Adults Blog Life Skills Skills for life

How Stretching Can Help

Do you have a window? If so, get stretching!

Before we begin, do you have a window to stretch? Yes a window and I don’t mean a ‘window in your diary’ by the way! I wonder have you had the chance to soak up the sun today or felt the breeze on your face ? I know it can be hard to work outside with laptops, and YES there is just so much TO DO! But did you try opening the window? I have found I can position myself so that I get the benefits of a breeze and sunbath and yet I can still see my screen. How could that work for you? I’d love to see YOUR windows into your world. Perhaps you have young ones to get ready for the day and you can brush their hair outside or have your breakfast there. Not only will you feel refreshed by this ‘sun and breeze bath’ but you will sleep better too. We are fundamentally animals after all and need to synchronize our systems with nature’s rhythms. The rain refreshes too and by the way, can you hear some birds today? 

So if you do have a window, and are lucky enough to have all your senses, use all that you have to help you to slow down. Is there a breeze, a smell,  a taste, some sounds, the feel of your clothes on your body, the beat of your heart, the movement of your breath? Perhaps you notice holding in your neck or back. Make this a game if you like and give yourself a ‘speeding ticket’ when you find yourself nearly tripping up trying to do everything at once! If you are a parent with a young family there is nothing more important than slowing down and seeing our little ones and those we love as though for the first time. 

So what about stretching?

When we feel compressed and tight it impacts every part of us and it may not be until we start to stretch that we notice underlying restrictions. Do you have A window to stretch and  remember? When I say stretch nowadays I often get asked what exercise when, which app, which guru? We have gotten so used to looking out there at the latest exercise guru or yoga video that we have forgotten the simplicity of listening to our body and stretching and moving in ways that refresh and revive. For inspir-ation, ( key word!), we can look to the elements and even to our pets. Which stretches help you breathe deeper and easier, enhancing your circulation and joy? 

Did you know?

We have been moving and folding and giving shape to ourselves from our very beginnings in utero. Did you know that at 4 weeks gestation the beginnings of our heart is actually forming on our face? It is through a gesture of folding and stretching over that ‘our primal face’ makes contact with the area that becomes our heart.  Yes, that is right our heart begins to form on our faces first! In other blogs, I will write more about  how our cranial nerves innervate our face and neck as that helps to explain why babies long to gaze at our faces and nearly demand  us to connect! 

And So

So back to this primal stretching or enfolding gesture. This movement actually causes our heart to begin beating.  In Craniosacral language we speak about the ignition of the heart. Our heart is the first organ of the body to form and it all starts with a folding and a stretching. So next time  you take a bow, a salute, a stretch at your window see how it feels. Can you engage your heart a little more? What happens if you drop the push, the doing and  use your senses instead? As you slow down ‘re-member’ your original nature, your body,  your inner stretching.  Know  that each one of us stretched and folded and shaped ourselves. Take yourself to that moment right now with the simplest of stretches, with a breath at a window!

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Adults Blog Life Skills Skills for life

Saying No


When we are exhausted our whole body feels like it wants to shout NO! We get tight and irritable. We might want to shut down and shut out the world. Sometimes saying no is saying yes to yourself! A yes that could simply mean yes to extra rest, to an extra breath or  yes to music as you wash the dishes. Breaking the patterns initiates change. Every cell will benefit from YES. You could even coax your YES into a smile! You don’t have to smile at anyone, you can even imagine a smile and it will begin the  re-set. How about imagining this smile floating down your spine and landing somewhere in your pelvis? We get so used to driving ourselves and pushing ourselves beyond exhaustion.  See what happens when you smile? 

Catch yourself in the middle of your habitual muddle if you can and let it  bring a new perspective and perhaps more self-compassion. The needs of others easily becomes a priority for caring types so lets use that perspective to our advantage and do what we do for others as well as ourselves. Use it as a motivator as ultimately wouldn’t we just love to live in a world where each one of us matters.

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Adults Blog Life Skills Skills for life

Manufacturing Time vs Maintaining Control


Overwhelm? “Isn’t that something we should be able to control with our mind? Surely we should be able to override stressful feelings and maintain control at all costs. Stress is seen as a weakness that strong humans do not and WILL NOT succumb to. Getting on with things was my father’s central philosophy. Unfortunately for him and countless others, his approach contributed to his untimely death. 

