Adjusting The Sails….Going Forwards….News From Gillie…With Love

into the wild

 

Dear Treasured Soul,

 

I hope this email finds you well, and enjoying your summer.

 

So first a little admin….

  • Tomorrow’s YOGA ON THE BEACH is ON!!! You can pre book here https://bookeo.com/behappyfit
  • Bank Holiday Monday night at Powderham is a NIGHT OFF! There is no class that night
  • For those that have asked , I have added in two new dates for the Wild Yoga On The Dubrovnik Riviera. It’s a brand new venue and a very exciting programme. Dates are  October 13-20th 2019 and June 10th – 17th 2020. Details here.

Now for the “deep breath needed” stuff…

 

I’m not known for being short of words, or not knowing what to say, but this has been a difficult message for me to write, and I do hope you can bear with me whilst I find the right words to convey what I need to say.

I’ve been rumbling with this, as Brene Brown would say, for the last few days, and finally said to myself “just ****ing do it”, and trust you will know what to say.

 

As many of you know, I have been very much on a healing journey for the last couple of years. Actually, as has become clear, this has been what I have been doing pretty much my whole life, trying to heal. Living it, learning it, and passing it on. I love what I do, but I have only just been surviving.

 

Since doing my most important work on myself over this past year, I have felt some profound changes happening. As I understood how nature heals us, how the body knows the score, the importance of grounding, how to heal from trauma, my whole inner landscape has changed, so I knew it was a matter of time before my outer world changed.

 

Last week I made a courageous decision, one that has been brewing for a while, and I decided to fully embrace the notion of being wild and free. I’ve been introducing many of you to The Way Of The Wild Warrior, and this is something that I need to go to work on.

 

As things have been changing in the yoga world, and free yoga classes being made available everywhere (which I think is fantastic by the way, just makes it a little harder for those of us that make a living out of it), I am no longer willing to struggle to make ends meet, to work to pay my rent, and to live in a way which is really just survival.

 

I have no idea what it’s going to look like, but I know I need to develop this piece of work, to write, create, and to live and breathe it in a way that gets me out of survival mode and into being wild and free.

What I do know is that I am going to continue teaching, but it will be an online platform, as well as one-off events and retreats, which will all be based around healing through nature, balancing the elements, and The Way Of The Wild Warrior.

 

I write this email from Croatia, where I am setting up this new retreat space in Cavtat. I had asked the Universe, and along with the snake messenger, this place came along, and I knew it was right. I’ve already filled the September one, which I think is also a sign, and I am now opening up October 13th-20th for those that would like to come and join me. Full details are here.

 

Since embracing this uncertain future, so much has slotted into place, and I decided that for the next six weeks, I would not return to the UK, but use this time to carve out my new life, as well as write The Way Of The Wild Warrior. It will be available online as a course, but also a one day training event, and also as a retreat.

 

So I will be away for the whole of September now. I have some great teachers who can cover my classes this month, but only if people keep coming, as I have to pay the teachers and the venues and sometimes I don’t even cover my costs when I do this. If I am able to sustain these classes, they will continue but I need to see how things go in September. In the meantime I will be doing online classes, details of which I will send out shortly.

I know this may be disappointing news for some of you, who have built up a regular routine of coming as well as a relationship with me. Believe me, I will feel that loss too, and this hasn’t been easy at all. I just have to follow my heart, and trust the Universe, for I feel that this piece of work is important, and what I am meant to be doing.

 

I will be back for the beginning of October, where I have two events happening in that first week. I hope to see you for one or both of them! From October onwards, all is a little unknown right now. I am sorry I can’t tell you anymore that that, the truth is “I don’t know”, but I am trusting all will unfold as it is meant to.

1.       October 3rd 2019              Slivers of Light Talk and Book Signing

 

The book I wrote last year will shortly be going on sale at the Pete’s Dragons shop in Exmouth. They have invited me to do a talk that evening, and to be there to sign some of the hard copy books. This is open to the public and we will be sending you out an invitation very soon. To find out more about Slivers of Light go to www.sliversoflight.co.uk. It is also available as an e-book online for immediate download and comes with a 21 day online course.

