set a group intention at the start for everyone to let go of something they were holding on to that wasn’t serving them – be it physical, emotional, psychological – an injury they were guarding, a judgment they were making, an ex they were hung up on, guilt over leaving, frustration over staying… Whatever the thing was (and we all have a thing), I asked them to imagine it as a ball in their stomach (where we store emotions), to feel it, then take it out and throw it away. At least for the next hour on the mat.

On Wednesday evening in Battersea by the breezy river, with a red-orange sun dipping below the bridge, a row of downward dogs streaking the skyline and the soul-stroking tones of Passenger singing out, ‘you only need the light when it’s burning low, only miss the sun when it starts to snow, only know you love her when you let her go’, life felt really rather special.

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The evening before was a different story. I’d been on my phone scrolling through photos of the #yogisofinstagram. DANGER ZONE. Ten minutes in, and I felt like shit. I’m nervous to share this, but I’m going to because I’m pretty sure every girl reading this will have had similar thoughts, and it might help to know we’re all just as insane as each other. ‘She’s so much better than me!’ ‘She has way more followers – I’m obviously not as popular.’ ‘People don’t like what I’m putting up.’ ‘Everyone is racing ahead of me!’ Why did this picture not get many likes? Do people think I’m full of it putting that one up?’ ‘What if this doesn’t work?’ ‘What if I fail?’ Oh my GOD! Breathe, woman! Sometimes yoga – yes YOGA – stresses me out!

Staying true to its magical self, the universe once again blew my mind and delivered me a huge helping hand the following morning, first class via my daily affirmation calendar:

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Clearly, I needed to take my own advice. After having a little logic stamped back into my overloaded brain, I reassessed. Here’s what I reminded myself of:

  • Life is not a competition or a race. In fact, I’d rather stay clear of the finish line for as long as I can.
  • My intention. I’m here to help others become healthier, happier versions of themselves, from the inside out, and if people like what I have to offer, then I am spreading good vibes, contributing positivity to the ripple effect and helping to shift the world in the right direction. And if there are others doing the same, well, even better!
  • What we see in others, we already have in ourselves. What we do to help others, helps us too. Our external world is a reflection of our internal world, so if it’s beautiful out there, it’s beautiful inside. Life is just one big old mirror!
  • We’re all connected in this giant field of energy. There’s just no point in comparing. Sing it – we’re all in this together!

As a result of putting myself in a better vibration and letting my shit go, my class that evening really couldn’t have gone any better. There we were, upside down, inside out, and letting go… A group of people who were different but the same, holding on but with a loosening grip, some disconnected but reconnecting.

Why do we hold on to things that don’t serve us? Guilt, resentment, pain, denial, anger… All of these toxic emotions that invade and pollute our naturally functioning systems. By holding on, we don’t allow ourselves permission to move forward. It’s as if we feel that by letting go, something worse might happen. To let go is to lose control. But maybe that isn’t such a bad thing. Life will happen anyway, and probably in a way that we prefer. You know the saying ‘go with the flow’? Yeah, exactly that. Be fluid, be water, let go and go with the FLOW. Why struggle to paddle upstream when you can release the oars and float peacefully downstream?

For me, it all comes back to trusting our deep inner selves to know the way. We breathe thousands of breaths a day, without ever stopping to question whether the next one will begin as the last one stops. Our bodies and our souls hold infinite intelligence that we, as a society, neglect to acknowledge. Instead, the mind seems to steal the top trump card. Our body and our soul are always on our side, but the mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy. In losing our minds, maybe we can finally come to our senses. To let go is to let in. To let go is to return home to our true selves.

I’m not saying I’m completely free of resistance – far from it. There are things I still hold on to… Some things I haven’t figured out how to let go of, or even if I want to. I’m still working on that one. I believe some difficult emotions are there for a time to teach us lessons or help us grow, and we’ll know when the time is right to release them. I think it’s all about learning to listen deeper than your thoughts and feel your way forward.