Busy bees keep pushing themselves through tasks and overriding natural inclinations to rest. When faced with piles of work, some of us find ourselves loading even more tasks on our shoulders! When planning for a trip for example, do you sometimes feel as though everything has to done NOW and then a bit more?! Challenging ourselves and setting some deadlines is vital for our overall well being and personal satisfaction, but there is an edge to everything.  

So what do we mean by ‘mind’ anyway? In our Western culture we have been told that we are our brains in some ways. We think therefore we are! We have been told a story that our brain reigns supreme over our bodies, protecting us from our less predictable emotional and ‘instinctual’ natures’. Our mind is often compared to a computer that can be programmed. This idea of being able to programme or control our mind is appealing. Having a mind like a captain of a ship has lead to all sorts of common phrases in our culture. Author and International Embodiment practitioner Phillip Shepherd, who I have had the privilege of meeting,  writes of how we speak of the head of organizations and how import it is to get ahead or get to the top! 

Our understanding of what our mind is and who we are is a cultural thing. In Tibetan culture they speak of heartmind and the idea of the all important ‘brain’ doesnt feature. Remarkably this ancient way of understanding our nature has now been backed up by science. Researchers from The Heartmath institute demonstrate that there are more messages coming from our body, heart and gut to our brains  than from our brains to our hearts! It seems after all that it is not our brains but our hearts that are the the guiding captains. So if our posture is slumped, breathing is shallow and our digestion is tight, our brain will release stressful hormonal messages. Messages of lack, fear or anxiety are commonly triggered. So in simple terms this means that physical ailments like tension pains in our digestive system can be partly triggered by our emotional states. Complementary medical practitioners have called these tensions conflicts of the ‘heartmind’. 

So the next time that you find yourself grimming holding on to old habits of control at all costs, remember your intelligent heart.


Part One: Manufacturing Time

Part Two: Practical Tips to Manufacture Time

Part Three: Manufacturing Time vs Maintaining Control

Adults Blog Life Skills Skills for life

Manufacturing Time: Practical Tips


What to do when you feel overwhelmed?

  • See can you welcome your breath into your belly.

( Notice any resistance or irritation and do it anyway, some of us just hate to be told what to do!)

  • Welcome your breath into your belly 

(Again dont push away the judgements the ‘this wont work’ thoughts, they are all old habits)

  • Take another breath

(More thoughts might come, more pings and beeps and to do thoughts… Welcome them like a pesky child and rather than shunting them away, create space with another breath and tell them you will be with them in a moment.)

  • How is your body?  Are you are feeling speedy or tight? 
  • How is your facial expression? Around your eyes your mouth?
  • How is lower back and your jaw?
  • Before the comparison thoughts or floods of inadequacy arise, remember to shower yourself with  kindness.  YOU have never done ‘THIS moment’ before and these old taunting self critical comments aren’t YOU at all. 
  • Let any sense you may have of your body show you that you have CHOICES.
  • Right in the moment YOU HAVE LOADS OF CHOICES.
  • Ask yourself: Where did I learn that pushing myself to exhaustion was the only option and did others teach me this approach?
  • Where did I learn that seeking help was admitting defeat, lazy or somehow wrong and that I must ALWAYS put the needs of others in front of my own?
  • Where did my unique set of SHOULDs come from? Or the notion that parenting, work or life is hard work? 

YOU have just manufactured time amidst the whirlwind of a thousand things! Nature and pets are a great way to step off the treadmill too. In any moment we can ask ourselves what is the most compassionate, joyful or even humorous action I can take now, one that benefits me as well as those around me. 

For those that like the SCIENCE, there is a lot of research that confirms that deepening our breath, slowing down, singing, plunging into cold water and other feel good activities directly benefit the vagus nerve that is a key part of  our nervous system.


Part One: Manufacturing Time

Part Two: Practical Tips to Manufacture Time

Part Three: Manufacturing Time vs Maintaining Control

Adults Blog Skills for life

How to Manufacture Time

What to do when you are feeling overwhelmed? When we are feeling overwhelmed don’t we long to get out of the rut of time altogether? As humans, we aren’t built for a switched on lifestyle, endless bleeps, pings and deadlines. How would it be if we could actually manufacture time?

You may be in your office or in the middle of getting supper for the children and  the idea of manufacturing time may seem ridiculous. You tell yourself  you just need to push through and then there will be a few moments for yourself…On and on we go with this delusion.

So how about it… Just for a moment, right now as you read this, as though Tinker Bell has arrived at your window,  Step out of time and let’s Step into nature.