 

2.       October 8th 2019               108 On The Beach

This will be the third year of this, and we are hoping to make it even bigger and better than ever before. This is a charity event, but it’s also something for the community, bringing people together, celebrating our mutual respect for each other and the Earth, and that “we’re all in this together”. Again details of this are coming soon.

 

The weekend of October 5th / 6th 2019 I also have an Aerial Yoga Teacher Training course at Revitalize Studios in Topsham, so if you are interesed in training to be an Aerial Yoga Teacher, let me know. I have one space left.

 

 

On a practical level, if you have purchased a block of classes, you will still be able to use these for the September classes, but there will be no more pre-paid packages available from today.

 

I hope you feel the love and gratitude coming through my written words when I say “thank you for all the support you have shown me over the last few years”. I am so grateful for all the amazing people I have met, the places I have been lucky enough to teach in, and how much yoga has helped me find out who I am, and accept who I am.

 

I don’t know where this journey is headed, but this is where I am right now, my heart is open, and I feel courageous. I hope you will stay connected with me whilst it all unfolds.

 

Please feel to add me on any social media channels, in particular the Flow Yoga Devon Facebook page where I will be publishing online classes, as well as other teachers’ classes,  or follow my news by subscribing to http://www.behappyfit.co.uk.

 

With loving kindness, from my heart to yours,

 

Gillie xx

Look what I found??? New Retreat Annoucement!

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GUESS WHAT I FOUND??? ❤️🧘‍♂️☀️🌊😎

Big news

As you probably know, I have been away much of the summer, partly working, and partly exploring this incredibly beautiful country, getting fresh inspiration and renewing my energy…. 🌸😍🙏

Anyway, as a result of one of life’s wonderful synchronicities, I found the perfect place to run my new retreats / holidays ….

Why was it perfect you ask?

* I enjoyed the most amazing sunsets from here…. the first picture is from my balcony, but the penthouse (for yoga) is even better

* Its less than 5 minutes from three secluded bays with the most amazing crystal clear water

* The guest house is under the same ownership as an Adventure company I have used before for SUP hire. Which means SUP boards right on our doorstep.

* It is located just on the edge of Cavtat, pretty town, away from the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik, but just ten mins from the airport and a short and lovely boat trip from the Old Town of Dubrovnik.

* There are many stunning places of natural beauty to visit, including a hike up Mount Srd to view Dubrovnik from above, a walk of the city walls at sunset, and a trip to Lokrum, the beautiful island of Games of Thrones dame.

* The management were excellent here,  and Mijo our host was the most kind and helpful person in every way, and I know he would be brilliant in making sure we had the best stay possible.

* The accommodation was ideal. A rooftop deck ideal for sunrise and sunset yoga over-looking the Dubrovnik riviera, al fresco dining area, 5 double bedrooms which could be for couples, single and made into twins. Very well maintained and the perfect location for access to the town and to the sights.

What’s more it’s affordable!

* It just felt right. I was in Flow when I arrived here, I had the most amazing stay. I didn’t plan to find a venue here, it just happened.

* I came across a certain animal on my path and when I read what it meant,  it was a sign!

So in my excitement, and in light of this horrendous weather, I am hoping to get something booked for end of September…. I know it’s close and it would be for an initial 4-5 night reccy, at an affordable rate, with a view to doing more next year… from June onwards 

What I need is an idea of who may be interested in coming out with me? Flights are pretty cheap at between £135 and £200 return and I will be aiming to get this initial one costed in at under £500 (depends on whether you would be sharing or not)

I’m thinking 5 ELEMENTS –

Earth (walks and grounding)

Water (swimming, sup, snorkelling)

Fire (sunshine, sunsets, and good times)

Air (breathwork, laughter, being in nature)

Space (unplug from the world and take some you-time to reflect and restore)

And of course my yoga ethos is “what’s right for you”, so everything is a choice!

So take a look at the photos, these are ones I took whilst out there, and if this appeals then let me know as soon as possible, so I can get us out there!!

Be brave, be adventurous, be a goddamn freaking warrior!

❤️💫🙏

Gillie

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Love is love.

It was the most simple yet powerful tagline, and it really hit the spot this Saturday.

It was Exmouth Pride, the sun was out and love was most definately in the air.

Pride month takes place every year, and celebrates the heritage of the LGBTQ+ community, and it’s triumphs over adversity. Marking fifty years since it’s inception in New York, this was indeed a celebration.

