Making art - it's not as easy as it looks
It begins in the art store. I skulk in and choose the perfect canvas. I lay them all out and look at them. Some are square. Some are rectangular. After many minutes one of them speaks to me and I take it to the counter. Maybe this is the one. Maybe this time the painting will be spectacular and what is in my mind will be expressed through my hands.
I park at the art studio.
The artists are hovering around their canvas and we mutter our greetings. Paint is being gathered as jars open.
The model arrives.
She is choreographed.
The music has four beats. I synchronise.
Everything is working out for me. The bells are chiming and angels are singing. Each morsel of paint is perfectly formed. The air is sweet and the canvas bounces softly beneath my brush. The colours are heaven sent, and the model is looking in the perfect direction.
Clouds gather and thunder rolls. The paint turns to shit and the canvas starts to squeak. The composition crumbles and walls fall around me. The pose is stiff and her hands are sausages. Her third eye grows and it looks like someone’s punched her in the jaw. I scream and shout in my mind but out loud I say sweetly ‘can you put your hands back to where they were?’
‘Let’s make tea’, someone cries.
Tea is poured. Biscuits are offered. I breathe deeply. ‘I can do this’ I tell myself. ‘I’ve done this before. I can do this.’
I press the paint off the brush. I replace her hand. I move her head. I breathe deeply. I dab paint. A little squeeze here and a tidy up there. Add colour. Take away colour. Add colour. Clean brush. Only 200 meters to go, I’ve got this, I can do this. Temperatures are rising and sirens start squawking. The gun has fired and the crowd is screaming. I push pull squeeze brush wipe scratch scrape remove replace focus. Sweat is streaming. Focus. The brush is flying wildly around the canvas. Paint that has never been made before gets made in a second. Holes are patched. Light is found. Shadows are darkened. 20 meters to go. I wipe my brow and get out a fresh brush, I spill the oil but I don’t care. There’s paint in my mouth I spit it out. 10 meters. I scream as I pull out every last breath and ounce of energy and brandish the brush into the canvas as I cross the finish line.
Exhausted. Onto to the nearest chair.
A colleague offers me a drink.
We breathe in the finishing dust of oil and hope to God when we return to the canvas it is our best piece.
But it’s okay.
It’s got merit.
We peruse each others work. That line, that line there, now that’s a beautiful line. ‘Come look at this line’. We umm and ahh over that beautiful line. ‘What about this colour?’ ohhh it’s beautiful.
We carry our paintings to our cars, homes and studios.
We head towards the sunset.
It’s been a good effort.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day. I think tomorrow will be the day I create that painting I can see in my mind.
In fact, I’m sure of it.
Fight Flight Fright - or Yoga
by Monica Batiste
When danger approaches, the stress response can save your life. Your heart rate will quicken, adrenaline will rise, and your muscles will pump. You will be ready to fight in one second!
Each of us learns how to respond to danger in our own way. For some, the stress response might be to fight, for others it’s to run away, and some people freeze in fear.
This is your survival strategy when facing danger, but what if there is no real danger, you just ‘think’ there is.
In false danger, you will respond the same as when facing authentic danger - but there will be no release. You aren’t going to fight your boss, run away from a client, or stop and hide, even if you want to.
When we learn to feel stress without release, we develop coping strategies. Eventually this stress can damage your body, and erode your joy for life.
This is not what the stress response was created for. So what to do? You can’t change other people, but you can change yourself.
First step is to find out what your stress response is. It’s important to know which is your habitual response to stress is so you will recognise it when it happens.
Recognising and releasing the stress response
When you notice your breath is shorter and your heart rate higher – your stress response is being triggered. You may notice your sense of awareness changes too – you might have a heightened sense of what is going around you if you switch on fight or flight, but if you switch on freeze – you may feel a dulling of your senses.
As soon as you notice the stress response– focus on deep breathing. Lowering your diaphragm to give more room to your breath, is your bodies signal that you are safe. Breathe deeply no matter what is going on around you. Relax your tummy and hips. Let go through the hip-flexors. Continue to breathe and become present by connecting to the earth, noticing the sky (even if it’s in your imagination) and visualising something peaceful. Clients won’t notice. The traffic won’t change. Your partner will keep talking, but you will be clearer.