John O’ Donoghue’s  poetry draws us back to our hearts and our connection with nature: 

“When the mind is festering with trouble or the heart torn, we can find healing among the silence of mountains or fields, or listen to the simple, steadying rhythm of waves. The slowness and stillness gradually takes us over. Our breathing deepens and our hearts calm. This invitation to friendship with nature does of course entail a willingness to be alone out there. Yet this aloneness is anything but lonely. Solitude gradually clarifies the heart until a true tranquility is reached. The irony is that at the heart of that aloneness you feel intimately connected with the world. Indeed, the beauty of nature is often the wisest balm for it gently relieves and releases the caged mind.”

– John O’Donohue

(from Beauty: The Invisible Embrace)

Of course we have heard it all before. We may live far from the countryside, with long working hours, a huge commute and the idea of slowing down and ‘manufacturing time’  seems irritating, impossible, ridiculous or even scary.   

We all have times when it feels as though there is NO time. A demanding job, the children, the kitchen sink, a partner working away, being a taxi service to teenagers? Yes you are right, stepping out of time and creating a ‘friendship with nature’ is a monumental ask!

Hauling ourselves back to a more centred way of living will look different for each one of us. I am not saying it is easy. We all have our habits of pushing ourselves to the point of exhaustion. Trying to DO it all! Hands up Mumas that have found themselves preparing an elaborate meal for the family when they are ‘beyond’ exhausted! 

Creating a friendship with nature may be as hard as opening up to help of any kind. We barricade ourselves in with thoughts that we “should be able to do all this alone.”  Looking up from our tasks or seeking help may seem like a defeat. Yet our whole nervous system is wired to come into balance in relation to others.  

It is a huge step in itself to come for a Craniosacral session.  Our bodies are an expression of our mind and  clients often come to me feeling compressed and tight in their bodies. Over a series of sessions we discover unique ways for you to manufacture time and support your whole system to unwind.

Learn More


Part One: Manufacturing Time

Part Two: Practical Tips to Manufacture Time

Part Three: Manufacturing Time vs Maintaining Control

Adults Blog

Healing the Mother Wound

For some of us it takes a lifetime to come to terms with our very first relationship. Our feelings about our mother can hold the key to our life outlook and habitual feelings. Through no fault of their own our mothers may not have been able to connect with us in a way that we needed. 

Fraught with confusion, this relationship may feel tense, distant,  dutious, angry, needy, or as though WE had to take care of THEM  from very early on. Or perhaps you are one of the lucky ones who managed to mature alongside your mother with mutual respect and kindness. I include my mother Geraldine’s  picture here as her ancestry  is the reason why I HAD to come to Ireland.   In time I want to share the story of how her death was the final jolt that urged me to return to therapeutic work.

Adults Blog

( I can’t get no..) Satisfaction

Reaching a state of satisfaction and wholeness for us as human beings is no small thing. The Buddha reminds us that it is part of the nature of being alive to experience life as too hot, too cold, too full or too empty. Whether we are talking about a work schedule, a social calendar or our bellies, or even our metaphorical glass, finding that sweet spot where we can be powerfully present and yet able to rest in relation to ourselves and others, is a moment by moment aspiration for each one of us.

Seeing the value of coaching or some personal therapy is becoming widely recognized. We develop in relationship to our caregivers from our earliest beginnings. Although ‘society’ may tell us that doing it all alone and being super independent is the ideal, it is clear, especially in these times of Covid, that none of us are designed for social isolation. We need and deserve reflection, validation and compassionate connection. In order to thrive I believe we need to give as well as to receive. In that process of offering something of ourselves to others we feel restored and satisfied. Contact me to arrange a free call. The Craniosacral work that I offer both online and in person, is body centred and supports the core of our nervous system. Life can be fragmenting in a million ways; when we return to a calm relational state with another heartfelt human being we can relax, rest and recalibrate and find our own impulse towards a multitude of personal goals #covid19support #therapy #mindfulleadership #anxietyrelief #beingthebestyou#

Adults Blog

Helping women re discover their stillness and authentic spark

As we approach International Women’s Day closely followed by Mother’s day itself, I wanted to reach out to all those that may have been alarmed by the preliminary reports of stillbirths and some rare complications being associated with Covid 19.

Although these complications are extremely rare, this news may disturb us all whether we are pregnant or not. The impact on our most vulnerable population, I am including unborn children here as well as their parents, is not to be underestimated.

It is hard enough for mothers planning to give birth during a pandemic without unconfirmed information adding to their stress. 