You may have seen the rainbow flags everywhere. It’s the perfect emblem for the movement, all the colours of the rainbow, denoting that life’s rich tapestry is only so beautiful as a result of its many different colours.

Accepting each other as we are, allowing people to be free to be themselves, equal rights and personal freedom. These are the values that many of us believe in, regardless of whether we are part of the LGBTQ+ community.

This is not an exclusive club. This is an all-embracing community where everyone is welcome.

I can’t help feeling that the message that “love is love” is just what this world needs at the moment, which is why Saturday’s festival really hit the spot.

The LGBTQ+ community are leading the way in this new wave of consciousness on the planet, where people want to collaborate not compete, find what unites us not divides us, and be led by love not hate.

As you can imagine, I was all over it! My calves are still recovering from my mid-afternoon wild dancing! I couldn’t stop smiling. I didn’t want to leave. Manor Gardens was filled with love. It was the best event I remember in Exmouth.

Love in all it’s forms.

It didn’t matter whether you are gay, straight, rich, poor, old or young. Here everyone was accepted. It was beautiful and joyful, in a way I can barely put into words.

It got me thinking about a theory I’d heard recently from one of my inspirations Jeff Brown.

He believes that it is those that have suffered the most that will go on to be the greatest healers in the world, they are our best teachers, for they have had to overcome adversity and find a way to heal their pain, and they are the closest to the truth of all our lives.

As I consider how difficult it must have been for so many of the LGBTQ+, the bullying they must have been subjected to, and the lack of acceptance from the haters, I know they must have had to overcome tough times.

As I watched drag queen Arina Fox’s entrance with two storm troopers as bodyguards (who wouldn’t want storm troopers as bodyguards???), I was entranced.

Arina lit up Exmouth, totally “owning it”, and I had a new role model.

When Arina introduced “Mum” who had come come from Leeds to see the act for the first time, I don’t think there was a dry house in the park.

I could feel it hadn’t been easy for Arina but here was a moment to be treasured. It was pure acceptance, and more than that, it was Pride.

The words “love is love” will echo in my ears for a long time, and I can’t wait for the next Pride event. My rainbow flags will be flying proud and free on the beach again, and getting ready to dance my glittery socks off!

Sent from my iPhone

Who’s Got Your Back?

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Who’s Got Your Back?

 

It is often in the most bizarre of circumstances that I find inspiration, and this morning was most definitely one of those times.

We had woken up on a boat, we had paddleboarded to the nearest shore, and set off on a hike up to the top of a mountain where I’m leading a yoga class for a group of wild warriors, in the most stunning of locations.

I’m chatting to Jacqui and Rachel, two of my yogis, and we’d been admiring the way that Shaun, another of the group, had really watched out for everyone else. He seemed always to be there when someone needed a hand, and for me, he was a godsend, as it was like having my own personal assistant / bodyguard / supporter all in one.

“It’s so nice to feel like you have someone who’s really got your back, isn’t it?”, I ask the women I’m with.

They agree, there’s a comfort in it, and we laugh about how we’re all the same with our men. We do like to do things for ourselves, but it’s important to know that they are there to support us unconditionally.

It’s not necessarily a gender thing, it works just the same both ways, in fact, some of my greatest supporters, those in my tribe, who’ve had my back, over the last year have been other women.

Yet this particular morning it’s a case of a man protecting his woman, from the potential threats are coming down the mountain, passing too close by for his comfort.

We had been warned about this “aggressive” donkey that we may pass on the way up, so we were already braced for giving him a wide berth, but we found ourselves with the male and the female on either side of us.

As we approached, the male donkey made a noise louder than anything I had ever heard come from a donkey, or a horse, for that matter. He gave us a look to say “don’t even think about coming any closer!”. We weren’t, we got that message loud and clear, Eeyore!

What happened next melted my heart. He bolted over to his woman and headbutted her (nicely), and they spent the next few moments nuzzling into each other (before starting to get a bit fruity, but we’ll just leave that there…), and it was obvious he had just being trying to protect her and make sure she was ok.

“Look, he’s got her back!”, “he’s not aggressive, he’s just looking out for his woman”, “he loves her so much!”. We are all having a bit of a moment; I’m sure there may have been a few wet eyes even.