For a simple guide to breathing; breathe in for six seconds, and breathe out for six seconds. During meditation breathe in for up to ten seconds, breathe out for up to ten seconds, and focus on letting go of each muscle and joint.
This technique is perfect for ‘regular’ stressors, but what if you have *Post Traumatic Stress? If you have PTS to any degree, you will need more tools. If you find this breath and becoming present doesn’t work for you, you may want to explore underlying issues. *EFT, NLP, ACT and other tools are easy to learn and can be used anytime, anywhere (go to the bathroom), Some counseling might help too. We live in the perfect time for healing options for all kinds of stress.
I have PTS, and have used all of the above options plus more. I find that this simple breathing technique always helps.
Yoga and meditation
Deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness, are all designed to switch off the stress response and open the brain, body, and heart to clarity and peace.
Yoga is the perfect place to practice your breath, for each posture requires deep breathing and mindfulness. Yoga includes various breathing techniques and includes a meditation.
Yoga also teaches you about yourself. You will discover what your stressors are, and how you are contributing. During postures you will notice when you switch on stress by what you say to yourself. For whatever you say on the mat – is what you say to yourself in life. ‘I can’t do this’ is an indication of your belief that ‘you can’t achieve.’ Change it to ‘I’m doing okay, I’m doing the best I can. I believe in me.’ This will help you let go of expectations and criticism. Letting go of expectations relaxes the muscles that are holding onto stress. Letting go of holding on lets go of the short breath. In yoga this means moving into the posture. In life this means moving into life.
When the posture is difficult, do you say to yourself ‘I’m no good at this?’ What about when people look? Do you decide what they are thinking? Is it criticism? Or do you self-criticise? What about judgment? Are you bagging anyone for who they are?
All these actions will indicate how you contribute to your stress.
In yoga you are encouraged to let go of expectations, of blame, of shame or comparisons. You are encouraged to love, honour and accept yourself, just as you are, right now. As you learn to accept the tightness here and the holding on there, you naturally let it go. When you let it go, you relax and move forward. Just like life.
Yoga also stretches tight muscles which stretches tight minds. It releases long held tension in the mind and body.
Going with the flow will support your breath, your body, your brain and your circumstances.
You don’t have to be a yogi, you don’t have to twist into knots. When you practice yoga if you can breathe and let go of expectations, then you are doing it. That’s all you need to do. Let go. You’ve got this. You can do this. You’re doing it now. accept. Breathe. Be mindful. Be here. It is okay. It’s going to be okay.
Ahhhhh. You’re doing it.
Post-traumatic stress. There is usually a D at the end to indicate ‘disorder,’ but I have dropped the D because I don’t want to think of myself as having a disorder. Just stress post the traumatic event. I can handle that.
For more information on PTS here is a good page
Emotional Freedom Technique. A wonderful technique that helps release stressors no matter how long they’ve been there. I invite you to download my book EFT for children (it helps big people too). My eBook retails at 9.95 but it is my gift to you, as I have been gifted all of these healing tools and am grateful.
Acceptance therapy. Here's a good website which offers some downloads and tools.
Neuro linguistic programming. Helping the brain find positive solutions.
I have recently begun using the Ajna light to retrain the brains sequences towards peace and having positive results. There is also a Neuro-light which I am yet to use – but know people using it and going ‘wow’ for the positive changes in their brain.
Thank you for taking the time to learn how to release stress. Every time you help you, you help the world. When the world sees you, the world moves forward. You’re doing a valuable thing. Never forget that. I see you.
It all starts with you
My 5 yr old grandson spilled his orange juice. He started to cry. I said to him, ‘Don’t worry, we will clean it up together, and get you another one’.
‘My drink is all gone’, he cried, getting a cloth.
‘It’s okay’, I said. ‘I will share mine with you’.
I took his empty cup and poured my orange juice into it. I said to him ‘I am being very generous by sharing my drink with you. Oma is so kind.’
He looked at me, looked at the drink in his hand, and held it up to me.
‘Would you like a sip?’ he offered.
‘Thank you so much for your generosity’, I said taking a sip.
He smiled and walked back to his chair.
Solomon, 3, watching, came to me with his orange juice. He held it up and said ‘Share? Sip?’
