Taoist meditation is a powerful practice that originates from ancient China.
But how does it work?
And how do you begin practicing Taoist meditation?
In this guide, you’ll discover everything you need to know including techniques, exercises and Tao prayers to expand your practice.
Let’s jump in…
Taoism (also known as Daoism) is followed by millions of people around the world.
It’s recognised as a religion because of it’s following.
However, Taoism is more like a philosophy.
It actually originated from Laozi, an ancient philosopher from China.
This philosophy is about discovering universal truth:
But not just understanding it – you have to live in harmony and accept those universal truths too.
Tao meditations are a practice used alongside Taoism.
This form of meditation has been used for many centuries.
This form of meditation focuses specifically on mindfulness, concentration, visualization, and contemplation.
Sometimes Tao meditations are referred to as “returning to the source” or “embracing the one.”
Although other forms of meditation are similar to Tao meditations, they aren’t the same.
According to Project Meditation, the mild movements used in Taoist meditation are made spiritually as you’re moving physically.
Spiritual grounding is a big component of this practice.
These meditative applications are related to similar meditations used alongside the practice of Buddhism. In fact, guan or “observation” was incorporated into Daoism meditation after being inspired by Tianti Buddhist anapanasati or “mindfulness of breath” in the sixth century.
However, what makes Taoist meditation different from Buddhist meditation is that Taoist meditation focuses more on energy or chi, also sometimes spelt qi.
Taoist meditation techniques also have a close correlation with Chinese martial arts and traditional Chinese medicine.
Through engaging in Taoist meditation regularly, you can gain a higher state of awareness and a stronger understanding of the self.
Likewise, you can gain mental clarity and physical health benefits, like lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan, as a result of engaging in Taoist meditation.
It’s said that by harmonizing with yourself through Tao meditation, you’ll be able to harmonize with others.
In turn, this can help us achieve a more harmonious universe overall.
There are multiple techniques of Taoist meditation depending on the goal you want to obtain.
These power techniques are often divided into three different categories:
Before engaging in Tao meditation, however, it’s important to first understand what this form of meditation entails.
Joining a Tao temple can also help better familiarize yourself with the practice before delving into Tao meditation.
Now here’s some examples of Taoist meditation techniques…
This Taoist meditation technique emphasizes focusing on your inhalation and exhalation breathing patterns.
Breathing meditation is also often used alongside Buddhism and Hinduism.
In Taoism breathing meditation, it’s important to continue until the “breath becomes soft.”
Here’s how to get started:
Tip: If you’re engaging in breathing meditation correctly, you should notice that your stomach moves outwards and inwards more than your chest.
For those dealing with stress, anxiety, or other internal conflicts, emptiness meditation is a great Taoist technique to engage in.
The purpose of this type of meditation is to clear the mind of unwanted concerns, negative emotions, or an overabundance of thoughts or mental images.
Emptiness meditation is a little more complex than other types of meditation.
If you have difficulty with this type of meditation, try visualization or Qigong as an alternative:
In Taoist meditation, visualization is a technique that involves imagining visuals and then connecting those visuals to mental stimuli.
According to the NorthShore University HealthSystem, when one imagines calming visuals, it becomes easier to calm the physical body and tackle stressful thoughts on a mental level.
Visualization alone is a very powerful meditation technique on its own or in combination with other forms of Taoist meditation.
Apart from improving relaxation and decreasing stress, it’s said that it has the power to reduce depression, aid insomnia, improve immunity, and even relieve chronic pain and headaches.
Here’s how to practice this technique:
Through this Taoist meditation technique which has been around since the seventh or eighth century, the goal is to delve into tranquility and peace as you discover your genuine life path.
Nei means “inner” while guan translates to “view.”
Via this meditative practice, you’ll be visualizing both inside your mind as well as within the body.
Specifically, you’ll visualize your thought processes, your organs or “inner deities,” and your vital force or “qi” movements.
Neiguan meditation has correlations with traditional Chinese medicine.
Each of the five main organs that are visualized via Neiguan meditation helps you connect with your body in a deeper way.
Each organ of traditional Chinese medicine is connected to one emotion, one color, and one of five elements in Chinese philosophy.
Through Neiguan meditation, you must be able to join the breath and the body together, which isn’t always easy for beginners meditators.
Tip: Due to its complexity, it’s often best to join a Taoist group, get a personal teacher, and/or read a book for this form of meditation.