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If you resonate with any of the above, please feel free to join me for Sunset Riverside Flow yoga, which is back on again tomorrow (Wednesday) evening, 8-9pm in Battersea. Same place, same time, every week. Book on via this link: https://goteamup.com/p/710865-holly-lois-inside-out/ If it’s your first class, use discount code TASTER5 to receive half off (£5). I’ll also be at Trinity Gardens Square in Brixton on Thursdays, 7-8pm, Clapham Common on Saturdays, 10:45-11:45am, and Clapham Common again on Mondays, 7-8pm. See my website for exact locations and other info: https://hollyloisinsideout.com/class-schedule/

One rule: Don’t come and tell me you’re rubbish at the start because 1) you’re not and 2) you’re not. Let that shit go, just come and flow.

To conclude, I leave you with a little poem I shared with my students at the end of my classes last week:

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Peace and love,

Holly x

Let’s Talk Anxiety

Being self-employed suits me. But it does mean I have to generate a huge dosage of self motivation. When you’re employed, you generally do sort of have to get out of bed and go to work five out of seven mornings in a row. When you employ yourself, I don’t know about anyone else but for me, there’s often an internal struggle that takes place about 7:30am, which sounds a bit like a chipmunk princess in your ear singing ‘Disney duvet day?’ Five days out of seven I manage to knock that furry bitch down.

Some of those days, I want to take over the world. On others, I really can’t be bothered. With anything. What is the deal with female hormones? I can literally go from jumping out of bed one morning smiling from the inside out, with beaming intentions of productivity and creativity, and then before I’ve even put my hand on the bathroom door I feel like my life is over and that I might as well just give up now. Bit dramatic. But I am a girl and that is allowed.

Well, it’s definitely an improvement on a few months ago, when even getting out of bed to go to the bathroom was mission impossible. I couldn’t put it down to hormones then. On the whole, I consider myself seriously lucky to have been wired up from birth to be a Positive Polly – the settings switch in my brain in the end always somehow pings back to ‘Default: Happy’. But I haven’t totally escaped it. That thing that’s pervading more and more of society these days. The A word. (Not arsehole.) ANXIETY. And anxiety is such an arsehole. So I’m going to bring it to the front here, because once you face an arsehole head on, it’s possible to see that perhaps you haven’t quite been standing at the best angle.

So let’s talk about it. Feels nice to know we can all just be one giant mess together, right?!

I’m not an expert in this field by any means, and I can’t claim to be a long-term sufferer of anxiety. But what I did experience intermittently over a period of a few months is this: a feeling of dread churning at the pit of my stomach. Clammy hands. Inner trembles. Voices saying ‘you’re not good enough for that – who do you think you are?! She does it so much better than you! Might as well just quit now!’ Shortness of breath. Lack of drive. PANIC PANIC PANIC. I’m pretty confident that everyone reading this has experienced it on some scale. Perhaps some of you on a regular basis. When waking up every single morning with a dark cloud over your head is the norm… Well, it’s not the best is it? No one should have to live like that.

Hands up if you’re fine? (Reeeeeally?) Who actually ever means they’re fine when they say they’re fine? The word ‘fine’ is like secret code word for ‘well I feel like shit actually!’, but we all say we’re fine, because on some level we feel like we should just be getting on with it. Thankfully, it does seem that society is slowly becoming more and more sensitive to and aware of mental illness, the stigma is finally dissolving, and people are seeing that it’s okay to not be okay all the time. Actually, I reckon the more acceptable it is to not be okay, the more okay we all will be.

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Anxiety can hold you a prisoner inside your own mind. For me, I felt as though someone else had been held prisoner inside my mind; as if voices, thoughts and feelings were trapped within the confines of my mental walls that didn’t belong to me. I needed to find a way to get back to me. Getting motivated to do anything was like trying to push a car up a hill. But rather than waiting for motivation to kick in, I found that you just gotta find a way to kick-start it yourself – make one small achievable change – put the key in the engine and feel those wheels start to roll, baby.