‘Yes please’, I said taking hold of his cup and sipping. ‘Thank you for your sharing and generosity.’
He smiled and did a little jump for joy as he took his drink back and sat down.
This may seem like a small and insignificant event, but it isn’t. Life is made up of these small events, and every time you create a positive experience out of a teachable moment, it builds emotional intelligence.
As a child, when I dropped things, my parents were quick to anger and to shame. They had both survived poverty and war. I understand that. They were scared by what had happened to them, and, like them, I felt ashamed of making mistakes. It was one of the many reasons I held back and tried to shrink. I didn’t like the feeling of being wrong. I didn’t like being laughed at or scolded. I didn’t know how to cope with those situations so I tried not to try or stand out at all.
Shaming behaviour to create change in children is an old paradigm.
Naming behaviour with a desire to grow self-esteem is the new paradigm.
Learning new skills, and growing respect occurs much faster through acknowledgement.
You cannot teach a child to be generous by holding back.
You cannot teach a child to be kind when you tease or shame.
You cannot show a child mercy by demonstrating harsh punishment.
The fastest and quickest way to grow self-esteem in your children is to grow it in yourself.
Looking into your own behaviour and finding the virtues each time you act will bring you self-esteem, self-awareness and a budding sense of happiness that automatically transcends to your family and colleagues.
One of the many questions I am asked at this point is ‘What about discipline?’ and ‘Wont praise go to their heads and cause them to be unrealistic about the world?’
Naming virtues increases a child’s ability to make healthier choices. It also helps children apologise and repair any hurt they have caused. Children grow into self-responsible people when they realise they have the power to make new choices.
It’s the feeling bad that causes them to run from mistakes in the first place. Everyone makes mistakes - even grown-ups. Even grown-ups with children. Even grown-ups that run countries and big corporations. The biggest tragedy is hiding mistakes and pretending they didn’t happen. The greatest gift you can teach someone is that mistakes are normal, and really, they are just part of life. Why do we even call them mistakes? Why not call them incidents. Incidents happen. Stuff happens. It's normal. It's okay. Let's make a new choice.
Incidents happen because we are growing and learning and it’s okay. Lets clean it up, let’s repair, let’s make up for it and let’s move on.
The other question of ‘wont they have big heads’ is a real concern. We’ve all seen those talent shows where the misguided singer goes on ‘because they are awesome’, and then come away 'angry that the judges didn’t agree.’
We don’t want our kids to be like that, so we keep it real ‘you’re a terrible singer, dancer, engineer, your not good enough; who do you think you are? Get your head out of the clouds,’ and on it goes.
The difference here is – you’re not praising for the sake of it -. You’re not gushing over everything - Your naming virtues.
That was kind (when they demonstrate kindness).
That was generous (when they demonstrate generosity).
I saw you make a new friend today, that took courage (or caring, or compassion – whatever the situation revealed).
You’re not saying ‘you’re the most generous person in the world, no one is as kind as you, that person is so lucky that you said hello to them.
You’re naming virtues.
I saw your friendliness.
That was a caring thing you did.
I appreciate your generosity, it made my day so much better.
Virtues are the small things that make big people.
Begin with yourself. Find your kindness, courage, compassion and acknowledge it within yourself. Be generous with yourself, give yourself the space and time you deserve. Be kind to yourself, eat healthy foods and say nice things in the mirror. Have the courage to ask for the things you want, and make the choices you know you need to. You are a worthy beautiful human who deserves joy and happiness. The moment you bring this gift to yourself, it shines out to the world and everyone benefits, especially your children.
I see you.
Artist, Author & Yoga Teacher
Monica is passionate about education and personal development, She has combined her love of painting and writing into children's books and yoga classes from the beautiful Redcliffe peninsula. Now in their 8th year of operation with regular classes and 7 published titles, Monica and her husband Andreas are moving towards their goals of living a life of purpose and supporting others to do the same.
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In 1945, two months before WW2 ended, my mothers’ home town of Dresden was destroyed. For three days it bombed and burned. My mother and grandmother hid in the underground shelters. When they emerged, their town was no more.
Mum escaped East Germany through an unpatrolled border, and became a dancer. She left Germany in her 20s, and sadly had to leave her young son behind.
She met my father in Singapore and they married 6 months later. After migrating to Australia, my mother started a new family and tried to leave it all behind.
