Friday, 24 December 2010

Giving some thing back

Well, Christmas is nearly here once again!
In some ways, I wonder where the year has gone, but I also feel I've done quite a bit from a self-development point of view. I did the first of my final practicals for shiatsu, & felt completely relaxed about the whole affair, rather than fearful like I had done previously. I've rediscovered my love for aikido & couldn't imagine it not being in my life. Overall I feel more grounded & emotionally more balanced. Yay Whoop, as Shaun would say :)  

I've been running since 2008 & reading the article, A Helping Hand, on the Runner's World website made me think of working with beginners in aikido. When I started practising, I found it hard to see what more experienced students would get out of partnering up with me. I found myself apologising to them, wondering if they were bored or simply waiting to be able to move on. Consequently, I put myself under more pressure to do the movement correctly & felt frustrated.

I recently did the Coach Level 1 course & have also been practising with a complete beginner at our club.
I think I finally get it!
With the role now reversed I'm able to give some thing back by encouraging a new person & help lead the movement in the right direction. Also, working with a complete beginner reminds me of where I came from & how much I've progressed. I'm learning too, as I need to be as clear as I can be to help my partner... If I ask Sensei questions, some times it's on behalf of them, but often it's because I need clarification to be able to move in a more positive way.

I have a wonderful husband, family & friends. It makes me realise I can constantly be giving some thing back by repaying their kindness & thoughtfulness with my own behaviour & actions.
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

One practical down

I sat the first of my shiatsu final practical assessments earlier this week!
This has been some thing I've been putting off for quite some time, so it felt great to finally have them booked in the diary. I'm so close to graduating that it seems silly not to finish it all off now. It won't make any difference to the shiatsu I'm doing on people, but will mean I get the final OK from my school and can move on.
I think before I worried that graduating meant I needed to be some kind of shiatsu expert? Doesn't make much sense to me now really.

It seems good timing that I did the coach level 1 course recently, as I took that relaxed feeling into my assessment and enjoyed it, rather than being nervous. I realised after doing the coach course that doing my shiatsu assessment wasn't all that different. Both involve doing my stuff, and then a teacher gives me their opinion of it. No biggie, no need for stress and worry. I wish I'd worked that out a long time ago! I used to a perfectionist and a worrier. I've come to the conclusion that neither are much fun or help me accomplish much.

Once again, I enjoyed some thing that took me out of my comfort zone and my assessment went well, in my opinion. I won't get my result until I sit the next one, and then both teachers will discuss their findings. However, my teacher said, "I had nothing to worry about", which was very encouraging!

Coach level 1 aikido course

I really enjoyed the course and found it very inspiring.
Day 1 was theory, covering information about setting up a club, health and safety, child protection etc.
Day 2 was mainly on the mat, as 12 of us taught for 15 minutes and then received feedback. About half of the attendees were from my association, Aikido for Daily Life, but we also had some people from Aikido Alive and some other dojos. I thoroughly enjoyed practising with and being taught by people from different styles of aikido.

When it came my turn to teach, I found that I wasn't at all nervous! I looked around at every one and felt calm and collected. I've helped and encouraged other students before, but it was strange being Sensei for a change. I think the hardest thing was knowing where to place my uke, so that people could see properly.

I got every one to practise the first move, ikkyo, whilst concentrating on extending out into the Heart channel along the arm. I then covered shihonage, getting them to extend into Lung-10. And I started to look at kotagaeshi, extending into Triple Heater-3 and where the little finger contacts at Heart-7 and Heart Protector-7, but ran out of time. I'm really enjoying both aikido and shiatsu at the moment, and love the fact that I could combine the two!   
We all passed, and I found it illuminating to be able to move outside my comfort zone and still be relaxed.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Aikido helps improve your mood

I felt a bit out of sorts this morning, tired & just a bit blah. We were due to go to an aikido course, so I figured I'd do some points on myself afterwards to help lift my energy & overall mood. I found an alternative to this - practising aikido with the lovely folks in Taunton! I feel so much better now, more positive & less tired than I have been for a while since recovering from the flu. 

There was lots to challenge me earlier today & I really enjoyed the course. Added bonus... I got to practise with my wonderful husband. He's also my Sensei, so we obviously don't get to practise together like this at my normal weekly class. 