Back on the boat I’m looking up what it means to “have someone’s back”. It’s being willing and prepared to help and defend someone; to look out for someone in the case of assistance. I’m just finishing writing this story when my good friend Jax, the little pocket rocket she is, pops her head down the hatch and just says “alright bird?” in her gorgeous Northern accent, and again, I melt.

My heart is filled with gratitude for those that have my back. It took a while, but I’ve found my tribe. Like the donkeys, they have my back, and I have theirs.

 

 

 

 

Body Shaming…close to home

“I thought that you’d be more sinewy as a yoga teacher”, he said to me straight in the eye.

“Sinewy?”, I ask. “As in more toned?”.

He nods, as if that was obvious.

So just to clarify, the relatively new man in my life who had just whisked me off for a dream of a trip, whom I had shared intimacies with, is now telling me that he thought I’d be more toned for a yoga teacher.

In what world is this ever ok?

We often look to the media or the fashion industry for someone to blame when it comes to body shaming, but sometimes it can be a lot closer to home, and we don’t even realise the damage it’s doing before it too late.

Every day of my working life, I have to stand up in front of people, with my body up for judgement. My life work is reflected in my body and up until this moment I had been quite proud of it.

I had healed from a significant back injury and was sitting at a healthy weight, without any body consciousness at the age of 44 (the age I was at the time), and I hadn’t really given much thought to how I compared to the Kardashians.

Yet here I was being told by a man close to 50 that perhaps I’d be more successful if I followed the model of a Personal Trainer he knew who had a huge following on Instagram.

“It’s all about the Kardashian bum now. That’s what people are aspiring to”.

For the first time in my life, I am feeling my rear end to be inadequate.

So in the space of ten minutes I’m feeling a bit flabby with a flat arse.

Up until this point this man had seemed charming, kind, thoughtful and intelligent. So perhaps he had a point?

I look back now and I want to kick myself.

Since then I dropped over a stone in weight, I started to get anxious about being in front of people, thinking they were all judging me in the same way.

I went from confidence in my body to feeling shameful about it, it was like a silent poison within me that was growing and literally eating me up.

On the outside I was trying to stand up for myself:

“I’m not interested in posing in a bikini on Instagram, it’s not about that for me”, as I try to defend my size 8 figure.

Yet me saying “it’s not OK to say that to a woman”, that’s me “kicking off”. I’m “too sensitive”, “took it the wrong way”, “making a big deal out of nothing”.

This is where the damage is done. We know it’s not ok, but we are being told our reactions are wrong. We start to question ourselves instead, we start to take the blame for “over-reacting”.

I’m sure I’m not the only woman to have suffered this kind of body shaming, subtle yet insidious as it is. I won’t be the last sadly, but as I head off tomorrow to present at the WOW (Women of the World) festival in Exeter, I’ll be standing proud in my own body again, and I’ll be making sure to send the message out loud and clear to the other women (and men) in my class.

“You’re ok just as you are!”.

Don’t let anyone tell you any different, and if you come across someone who does and who, instead of apologising makes you feel bad for standing up for yourself, run. Run away as fast as you can, and never look back.

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Sent from my iPhone

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acceptance – Mental Health Awareness Week

 

 

 

It was my first trip to India, on a Yoga Teacher Training, that I learned one of my most important lessons about being “body kind”.

I guess like many, when it came to exercise and movement, I always thought it was about just putting in as much effort as I could, and that I should be able to achieve anything.

In my head, I’d come back from India with a repertoire of fancy poses, including many variations of the headstand, that I’d be able to show off to the world.

Yet the first words to come out of our teachers mouth was these words of advice:

  1. Respect The Teacher
  2. Lose The Ego

As a teacher/ trainer already, the first one was easy. I know how it feels to be them . The latter was more difficult as there was ego there that I wasn’t aware of, but it didn’t take long for me receive the lesson I needed.

Firstly, I wasn’t as fit as I thought I was, not for this anyway. Less than a week in, as my arms were failing in my 1000th chataranga, I was feeling like telling the teacher to stick his vinyasa right up his root chakra.

I also realised that, with my old back injury, and subsequent vulnerability, headstands were not going to be my best friend.