I always wanted to know about my German roots. ‘please teach me German’ I would ask. ‘Please teach me to write to my Oma’ I also wrote letters to my lost brother, but they were always returned.
‘I can never go back’ my mother said.
I visited Dresden in 2010 on my belated honeymoon. It had been rebuilt and was beautiful. My mother’s flat was on a corner. The river ran warm at the end of the street, and the Fraunkirche chimed on the hour.
‘You must come’ I told her. ‘You must visit Dresden now it is re-built’.
It took us 2 years to convince her.
In 2012 my mother and her three Aussie children travelled to Germany. The highlight was reuniting with her son, and our brother Ralf, in Köln. It was the happiest I’ve ever seen my mum. He had become a professional musician and we met his lovely wife and their young daughter.
After meeting Ralf, we travelled to Dresden.
We arrived in the town square and the Fraunkirche bells chimed.
My mother hadn’t heard the church bells for 60 years.
We went to a local restaurant for dinner.
My mother wouldn’t put down her bag, and her posture was upright, as though she was waiting for something.
‘Relax’ I said to mum. ‘Look, they have dumplings and sauerkraut.’
‘Eat’ I say.
‘I’m not sure I’m hungry’ she says, hiding some of her dinner in a tissue, and placing it into the bag that sat on her elbow. ‘I think I will take this home for later.’
I speak to her in German. She speaks to me in English.
We arrive home in Australia 3 weeks later.
My mother puts down her bag, and takes off her shoes. The wall behind her displays an original drawing of the Fraunkirche.
She will never see Germany again.
She will never see Ralf again.
She will never again hear the church bells ring.
I decide to paint a portrait of my mother.
I am reusing an old canvas.
I originally did a painting of my daughter on this canvas, but it didn’t work out, so I painted over it with clouds. I was dealing with depression, and I wrote all the words I wanted to say.
I choose sepia as my palette.
I hide the words with my paint but some of them show through.
I find my mother in the darkness.
‘I am doing a painting of you’ I tell her.
‘From where?’ she asks.
I haven’t painted my mother for over 30 years. The last painting I did of her, she threw away. She didn't like to see herself. I am not going to show her this one. I know she won’t like it.
But I like it.
It’s my mother.
I am worried about what she will think.
‘It’s from Dresden, you know, in that restaurant where we had that enormous dinner.’
She smiles, but says nothing.
I am adding darker colours. My brush has loosened and I noticed it is angrily filling in spaces. I don’t know why my brush is angry. Is it angry over what happened in Dresden? Is it angry because a city full of refugees, woman and children were destroyed? Is it angry that my mother never got to realise her full potential? Is it angry because we never got to realise the fullness of our mother-daughter relationship?
I don’t know.
But the brush keeps painting.
The brush creates spaces and ignores edges.
The darkness lingers.
I saw her for dinner last week, at her retirement village.
It was happy hour at the restaurant. Her friends were singing around the piano as we arrived. They held up their wine and smiled as we passed.
'They look so happy' I said.
'Look, there's Shirley' she said. 'Shirley is teaching me how to paint.'
'Really?' I ask. 'You, paint?'
'Yes,' She said. 'You must come see them sometime.'
'I will.' I smiled. 'I'd love to.'
Publishing your book
I had a dream; it was to write and illustrate children's books. After two decades of rejection and thinking 'Maybe I'm just not enough?' I had a new thought; What if people don't care if that I'm not the best writer in the world, or the best artist in the world, what if all that matters are that they are My Stories? What if? And that thought changed my plan. I decided to give myself a chance to do the things I loved; painting and writing.
I wrote a book, then I wrote another and included my paintings, then I started several more, and now I'm in the process of creating and completing. Along the way I began my own publishing company so I could publish my books. I learned how to be a publisher, how to navigate a printer, booksellers, bookstores, editors, graphic designers and a whole host of new skills demanded my attention. It was fun, it was challenging, and it allowed me to create and expand in the way I wanted to.
Several friends have asked how I did this; so I wrote this blog detailing my steps in the hope of supporting other people to live their dream.
I wish you all the best on your journey, and if you also suffer from 'maybe I'm not enough' syndrome, then join me in letting that go. Remind yourself that all you need is you and your story. All that other stuff (the details) can be figured out. But never give up. You just don't know how your story will help others.