I'll be attending a coach level 1 course for aikido, which means I will teaching for a short time during the week end. I've helped & encouraged other students on the mat before, but this will be my first experience of actually teaching!
I've already decided to look at how to help your partner using moves that work on certain channels or acupuncture points. For example, the shihonage point (Lung-10) benefits the throat, clears Lung heat, descends rebellious qi & harmonises the Stomach & Heart. Sounds like a good move to do at this time of year with so much lurgy going round!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Review of Leo Babauta's e-book Zen to Done

I've been a fan of Getting Things Done for some time now, & also enjoy Zen Habits, which is 'about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives'.
I like GTD, but find there is quite a lot involved to get it up & running, & keep it going. It seems it's quite common for people, myself included, to fall off the wagon on a regular basis. 
I bought Leo Babauta's Zen To Done book as I really enjoy reading his articles, & like the idea of helping to support him financially.

As soon as I read the introduction, I knew the book was for me - 'Zen To Done (ZTD) is a system that is at once simple, and powerful, and will help you develop the habits that keep all of your tasks and projects organized, that keep your workday simple and structured, that keep your desk and email inbox clean and clear, and that keep you doing what you need to do, without distractions'.

The e-book is well-written & to the point, & covers all the main areas I would expect in a book on this topic. So, why buy the book when you can find articles on his website? For me, it meant all the information is in one place and as mentioned before to financially support the author.

I now use a mix of GTD & Zen To Done. The most useful idea from the book for me was choosing 3 Most Important Tasks for the day to help prioritise what I want to achieve. It's a book I will be re-reading for quite some time to come & would really recommend it if you are looking to get more organised.
Click here to view more details

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Shiatsu in Morocco

I've just got back from a wonderful honeymoon in Morocco. Whilst I was away, I realised practising shiatsu doesn't require a futon or as much space as I would expect.

I worked on my husband, & an American lady who has problems with her hip. I worked on them on either a single bed or mattress & found that it was quite easy to adjust the techniques. 

The only drawback I found was having to ask the American lady to swap around, otherwise she was so relaxed she was falling asleep!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Speedwork sessions & aikido prep

I've recently joined the local running club, but haven't been as often as I'd planned to.
I went along today to their weekly speedwork session & really enjoyed it. We ran 6 sets of 400 metres round the track, with a 3 minute rest between each lap. Boy, did those 3 minutes pass quickly!
I tried to run the laps at my fastest pace, but my legs were getting pretty tired on the 5th & 6th one. However, I can definitely see some improvement compared with when I was last at the track. 

I'd like to improve my fitness as part of my preparation towards my black belt. Well, this week so far has been pretty good, as I've cycled into work twice & run twice.

I also have an aikido practise before work tomorrow, & then we're off to visit the other clubs in our association for classes on Saturday & Sunday. 

I've also done some shiatsu study to exercise my brain as well!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Amma massage videos

When I attended the Sotai workshop in March, we were given a demonstration of amma massage by our teacher, Haruyoshi Ito
I'm the person being worked on & it was so relaxing that I didn't want to get up afterwards! 
Sorry about the quality of the videos, I think it must have been taken on a phone.
Haruyoshi Ito Amma Massage Therapy Sequence Part 1
Haruyoshi Ito Amma Massage Therapy Sequence Part 2

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Go gadget girl, go

I've always loved gadgets, but rarely buy them. I finally gave in & bought an iPod Touch & it's fantastic! I've been using GTD for some time now, & bought a filofax for this purpose. I love my filofax, but my handwritten action lists haven't been quite right for me. So when I was offered a 3 week old 8Gb Touch for £100, I snapped it up before it went on eBay.

I'm using the calendar synced with Google calendar for my shiatsu appointments, ZenBe Lists for GTD, Files lite to read documents & Acupoints Ultimate to help me learn my acupuncture points.   
I'm amazed at how easy it's been to set up & am kinda wondering why I didn't buy one sooner...

I was using Remember The Milk on the free 15 day trial, as I've used RTM before. After having a little look around, I decided on Zenbe Lists as I never used most of the functions in RTM. I've set up lists by context & also one for projects. It's simple, looks good on the iTouch, syncs with my PC & worked out a lot cheaper than a RTM pro account.  

Friday, 26 March 2010

Sotai workshop

I've just attended a fantastic 2 day Sotai workshop with Haruyoshi Ito.
I've previously studied this with Maruyama Sensei as part of my aikido training, & also with my shiatsu school. Getting caught up in shiatsu & other things, I think I'd forgotten just how simple & powerful sotai is.

I did some with a regular client of mine & it amazed him! 
More details to follow...