It takes significant practice to be able to visualize each of the five organs in the body. Thus, it’s a good idea to study traditional Chinese medicine as well as Neiguan.
Neidan meditation is another complex form of Taoist meditation.
Via this technique, one engages in a combination of visualization, concentration, movement, and breathing exercises.
It’s recommended that you focus on concentration/visualization, movement, and breathing exercises alone before building up to Neidan meditation.
Because of the intricacies involved in this form of meditation, it’s also recommended that you get help from a professional and/or read a book on Nedian meditation.
Breathing techniques are an integral part of many Taoist meditations.
In fact, those who practice Taoism believe proper breathing is essential for good overall health.
However, most people have poor breathing habits:
The purpose of Taoist meditation breathing techniques is to build your qi, induce relaxation, and improve internal organ functioning.
Taoist breathing typically involves four stages: inhalation, retention, exhalation, and pause.
Here’s a few techniques for engaging in Taoist breathing…
Embryonic breathing is sometimes referred to as “stopping the breath.”
However, in this case, stopping the breath isn’t synonymous with holding your breath.
Rather, through this breathing technique, one no longer becomes aware of their breathing because of how natural it occurs.
This technique is especially great for those who tend to focus too much on their breathing, which may result in unintentional and accidental hyperventilation, hypoventilation, or breath-holding.
Holding a feather in front of your nose, you’ll notice that your breath doesn’t make the feather move or may very subtly make it move.
This can help you to learn to breathe more naturally and not focus too much on your breathing itself.
As expected, natural breathing refers to the breathing we engage in daily.
However, many of us still fail to engage in a proper natural breathing technique.
Natural breathing involves contracting your diaphragm as you inhale, pushing out the belly, and inflating your lungs.
The opposite occurs as you exhale.
Breathing via this technique should be slow, deep, fine, and even to ensure you’re inhaling enough oxygen and releasing enough carbon dioxide.
Reverse breathing is essentially the opposite of natural breathing.
It involves inhaling deeply, contracting your abdomen, and letting the air delve into your upper lungs.
As you exhale via this breathing technique, you push your abdomen out.
Via reverse breathing, the air you inhale moves horizontally back and forth in the stomach as you exhale.
Tao yin or Taoist yoga, one of the original forms of Qigong, are different types of exercises practiced by Taoists to ignite qi or inner energy.
These exercises are often done sitting or lying down but in some cases can also be done in standing position.
To goal of Tao yin is to bolster the mind, body, and spirit by creating a balance between internal and external energies.
You can also gain strength and flexibility by engaging in these exercises.
Although Taoists move slowly when engaging in different meditative exercises, you can still gain muscle and tone, lose weight, and boost your strength and endurance.
Here’s some the best Tao Yin exercises you can try at home…
This exercise is ideal if you suffer from constipation, insomnia, bronchitis, diarrhea, obesity, ulcers or stomach pain, or female-related problems.
With the Peacock Looks at Its Tail Tao Yin exercise, you’ll be able to stretch your shoulders, neck, thighs, and thorax.
The Deer Pose in Qigong / Tao Yin, which is related to the water element, can aid with the bladder and kidneys while also improving the body’s connective tissues.
Unlike prayer apart of many other religions, Taoists don’t pray to a specific god or series of gods.
Although many consider Taoism a religion, some state that’s it’s more of a philosophy.
However, prayer still plays a valuable role in the practice of Taoism.
Rather than praying directly to a higher being, Taoists pray in accordance with the Tao as they engage in meditation.
In a sense, Taoists essentially pray “to themselves.”
Prayers in Taoism are often conceived in the form of complex, spiritual poems.
These prayers may gravitate around asking for forgiveness, for blessings or success to come, or for peace and blessings for your loved ones.
When engaging in prayer, Taoists ball their fists with their left fist over their right as their thumbs are tucked, forming a Ying-Yang symbol.
As a sacrifice, incense sticks are often offered with the left hand.
Some titles of specific prayers of Taoism are as follows:
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The class focuses on pelvic floor recovery, core stability, functional exercises to support you in everyday mum life, posture restore and relaxation.
The classes are full of energy with lots to keep the little ones entertained to give you time to focus on you.
The classes are run by fully certified pre and post natal personal trainer, with a specialised qualification in pre and post natal exercise.
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So we work with people, with passions, with problems and with potential.