1 First step is to write your book (haven’t written one yet? Check out Scott Berkun’s blog on ‘How to write a Book’.
2. Edit your book. Cut out redundant words, check spelling and grammar. All writing is essentially re-writing. After I have written my book to the best I can, I send it to my editors; Jane Todd and Narelle Douglas (one at a time), and then use their suggestions to improve my work. Most Cities have a writing centre that can help you find editors and writing support.
3. If you are going with a ‘print on demand’ service, they will usually take your manuscript from here and offer the editing and graphic design stages, give you an ISBN, register your book and then that’s it! Your book will be printed as a customer wants it. If, however you want a thousand books in your garage to sell or give away, you can continue to take these steps from here.
4. To become a self-publisher you will need to buy an ISBN for your book. In Australia you register your publishing name and purchase your ISBN’s from Thorpe-Bowker and later, you register your book in the library catalogue.
5. While you are registering as a publisher, purchasing your ISBN (or a pack of them if you know you’re going to publish more books) you are still working on your editor’s suggestions, or creating/outsourcing your illustrations.
6. Your editor will send the book back with suggestions for lots of changes (don’t worry, this happens to everyone, it’s impossible for you to know exactly how your book looks to someone that isn’t in your head-understanding everything you’re trying to say).
7. If your book has pictures that don’t belong to you, you will need to ask permission to publish them. You can use your own photographs, but if you have used models they will need to sign a model release form. Read more about Australian copyright.
In Australia, all of your writing and art work is copyright without having to register it.
Although copyright protection in Australia is not dependent upon formal notice, it is best practice and advisable for copyright owners to place a copyright notice in a prominent place on their work. There is no set form of words for a copyright notice, but such a notice may state:
This work is copyright. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process, nor may any other exclusive right be exerci
sed, without the permission of [name and address of copyright owner and the
year in which the work was made.}'
From The Australian Govt. Guide to copyright
8. After you have created your own photographs, drawings, or paintings, they will need to be scanned or photographed and placed into the book. A graphic designer can help you do this. I used Jamie Palmer who, in my opinion, did a brilliant job of turning 'Yoga Bear' and 'Simply Yoga' into real books (he’s also a pretty good musician).
I've also worked with Jane Watt, who designed 'Yoga Diary 2012' and 'My Yoga Journal'. Both brilliant and well received publications.
9. Your book will now look finished. It is up to you the author and publisher to make sure there are no errors. Print out a copy and make sure it is how you want it to be. Check the placement of pictures, the flow, the spelling and grammar. From here you will make changes, edit more or add text. You might go back to your editor several times before you are happy. You might change the picture layout or combination several times.
When your book is ‘perfect’ it is ready for printing.
10. Your local printer will probably do an awesome job, especially if you are happy with black and white text and pictures. Call them and discuss your project and collect some quotes.
If you want colour, you can compare prices with your local printers or check out prices of printing in China or Malaysia or another country. I went through China, and I found my printer on Alibaba.com.
Choose the printer that has the right services and price for what you want. Check out your printers references and ask them to send you a sample. You will pay for postage for the sample.
11. You will need to know the size of your book (you would have worked that out with your graphic designer). The grams and type of paper you want your book and cover to be. Is your book colour, or black and white? What kind of binding do you want? I went to the library and looked at all the books I liked to choose my binding, paper type and weight and book size. Printers will send you samples of paper type, grams and binding.
12. Most printers will expect you to pay a 50% deposit to begin your job. If you are sending your job overseas, you will usually pay direct into their bank account which means you need to set up an account for international transfers. Some printers accept PayPal or Western Union. (I do bank transfers).
13. Ask the printer to send you a sample of your book before you say ‘go ahead’ with final printing. If you don’t have time to wait for the book to be mailed to you, have a Skype session and ask printer to show you the cover and each page to make sure they have printed on the correct side and everything is ok.
14. Shipping: Your printer can organise the shipping from their country to yours and then you will need to organise a ‘freight forwarder:’ someone to you’re your shipment through customs and either to their warehouse or your door. There will be extra costs involved like GST and customs. I used David Broughs in Brisbane to ship my book from China to their warehouse and then we picked them up ourselves (to save truck costs). They were fantastic and really looked after me.
