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.

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Part One: Manufacturing Time

Part Two: Practical Tips to Manufacture Time

Part Three: Manufacturing Time vs Maintaining Control