We start by helping people to discover their passions – who they are, what they are made for, how they are wired and how to get the best out for themselves. We then work with them (and sometimes their team and/or organisation) to overcome the key problems and challenges preventing them living out the passions they have identified. Individuals are equipped and empowered to access the latent potential within themselves, their team, their system and their environment, to be able to do more, see more, experience more, advance more and achieve more.
We work with leaders, leadership teams and organisations training leaders around areas such as vision clarity, culture development, leadership development, team/group practices and community engagement). Our training processes are dynamic, interactive and tailored to the context and culture, and are delivered in many different ways (morning or one-day workshops, consultancy with a team, online coaching or 36 or 48-hour training events for teams).
We use the same principles in every context and culture, specifically applied to the individual or organisation we are working with. For example, our work at Tribe Porty with the Family Coaching sessions was to create an environment of discussion and discovery for couples to work towards owning clarity, purpose and intentionality as families within their relationships and resources.
We also work in collaboration with other organisations in particular projects or geography. Our training is currently happening in 27 different countries acrss teh globe – many places, in many forms. Amongst others, we have worked with Healthcare charities and consultancy business in Scotland, Youth Organisations in Kenya, Denominations in Australia and New Zealand and many more.
We also train on communication skills & projects with leaders to help individuals and organisations find their voice, tell their story and engage their people.
The passion of Catalyse Change is to see healthy, authentic and effective leadership expressed in every sphere, country and context.
This post was written for my beloved coworking community, Tribe Porty in Portobello, Edinburgh in Scotland.
Why is it that co-working at Tribe is so very pleasant?
It’s because we’re all a bit in love with each other…
I’m not talking about secret trysts and unrequited infatuation; it’s what psychologist Dr Barbara Fredrickson calls ‘positivity resonance’. AKA, love.
Every time we fully engage with people, whenever we feel we’ve clicked with someone, and all those moments we share a feeling of mutual connection, it’s love, says Fredrickson.
Seen in this way, love isn’t some rare, lofty state, enjoyed only when all the stars align and feelings are intense between two (or a select number of) people.
Instead, love is experienced in the micro-moments of real-time connection we can get all around us. In other words, when we resonate with people in person, anytime, anywhere, we get a dose of love.
It happens when you smile at the driver giving way and they smile back. It’s when you stop for a chat about your dogs with a stranger on the beach. It’s when you’re actually present with the people you spend time with (rather than checking your phone or worrying about your to-do list).
At Tribe Porty, love abounds when someone offers you a cup of tea, you share a joke across the hotdesk, or you grab a bite with whoever’s in reception!
The thought of this might be making you feel warm and fuzzy, but what’ll blow your socks off is the impact positivity resonance has on our brains and long-term health and wellbeing!
Each of those momentary experiences of connection deepen the bond and commitment between people because we become biosynchronous; that is, our neuronal emotional responses literally mimic each other. We genuinely feel with the other person, because our neurons fire and neurotransmitters release in synchrony with them.
Isn’t that lovely?
What’s more, micro-moments of connection optimise the functioning of the vagus nerve, the link between brain and heart. Doing so steadies heart rate, regulates blood sugar and improves immune response, which are vitally important for the body’s health.
High vagal tones also help us maintain attention and deal with emotions, which together improve our social skills. And since being socially adept means more opportunities for positivity resonance, a virtuous cycle is born!
Next time you’re reaching for a left-over Nairn’s oat cake and your hand brushes a fellow Triber’s so that you both have a giggle, go ahead. Tell them you love them. They’ll get it.
Check out Fredrickson’s article in the NY Times
Take her six-week course in Positive Psychology free on Coursera
Read her book, Love 2.0
Lorna Lythgoe on www.growthseekers.co.uk
To my mind, entrepreneurs are more exciting, creative and interesting people than conventional me. An entrepreneur is ready to sacrifice family life, friends and even their own homes, in pursuit of success.
An entrepreneur was never someone I could aspire to be.
Or could I?
I began my career in a typical corporate environment, joining the graduate training programme of a major UK company and enjoyed a variety of jobs in marketing, sales and communications. I was moderately successful, my career was enjoyable and challenging at times. But I could never shake the feeling that I was forcing myself into a mould, trying to be something that I wasn’t, and worse, that everyone could see through me.
When I returned to work full time after the birth of my two children this sense of not belonging intensified.