Expect customs to cost more than the shipping and printing.
15. PARTY!! It’s Done! Right? Don’t relax yet. Now that your book is printed and on a ship sailing to you, you will be getting ready for your book launch (And that’s another blog).
Best of wishes for the success of your book.
Kindness is the act of speaking or behaving in a way that shows caring and love. You can be kind to people, places or things. Kindness is love in action.
Random acts of kindness is a movement that began in the 80’s. Since then millions of acts of kindness has transformed people and communities. We believe kindness will heal the world. Each day we are focusing on offering deliberate acts of kindness and posting our experiences on our Facebook page or here on our blog. Would you like to join us?
We invite everyone who receives an act of kindness to pay it forward by offering our ‘Kindness Card’ (free from our yoga class or website).
Random acts of kindness make the world a better place. If someone wishes to repay you for your kindness, ask them to ‘pay it forward’ instead, so that others may experience the ripple of your good intentions.
Ideas for Random acts of Kindness
1. Smile at people
2. Open the door for a stranger
3. Offer to help others in anyway you can
4. Phone someone who is lonely
5. Post a note to a loved one about how much they mean to you
6. Help a parent with their gardening/shopping/chores
7. Hug a friend (who likes hugs)
8. Pay a compliment
9. Looks for things in people that you like, and then tell them what you see
10. Look for virtues in people and tell them how you saw it
11. Go through all your ‘stuff’ that you don't need, use or love, and gift it
12. Re-gift unwanted gifts
13. Babysit or Petsit
14. Send a thank you note to someone every day
15.Take your dog, or another dog for a walk
16. Buy some pet food and donate it to your local animal shelter
17. Volunteer at the local animal shelter
18. Volunteer at the local service for homeless people
19. Protect the environment and speak up for it’s safety
20. Protect children and show them love
21. Volunteer at your local school
22. Protect the weaker members of society by speaking up on their behalf and offering eye contact with a smile
23. Say hello to someone you wouldn’t normally speak to
24. Invest in yourself to let go of prejudicial thoughts or actions
25. Support services that protect the vulnerable
26. Teach others your skills at a local community centre
27. Cook a meal as a gift
28. Use your manners; please, thank you, and sorry, are words that ease transactions and help others feel valued
29. Pick up rubbish
30. Give a friend a massage
31. Be kind to people you don’t like
32. Forgive yourself for whatever it is you think you’ve done wrong; all humans make mistakes; forgive yourself and let go of the pain
33. Be an interested listener
34. Ask someone about themselves
35. Make kindness bookmarks and share them with your friends
36. Share your stuff
37.Take a gift with you and then give it away at random
38. Donate blood
39. Invite someone to use your services without expectation of anything in return
40.Giveaway useful items that you no longer use
41. Ask your employees ‘what do you need’ and brainstorm about ways to achieve it
42. Take yourself out on a fun date (be kind to yourself)
43. Buy a friend a cup of coffee
44. Buy a stranger a cup of coffee
45. Pay the toll for a friend or stranger
46. Pay the parking for another car
47. Read a child a story
48. Donate food or personal care items for your local homeless shelter
49. Buy items that support fairtrade and developing countries
50. Send flowers to a loved one
51. Send flowers to someone you forgive
52. Send me your idea to put in this space...
Please post your random acts of kindness here, or on our Facebook page
Kindness cards are free from our yoga class, or from our website
Make a Kindness tree with Virtues
How to use Virtues
Aussie acts of kindness
Art by www.monicabatiste.com.au
You think you're doing all-right and then BAM, you topple over.
Balancing in life is the same as in yoga - you've got to stay focused to achieve your goals.
Balance in life
When you have balance in your life, you have enough time to do all of the things you want and need to do. You can balance your time between working, studying, and playing with friends. You can balance your studies between hobbies and school. You can balance any area of your life. You will know if you are on track with life-balance by how you feel. When you are doing the things you need and want to do, and maintaining good health and a happy disposition; you are balanced. If you are constantly sick, or feel stressed, tired, and cranky; take a look at what is out of balance and take steps to correct it.