I’m not saying that every case is the same, or that this is a ‘one-size fits all’ cure. But below are five things that, practiced regularly, personally changed my life, and still are, in some pretty special ways. These things have shifted my perspective, instilled a decent amount of inner peace and conjured up an instinctive knowing that everything is going to be okay. It might not be any new information for some of you. I’m not going for a particularly creative angle here – sometimes the simple things are the most effective. And if it’s stuff that’s been repeated over and over again, well maybe that’s for a reason… I mean it might actually work! Here we go:

1) Yoga. The obvious one, given that I teach yoga and bang on about it a fair amount. At first, I didn’t understand how yoga could change anyone’s life. How can trembling awkwardly in a headstand bloody well calm my nervous system and positively affect my state of being? The more regularly you practice, committing to presence and tuning in to yourself, the more good little changes will creep up on you. Apparently, sometimes you just gotta get upside down to see straight. So find a class you like (there are so many different styles, but ultimately the goal is the same), and give yourself the time to just be with you. Put yourself at the top of your to-do list.

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2) Meditation. People make the mistake of thinking that yoga is just a physical practice. The physical practice is only a small part of a much bigger picture, which acts to prepare our bodies for what’s to come – the union of the mind, body and soul, the connection to our true selves. Yoga is effectively a moving mediation. I also like to spend fifteen minutes a day completely still in meditation. Meditation has been scientifically proven to not only physically change the shape of our brains, but to mentally mould us into happier beings, reducing anxiety, connecting us to our souls that hide beneath our intrusive egos, awakening our intuition, and so much more. The benefits are actually quite unbelievable. In a world where everyone tries to shout over one another to be heard, meditation, I believe, helps us to see that silence often speaks louder than noise.

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3) Gratitude. Make a mental list of all the things you are grateful for. This is a powerful exercise, especially when you’re finding it really hard to get out of the ‘FMLiiiiiiiife!’ mindset. The Universe loves gratitude. When we’re grateful, we’re given more things to be grateful for – it’s all part of the Universal law of what you put out, you get back. Gratitude can change your perspective pretty quickly. Spend 5-10 minutes on the train or walking to work or wherever suits you – but don’t just say the words as if it’s a chore; make the effort to really feel the gratitude if you want to feel the effects. It’s all about the feelings.

4) Get outside. Being immersed in nature raises our vibration, ie makes us naturally happier. That’s because when we’re close to nature we’re closer to truth. Every morning for about six months I went for a walk to my local woods. I would just stand amongst the trees and consciously breathe, watching them watching me, connecting to something that felt bigger than me, surrendering and allowing myself to be happy ‘right here, right now, knowing that this is exactly where I need to be’. Yes, I’m a weirdo who loves all the trees. Works for me.

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5) Positive audios. This is the first thing I do every morning for 20-30 minutes while I’m snoozing. It could be anything from motivational speaker Tony Robbins, to my personal hero, Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Les Brown… Anything that’s going to fill my subconscious with positive messages. I guess I see it the same way as eating a decent breakfast: I start the day off right feeding my body with some organic porridge oats, almond milk, nuts and banana, which sets me up for the day and keeps me feeling full, healthy and satisfied. If I ate fried eggs and bacon I would feel sluggish, unfocused, and a bit gross to be honest. Positive audios are my mind porridge. The news headlines, on the other hand, equals a fried (eggs and bacon) mind. Feed your subconscious with daily morning positivity, and feel the changes over the next few months.

See the above as natural pills. They might not ‘solve’ any real deep-rooted problems you might have – that might take some further digging – but they will certainly help to improve your life, whoever you are. The changes you will experience will be subtle at first. It’s about perseverance, faith and commitment. If you can’t tackle them all at once, perhaps just try one thing at a time and then introduce another when you’re ready. They work for me, but it’s all about finding things that feel right to you. I’m not here to give anyone any answers – you already have all the answers inside you. These are just ways of helping you access them, unlock some doors, blow away some brain fog.

I still definitely have off days! But I feel well-equipped to deal with life and my feelings now. I’m mostly calm and at peace – I trust that I’m being taken care of, and I trust myself, because I’ve worked to connect with and meet my real Self. I’m learning to release the ‘ego-talk’, knowing that it’s not really me. And I’m not the only Positive Polly in the world – every single one of us is. Our natural state is joy, believe it or not. It’s just about finding ways to get back there.