In his book Pre Parenting ; Nuturing your child from Conception, Dr Thomas Verny writes “ human emotion and the sense of self originates not in the first years after birth but significantly earlier – in the womb. .. the journey down the birth canal to afternoons in the park, a child will register every experience in the circuitry of his or her brain.”

Parents are the baby’s extended nervous system. Neuroscience demonstrates that co-regulation begins at a cellular level from conception. Mums are a babies first environment.

Filtering or not filtering news will be a heated debate for another day and another forum. Right now as a community we all have a role to support and nurture our pregnant mothers. Whether we are well meaning work colleagues, grand-mothers or care professionals our presence and attitude can make a positive difference.

What can we do about it? 

* Normalise news ..focussing on facts rather than drama

* Fear begets fear. Parents to be need our positive support orientating to positive outcomes.

*Slow down and listen with an empathetic heart to mums to be. Wild often unfounded fears are a natural part of pregnancy. Don’t add to them.

* Research has shown that talking to our babies in Utero, taking moments to bond pre-birth and doing all we can to calm and settle ourselves as parents has multiple future benefits.

* Mums should be encouraged to seek out support, to connect with other mums and friends.

*Being in nature, walking, breathing, stretching and moving will help each one of us counterbalance stress.

March is the month when APPPAH ( Association for prenatal and perinatal psychology and health) is hosting a summit on the science of prenatal bonding . 

Here are links to a recent article ECHO

I work as a Craniosacral practitioner with parents both pre and post-natally to create an environment of physiological and emotional calm. I also offer a free weekly online zoom call for mums to be and new mums called Mothering YOU.

Adults Blog

How Craniosacral therapy helps settle nervous systems

How Craniosacral therapy helps settle nervous systems.

With anxiety, depression and stress on the climb, have you ever wondered how you can better manage your reactions to life’s challenges and stressors? With awareness we can track our emotional roller coaster states and become more effective, mindful, and joyful during the day. Learning to map our nervous system has a positive long-term impact on our overall health .

Our nervous system forms as early as three weeks in Utero. It is a highly tuned sensory system that is designed to check for safety. We literally download our mother’s nervous system and continue to be influenced by the whole family environment in our formative years. If our mother was highly strung for example and didn’t have enough support, we may have a ‘short fuse’ as well.

As we notice our states, it is vital to be compassionate with ourselves. None of this is our or even our parents fault, we have all come with our own unique challenges and circumstances.

Looking more closely at the autonomic nervous system, most of us learned in biology about our “fight or flight” and “rest and digest” responses. In 1994 however, Dr. Stephen Porges, discovered that although some aspects of the nervous system are instinctual and ‘automatic’, there are other aspects that we can influence and learn to accentuate. Most critically he points out that we can settle and soothe our nervous system best in pairs. We are social beings and are literally wired to connect. When we are with a person who is stable and calm it will be much easier for us to relax as well. This is one of many reasons why the Craniosacral approach that I offer is so effective.

Dr Porges discovered that our vagus nerve, referred to as the wandering nerve in Latin, is one of the longest nerves and is a cranial nerve that originates in the brainstem. It innervates the muscles of the throat, circulation, respiration, digestion and elimination. During Craniosacral treatments I often make contact with areas that relate to the vagus nerve as it is the major constituent of the parasympathetic, ( rest and digest), nervous system. Over 80 percent of it’s nerve fibres are sensory, relaying changes about the internal and external environment to the brain. This feedback is critical for the body’s homeostasis. Craniosacral work is safe and reassuring for the nervous system. When offered by a calm practitioner, the clients system will melt and settle into a peaceful state.

How do these states feel in our body?

We can view our three nervous system as a ladder with three sections. Top middle and bottom. When we are in locked in a stressed or potentially anxious state, we loose or capacity to be curious and empathetic. We are like a rabbit in the headlights and are not able to regulate our attention and focus.

First, in the middle, our “fight and flight” response is our survival strategy, a response from the sympathetic nervous system. If you were going to run from tiger, for example, you would want this response to save your life. A fight response can be prompted by a sudden sound, an unexpected pressure or demand of some kind. It can stimulate anger, rage, irritation, and frustration. During a flight response, we experience anxiety, worry, fear, panic and a feeling of literally wanting to get out of a place. NOW! . Physiologically, our blood pressure, heart rate, and adrenaline may increase and our pain threshold and capacity to digest will decrease.