Balance in Yoga
Yoga gives you insight to how you are balancing life, by how well you balance your body. If you cannot stop thinking about other things during a balance, then this is an indication that you are not focused in life. If you keep losing your balance, chances are you are losing balance in life. If you can stay focused and calm during a yoga balance, you are on your way to succeeding in this virtue in life.
Improve your ability to remain focused in life by practising yoga balances. Assign yourself to maintaining focus, strength and calm. As you practice this in yoga, you will be able to transfer this detail into life.
The yoga postures that support balance are; Dancer’s pose; Gum-Tree pose; Panda bear pose; Jabiru pose; Bird pose; Any pose that requires you to lift a supporting hand or foot from the ground will require focus, strength and balance.
From Virtues with Yoga Bear due for release 2015 by Monica Batiste
'I love you.'
Not so hard, is it?
When you love and accept yourself, just as you are; life just gets better and better.
Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself.
High self-esteem is having positive beliefs and expectations about self.
Low self-esteem is having negative and low expectations about self.
A student’s self-talk is a strong indicator of self-esteem. For instance, ‘I can’t do this posture,’ usually means; ‘I don’t have faith in myself’. And ‘This is too hard,’ usually means ‘Life is hard and I am afraid to try’.
Other indicators of self-esteem during yoga are pushing into postures because ‘I must achieve’. This means, ‘I will push myself into doing things I don’t want to do even if it hurts me’.
As you notice the struggle, use this as your guide for improvement. Say things like ‘There is no right or wrong; there is no need to push; just relax and allow the posture (and life) to come to you. Let go and trust that you (and the world) will support you’.
Self-esteem can be improved at any age by offering positive acknowledgment of virtues.
Acknowledge peaceful and self-accepting moments to show children that life is easier if you can accept where you are in this moment. Use affirmations like ‘accept yourself right here and now’ and ‘I am where I am, and it’s ok’.
By improving self-talk, self-esteem and communication improve.
Yoga improves self-esteem by mirroring desired virtues. Warrior Poses reflect assertiveness. Child’s Pose reflects acceptance and humility (being humble). Lion Pose improves the ability to ‘speak up’. Dancer’s Pose improves grace and confidence.
Virtues developed through the physical body become a part of the emotional body. All emotional experiences become part of the physical body and evolve its shape and posture. It is all interconnected.
When you are true of purpose, in mind, body and spirit, you move with confidence and joy. When you open your heart to love, you experience freedom and spontaneity.
Yoga improves emotional IQ by offering a space where body language reflects emotional language and by improving the body, the mind follows.
Using yoga as the tool for personal transformation is a loving, healthy, peaceful and honourable way to improve self-esteem in yourself, your family, your community and the world.
Loving the self leads to loving others
From my children's book Yoga for Little Bears
‘Where does inspiration come from anyway?’ I asked.
‘It’s easy’ Shane said. ‘Just put two things together that you like.’
‘Okay’ I answered. ‘I like yoga.’ Looking around the food court I added, ‘I like teddies, but how does that become an idea?’
‘Well, put them together.’
‘Okay. Yoga and teddies. OH I know! I can create a book on teddies doing yoga! What a great idea!’
‘See’ he smiled, sipping his coffee, ‘an idea!’
I went home and created four paintings. But I didn’t know what to do next? So I shelved the paintings and worked on another book; ‘Simply Yoga,’ and my CD ‘Perfect Body.’ After two years they were complete and published. Not knowing what to do with Yoga Bear, I did what all artists do: I started working on another book.
But Yoga Bear kept calling me. In 2012 I decided to complete it. I changed the size of the page to match ‘Simply Yoga’ and created new paintings. I didn’t know what the text would be, so began by describing ‘how to do’ the poses.
On my birthday I jumped out of a plane with my friends hubby, Mac. I was so thrilled by the experience I painted Mac and I as yoga bears jumping out of a plane, and turned it into ‘parachute pose.’ This inspired an idea to create new poses. I added Koala pose and Fruit Bat pose and thought; ‘why not change the names of some of the poses?’ I changed cobra pose to 'taipan', tree pose for ‘icy pole’ and ‘gum tree’ pose, warrior three for 'seagull' and hand to toe for ‘panda bear’ pose. Just for fun!
At Uni we were studying poetry: this inspired me to write some poems. While I waited for class, I wrote;
‘Banjo couldn’t scream or shout, Lion pose has helped him out.’
