December 2019: On Challenges


Today, 7am, on 16 December 2019

On Challenges

I hope you had a marvellous Christmas. I had the best time in Egypt, plugged onto the sunshine, resting. As we approach the end of the year and the decade, many of us reflect on what we have done in the time period that closes and set goals for the future. We set and face challenges. I know some amazing people, dear and close to me, that seem to have a larger share than others and for the past few years they have been a constant source of inspiration and learning.

Setting and facing challenges is a real skill. How does one set the right challenge, one that is not a defeat from the moment we think about it and the timeline we give ourselves? How do we make what we do challenging enough, but also nurturing, fulfilling, rather than something that will deplete us or another problem added to our lives? How do we face the challenges thrown at us, where can we get strength from?

I have learned a few things about facing challenges from my yoga practice: if it presents itself to me, I can take it on, no matter how difficult I consider it to be. If I can contain it in my consciousness, it is smaller than me. Another important lesson has been that things take their time to resolve. We live in a hasty and impatient culture but nature always takes its time. It is important to respect this.

Yoga also has taught me about setting goals and challenges for myself. I listen to what is needed, rather than adopt an external idea. I rarely have more than one goal, and look at all the possible things I can do to address it. Before choosing the one thing I will actually do, I make sure I check what the reality of it is, otherwise, I will tend to be either too positive or too negative about it. Have I successfully managed similar challenges before? How? We all have what we need to set and face challenges. It is already within us.

Laura x




What I have been practicing

What I mentioned above about goal setting is called, in life coaching, the GROW model. Even though it starts with G for goal, this initial goal is more of a vision for me and going through the whole model usually refines the challenge I want to take on. What I like most about this system is how it asks non-leading questions. This way of relating to oneself has the potential to bring about real change.



What I have been reading

One of the best books about goal setting I have read has been Flow by psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (which I pronounce chick-zen-me-halee). He describes the mental state of flow as being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. In that state, the ego falls away. Some factors define an experience of flow. They can appear independently of each other, but only in combination do they constitute a flow experience.
  • Intense and focused concentration on the present moment
  • Merging of action and awareness
  • A loss of reflective self-consciousness
  • A sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity
  • A distortion of temporal experience, one’s subjective experience of time is altered
  • Experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding
  • Immediate feedback
  • Feeling the potential to succeed
  • Feeling so engrossed in the experience, that other needs become negligible

Does it sound like yoga practice? Of course it does, that’s why we go back to it regularly!

What is interesting about his concept is that for flow to appear, there needs to be a specific relation between challenge and skill. If it is too challenging for your skill, it will be frustrating and provoke anxiety; too little and it will be boring, provoke apathy. But when we get it right, it can be a source of happiness.



What I have been listening to

Scott Johnson, from Stillpoint Yoga in London, sends weekly inspiration emails with lovely links. He recently shared Flow State by Above and Beyond ft Elena Brower, a meditative, music piece that will put you in the right frame of mind to set your goals, accept the challenges thrown by life, and will delight you. That’s what is all about!




Awakening the body and breath, Rosina and Laura are joining forces to offer 3 mornings of practice to get you motivated and ready for all that 2020 has to offer. This will be a fabulous opportunity to get the new decade off to a great start with a special programme for all levels of experience. These sessions will also help with the over indulgence of festive activity. Treat yourself! There will be time for exploration, questions with a focus on encouraging individual learning and development. To complete the nourishing and nurturing programme coffee, tea, fruit and yoghurt will be offered each morning. Feel free to bring your own to add or share.

08.30 – 09.45 Pranayama
10.00 – 11.15 Breath and Asana
11.15 Coffee

08.30 – 09.45 Yoga Guided Practice
10.00 – 11.15 Breathing Bones
11.15 Coffee

08.30 – 09.45 Pranayama
10.00 – 11.15 Counted Practice
11.15 Coffee

Pranayama is a yoga technique to enhance, deepen and control the breath through simple preparations and exercises. The practice works at a physical, mental, emotional and energetic level nourishing them all.

Breath and Asana
In this session we explore the effects of breath in mind and body, as we move, slowly and mindfully, in and out of yoga poses. We will look at the principles of moving with the breath to arrive at a relaxed state in the practice, to allow us to reach stability and ease within mind, body and breath.

Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga Yoga is a dynamic and progressing sequence of postures linked by the breath. It requires regular practice to memorise the sequence, synchronise the breath and reap the benefits. It offer strength and flexibility, develops both physical and mental awareness, balancing the body and mind. This will be a guided practice.

Breathing Bones
Breathing Bones is a series of relaxed postures and placements of the body. Together with the breath and gravity these aim to free the joints, release the muscles, realign the skeletal structure and balance the body.

Early bird £80 before 14 December 2019
Full price £95

My friend and fellow yoga teacher Patricia Galavis is offering a wonderful 8 week meditation course at In The Moment in Glasgow, starting on the 21 January. She will explore topics such as stress, pain and anxiety and will give youth tools to balance, care for and nurture yourself. What a better Christmas present to yourself!





Monday Mornings  07.45 – 9.30
Tuesdays Evenings 18.25 – 20.30
Thursdays Mornings 07.45 – 9.30

Tuesday 28 January 17.00 – 18.15£11/£9 Arlington members, concession
Class card valid




YOGA for STAFF (sign up with HR)
Monday Lunchtime 13.00 – 14.00

YOGA for STUDENTS (check weekly email from RCS sport for room)
Wednesday Evening 18.00 – 19.00
Friday Lunchtime 13.00 – 14.00
£3/£10 for 4 classes