I’ve since concluded that we all have a “not-for-me” box, and alongside running, cycling and Go Ape, headstands were getting thrown into that box.

I had to learn to accept my body as it was, with its limitations, and let go of the glory poses I had envisioned myself doing.

It was a fantastic lesson.

Instead I learned to make the most of what I had, which was still a lot. My limbs were still moving, I’d never had surgery, and I was still able to achieve more than I ever could have dreamed off.

When it came to the headstand section, I took to the ropes on the edge of the yoga shala, and I learned to invert without compressing my spine using props.

This was my first introduction to aerial yoga which has turned out to be one of the most beneficial modalities for healing my back I could have imagined. I do it regularly now, I teach it to others, and I train others in it.

In learning to accept “this is where I am, this is what I’ve got, and that’s ok”, I was actually guided to something even better.bi also learned the meaning of “grace”.

On Monday I found a place near the beach for my own practise. I’d woken with an achy back and I knew I needed to give it some love. I set up my straps, connected my swing and I went to play.

My transition from what I wanted for my own ego needs to what was right for my body was the start of a beautiful journey.

I now teach people in class to cultivate an attitude of self-compassion, ahimsa (non-harm) and also honouring the body above all else.

When you listen to the body it will tell you everything you need to know.

The first step is accepting where you are today, working with what you’ve got, choosing function over aesthetics, and respecting the body.

I have decided that as a teacher, no matter how good it may be for my social media accounts, I will not be the teacher posting glory poses on Instagram. That’s in the “not-for-me” box.

For me, it’s about healing, acceptance and love.

I love my body for what it allows me to do. I accept it for how it is. This healing approach has helped both body and mind, for they are both inextricably linked.

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Grounding for Mental Health

 

When I’m struggling with my mental health, when my mind is in overdrive, and my nervous system has tripped me into “high alert”, I put my feet in the sand, and I walk.

It only took me around 40 years to realise that this was the answer for me. I always was a late bloomer! (More about that later in the week..).

Now I’ve learned there is science behind it too, but I just know from how it feels that it has a magical effect.

As it would happen, today was one those days. My head was a in a muddle, and my to-do list was getting longer and longer. I couldn’t even think what to write about, and if you know me at all, it’s not that often I don’t have anything to say.

I knew that I had to get out of my head and into my body.

For it is in the body that the wisdom lies. Our body was our first home, and when we go back to it, that’s where we can feel safe, where we can trust again.

Ironically, the body is also the place we go to heal our “body image issues”. For it is not the body that is the problem, it is our thinking around it.

The way to stop our negative thinking around it is to go into it, and to place it into it’s natural habitat – the Earth.

When it’s you and nature, have you noticed you’re really not bothered about your body?

I remember when I was in Lombok, and it was me, a bikini, boardshorts, a moped, a surfboard, and not much else. I never gave a second thought to what shape I was in.

Yet when I returned to the UK, and I was surrounded by images of so-called “perfection”, 8 foot, size 4 mannequins in shop windows, selling a dream that wasn’t real, my insecurities soon returned. In the changing rooms, I was wondering why the clothes in the window didn’t look like that on me.

I remember thinking how ridiculous it was. I had a normal body, if anything, in pretty good nick, and yet there I was feeling “less than” after weeks of not giving a hoot.

So I know now that I need to avoid all of that nonsense as much as possible and go back to what’s real…

What’s real is going back to nature, accepting my body as it is, and where I am now. With my feet in the sand, the sun on my skin, and getting out of my busy mind.

A few weeks ago, I stood up in front of 150 people with only little shorts on. This time last year, I was leaner, skinnier than I am now, but I was way more insecure and I couldn’t have done that with the same confidence, where I did not think once about whether I had a yoga teacher’s body.

That’s because this time around I did not have the voice in my head that told me I wasn’t ok as I was. (If I’m feeling brave enough, I’ll share why later in the week!)

BIGGER AND BETTER

Bigger and Better this year…

When we aren’t grounded, that voice can take over, but when we put our feet into the Earth, we get out into nature, and preferably on our own when we need to, that’s when we learn to observe those voices, question them, ask them if they are true. Eventually we just let them go…

At some point we forget the projections of others, the expectations of the modern world, the unrealistic images of a perfection that doesn’t exist, and we go back into our first home, and it’s OK.

 

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