And for my parachute jump:
‘Moni and Mac went up in a plane, they tumbled out with a ‘chute.
Moni and Mac sailed back to earth, it really was a hoot.’
Okay it wasn’t Shakespeare, but it was fun!
That semester I had a mid term break and went to Germany to meet my brother. In Berlin I met the Berlin bears of friendship, who were created to bring nations together. I loved the idea, and added them to my book. I created a painting of bears, holding hands across the globe, and called it ‘friendship pose’, and wrote about the importance of friendship.
In Germany I experienced some bullying. Although an adult, I felt like a child, and wondered, how do I cope? In pain, I stayed in my room for a few days and wrote about bullying and how to support the bullied child. It felt so important that I added it to Yoga for little Bears.
After Germany I was depleted (loved meeting my brother, and lots of good times too) but full of triggers from childhood; coupled with some negative accusations, I fell over. I became depressed and exhausted. I worked in the morning teaching yoga, and spent the rest of the day in recovery. I had counselling to help me understand, kinesiology to realign energy, changed my diet and wrote about emotional intelligence. I added this text to Yoga for little Bears to support the bullied child, and help grow the bully to a softer place.
I took 2013 off study to recover my physical and mental health. In the mix my newly found brother passed away, and the promise of our new relationship died too.
2013 became the year of recovery. I researched and wrote about the importance of mental and physical health to include in Yoga Bear.
As the year drew to a close, my book was complete. I was stronger and the world looked brighter again.
It's been four years since that sip of coffee, when Shane said, ‘Idea’s are easy.’
And he was right. Ideas are easy!
It’s executing them that rely on determination and persistence.
A truck pulled into my garage yesterday, and the driver wheeled in 2000 Yoga Bear books. I pulled out the first one and flicked through its pages.
Wow. A book with my name on it.
I imagined those books in homes and schools, and sent an intention to the universe that they would support children everywhere.
It is because of my beautiful friends and family, with my hand in theirs, that I reached this dream. Thank you. I hope I can hold your hand and help you reach your dreams too.
Yoga for Little Bears
Check out Yoga Bear paintings
Read more about the book
Text and illustrations by Monica Batiste
Graphic designer Jamie Palmer
Editors Narelle Douglas and Jane Todd
Photograph of Monica inside back cover Gabriela Batiste
Photograph of Monica back cover Jana Hughes
About Monica Batiste
Most successful people set goals. Goals give you direction. Without direction, you forget where you are going.
Goals are like a GPS
4-Move towards your goal.
5- Continue to visualise - take action - and move towards your goal until it is achieved.
Creating a vision board is an excellent way to stay focused on your goals.
If you've never created a vision board, make one with me now.
Cut out images, words or affirmations that symbolise or represent your goals and what you'd like to achieve.
Paste them onto your board. You can use your intuition, imagination, or even Feng Shui to place your images and words.
Jazz up your board with glitter, pictures, and whatever makes you feel good.
Hang your vision board in a prominent place so that you can remind your subconscious that 'this is what I want' and allow the universe, and the law of attraction to show you how it can be achieved.
If you notice you feel 'I could never do this.' You may have low self-belief or low self-esteem.
When you have high self-esteem you believe you are worthy of a good life, and wonderful experiences.
When you have low self-esteem you might believe you are not worthy of a good life, or good experiences.
Low self-esteem will make it harder to achieve your goals, because your beliefs won't match your desires.
You must change your beliefs to achieve your goals. You must believe you are worthy and deserving, and give your self permission to shine.
There are lots of ways to build self-esteem. You can build your self-esteem with counselling, books, affirmations, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), and a network of support to remind you that you are loved, worthy and brilliant. If self-esteem is a major block, you could do your first vision board on how you want to feel about yourself.
It must be YOU that gives yourself permission to have, do, or be, whatever you want.
Daily actions for success
Best of luck and please let me know about your journey with your vision board.
If you like my blogs, I would appreciate you sharing them with your friends. Thank you
I'm a self-employed yoga teacher, author and artist. I live on the beautiful northern bays of Brisbane. In 2008 I decided to stop talking about what I wanted, and do it!
Blogs by Monica
Growing Emotional Intelligence