At the bottom of the ladder, (or at the top of our image), we have our most primitive pattern, a “ Shut down or freeze” state, which is called the dorsal vagal state. Like an animal ‘playing dead’ after a shock, we have gone into overload and our system has temporarily shut down. We can feel hopeless and believe that there’s no way out. We may feel depressed, conserve energy, dissociate, feel overwhelmed, and as though we can’t move forward. Physiologically, our fuel storage and insulin activity increases and our pain thresholds increase. Some of may overeat, drink, or do something to excess to pacify ourselves.

Lastly, our “rest and digest” is a response of the parasympathetic system, also known as a ventral vagal state. It is our state of safety and homeostasis. If we are in our ventral vagal state, we are grounded, mindful, joyful, curious, empathetic, and compassionate. This is the state of social engagement, where we are connected to ourselves and the world. Physiologically, digestion, resistance to infection, circulation, immune responses, and our ability to connect is improved.

As humans, we naturally shift through all the states. We may be in a positive state and then all of a sudden, due to a trigger, be in a frustrated or angry state, worried about what may happen next. Shocking news could swing us into complete overwhelm.

When we find ourselves lingering in fight or flight or the shut down/freeze state, that is when we begin to have significant physiological and mental/emotional effects. If we are consistently in shut down mode or the fight or flight state, we can have constant activation of our stress pathways also known as the HPA axis. ( Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis ), and we impact our stress hormones, sex hormones, our thyroid, etc. This stress will have significant inflammation effects on the body and overall health as well.

Like any good captain of a ship in a storm, it is helpful to have a map of the territory to guide ourselves towards calmer waters. Choosing situations that resource you and allow you to experience rest and relaxation, is fundamental for your health, effectiveness and happiness. No treatment intervention or professional help will be of benefit until your system feels safe and well from the inside out.

Mapping your nervous system? Get a pen and make a few notes and think of one word that defines each one of these states for you. For example, if you are in your Ventral vagal state, the rest and digest state, you could say that you feel happy, content, joyful. Etc. When you are in your fight or flight state you could use the words worried, stressed, overwhelmed, etc. In the freeze/shut-down state you could use the words numb, hopeless, etc.

Identifying the word that YOU correlate with each of those three states is vital so that you’re able to recognize which state you are in, recognize how it feels and help yourself get out of it!

Identify your triggers and glimmers.

Over time you will notice what causes you stress and triggers your fight/flight and freeze states. A cutting letter from your boss, an argument with your spouse, a death of a loved one, or even if someone cuts you off while driving, etc. IT is helpful to make a note of these triggers for greater self-awareness..

Glimmers are the things that bring you to that optimal nervous system state. It could be something as simple as petting a dog, a soulful connection with a friend, eye-contact with a loved one or something bigger like going on a holiday.

Here is Deb Dana’s Worksheet to Map Your Nervous System.


Once you identify your unique experience of these stress states, you are on the way to taking ownership of what’s happening to your body, and moving back to a calmer mode. Ultimately, this is how we can begin to develop resilience. WE can respond appropriately to life’s challenges, go to that fight or flight state for a short period, and then return back to the more expansive state of social engagement. To truly enjoy life, returning to your state of safety where you are mindful, grounded, and joyful, is a practice. It can start with mapping your own nervous system.

At the core of this work is the understanding that humans regulate themselves better in groups and as pairs. That is one of many reasons why Craniosacral work is beneficial for lasting change. Do contact me to book a free call to discuss how I can help.

Sara Devoy has worked in the field of health for over thirty years and helps individuals and groups settle their nervous systems and recover their innate spark. Craniosacral therapy is a whole-hearted, approach to wellness that is used for physical and emotional conditions and as a health maintenance programme. Sara works internationally both on and offline. (00353) 87 – 2350900 ( Please text)

Sara Devoy MA  BCST

Adults Blog

What to expect at my craniosacral therapy session?

Craniosacral Therapy is an extremely gentle form of body therapy that aims to help you find a natural point of stillness and balance in your life.  Through deep listening and light touch of the cranium, spine and pelvic area, I tune into the rhythms and flows of your body.

You will be fully clothed on a massage table, so wear comfy clothes and socks.  You may notice heat, tingling, pulsation and other sensations. This is all perfectly normal.  Everyone’s experience is unique and represents a personal voyage of discovery.

Although it may take a series of sessions before your body can begin to feel the full benefits of the treatment, clients often speak of a renewed sense of  ‘aliveness, wellbeing and presence’ in their body.  Our bodies know how to heal and  health will emerge given the right conditions.

A session lasts for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

A  first session lasts for approx 1 hour and 15 minutes .A case history form can be sent  ahead of time if you would like to fill it in advance.