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If you’d like to start, or continue your journey with me combining most of the above ‘happy pills’, I am running outdoor yoga sessions over the summer from next Monday 6th June in southwest London, starting on Clapham Common! I’m really excited to have been asked to be a part of the charity ‘Happy Space’, which focuses on bringing awareness to mental illness, specifically anxiety and depression, so in the act of giving, your first class for the first week will be half price at £5, with £2 of each fiver going to Happy Space charity. To register and book on, click here, using the discount code FIVER. I’ll also be running Happy Space’s first fitness fundraiser on Saturday 9th July from 12:30-4:30pm at the Coffee Co Cafe in Clapham Common; a fun afternoon consisting of Zumba, Barre, Yoga, a positive mindset workshop and a guided meditation. Tickets are limited, so get yours here before they go!

I hope you’ll join me on my mission to make the world a happier, healthier place, from the inside out.

Have a great week x

Chill, You’re Already Perfect

Have you ever looked at a snowflake? I mean, really looked at one? Have you ever stopped to think how something that falls from the sky could be formed with such perfection? Ok I sound like I’m about to break into a Disney song. Which definitely did happen in the mountains of Austria last week. I was skiing, I was surrounded by snow, I had a blonde side plait (totally unplanned, honest) – let’s face it, I was Queen Elsa from Frozen. Singing ‘Let It Go’ was not optional in that moment, and I was really trying not to let the cold bother me anyway. In all seriousness though, the snowflake situation got me thinking. That tiny flawlessly formed creation started me questioning life, and if this thing we’re all in together is actually just one giant snowflake – perfectly designed, perfectly created, all imperfectly perfect without us even realising. I know – deep as snow.

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Totally unplanned.

 

In the car on the way to the airport at the end of the short but incredible trip, I’d started feeling pangs of anxiety about leaving and going ‘back to reality’, as we like to say. I started thinking about the things I needed to do, the people I needed to please, the desserts I needed to stay very far away from after all the Apfle Strudels ja, oh the apple strudels… I could feel myself heading down that slippery slope of self-depricating mind gabble. It happened again after teaching my third ever yoga class the other night – I noticed everything that went wrong and nothing that went right, and started beating myself up about it on my drive home. I had to force myself to stop, told my ego-in-training to shut the hell up and tuned right into Soul FM. The best frequency there is, the station of silence. The place where the real you resides – in stillness, not noise; inside, not out.

It does feel like we’re in an age where we’re living outside ourselves, all striving for this flawed concept of perfection. We’ve been conditioned throughout our lives to feel like we’re never quite good enough, that we should be earning this much by then and have 2.36 kids by the time we’re blah blah blah… I think we all feel like we’re in some warped version of Big Brother with a secret camera on us all, individually scrutinising us to be more, be better… ‘They’ say this, ‘they’ say that. Enter Nikki Grahame. Who ARE THEY? So much of the time we’re making choices based on what we think ‘they’ will be most pleased with, or what will look best on paper. The value of people seems to correlate with their bank balance. It’s backward. It’s outside in. Who are we living our lives for? What if we’re all already perfect the way we are? And even when we fall, fail, go a little off-piste in life… Could it all be part of a grander design to help us move along our paths? Science has proven we’re all formed of the same stuff, the same matter, the very same particles of energy as what the entire universe is made of! (Don’t know about you but that totally blows my mind.) So if nature falls perfectly, why wouldn’t we? The rain falls so the plants can grow. Our perceived ‘failures’, I believe, are helping us to do just that – grow, towards the light that we’re all reaching for.

What I’m trying to get at in this short and sweet blog is, it’s all about the way we look at life. We can go on beating ourselves up about how many Skittles we ate or how much money we drank through last weekend, or we can choose to see the hailstones as snowflakes, our imperfections perfectly. The good, the bad and the ugly; it’s all necessary, and we’re all going to be okay, because everything is happening the way it’s meant to. I’m not saying to just sit and wait for things to happen – keep going, stay true to yourself, and have faith that life’s got your back. It’s helping us to win, even if we do trip over a few times before the finish line. To be honest, I’ve probably read this post over a hundred times now trying to make it perfect but it’s nowhere near, it might not even make sense, so I’m just going to stop here and choose to trust that it’s just another small jagged piece of the whole perfect puzzle.

Have a wonderful week, and try tasting the raindrops like you taste the rainbow 😉 x