By now, I was in my mid-30s. I had taken four years out from my career while the children were very young and we had moved from London to be nearer to my home in Scotland. I’d notched up some hard life knocks and was struggling to rediscover my identity. I wondered if I had lost my mojo; if I was destined to always be just someone’s wife and mother.
Still, I battled on regardless. With a demanding job and two young children, there wasn’t time for anything else, but gradually I became more and more stressed and was constantly blaming myself for everything that seemed to be going wrong in my life. The innate confidence I’d taken for granted in my youth had eroded, until it dawned on me that I was making myself ill.
Ironically, my saviour came in the form of a new female boss who was a bully. When backed in to a corner I rediscovered the strength to stand up for myself, which in turn gave me the boost that I needed to finally make a change.
While recovering from that situation, a friend introduced me to Dominique King. Dominique had incredible energy, confidence and an exciting vision. She felt like the antidote to everything I felt about myself.
She wanted to start a business, and had no fixed ideas about what that business would be. Like me, Domi wanted a new challenge, to be in control and free to build a professional life that fitted with her values and didn’t mean compromising time with her family. Most importantly, she didn’t want to do it alone and had spent the last couple of years searching for someone to join her on the journey.
After several meetings, a lot of soul searching and some (quite hard) conversations with my husband we concluded there was never going to be a better time for me to take this leap in the dark. Instead of finding another salaried job, I was going to embark on an entirely new and surprising adventure with Dominique, to set up our company, Wunderlife.
Together, we created a new product for families like ours that love the outdoors. The Brug is a picnic blanket that turns in to a shoulder bag, to make packing for a family day out as easy as possible. We created a brand and designed our website, travelling to India to find our manufacturer. We’ve sold the Brug all over the world, run a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter and been selected to appear on the Channel 4 show, Buy It Now. Being a business owner has been a huge learning experience and often stressful but it gave me a deep sense of fulfilment and helped me rediscover confidence in my own abilities.
If there is a downside it’s that starting a business, especially a product business, is financially very challenging and we have never been able to pay ourselves a salary. I soon realized that I would have to make time to earn money again.
When the opportunity came up to work with another inspiring woman, Dani Trudeau, to set up Tribe Women, an enterprise school and community for women, it felt like the stars had aligned at exactly the right moment.
How brilliant to be able to draw on my recent experiences, to work with women, supporting each other to step out of our comfort zones and achieve things we never thought possible, without sacrificing our health and wellbeing, or that of our families. To become an entrepreneur.
1. I’ve finally learned to listen to my intuition and trust that it will take me where I need to go. I did not know that starting a business (something I had never done before) with a stranger was a good decision but I felt that it could be. I’m so glad now that I listened to that positive voice in my head.
2. Authenticity is important. Only when I stopped trying to be something that I wasn’t, did I finally accept that me, my authentic self, is all that I can be and that’s enough. If it’s not, then the environment is wrong – not me.
3. Don’t do it alone. Surround yourself with good people who inspire, challenge and support you, and accept you for who you are.
4. Stay curious and open to opportunities. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to get things wrong because you will learn and grow from every mistake.
5. If you have an idea and a passion, find ways to pursue it, every day. Whether you have a lot of time, or a little, if you work on it consistently, you will make progress.
Coming from a mental health background I became interested in the body and mind. I wanted to be able to make a contribution to the health of others. After my Mental Health Qualification, and working in the NHS / Voluntary Sector, my next aims were to gain qualifications in alternative therapies. I then studied to become a Reflexologist and Indian Head masseuse.
To continue with my personal development of health and well-being, I registered for a Yoga Teacher training course in 2011. My love for yoga came from my own practice over many years, and this inspired me to become a yoga instructor, so I could share the many gifts and benefits of yoga with others. I ran some smaller classes as a student Yoga Teacher in 2012, and since then have been running classes since I qualified in 2013.
I have completed further training so I can offer yoga to almost any age group and completed my Kids and Teens Yoga in 2014.
In 2017 I completed level 1 Teach children Meditation. The course consisted of:
> Understanding how stress affects the mind, body and emotions
> Learn how meditation can be a powerful antidote to stress and anxiety for all ages.
> Learn how to create meditation scripts for any age/ability of child/teen
> Develop your confidence in delivering meditations to children
> Understand the differences between meditation and mindfulness
> Learn to tune in to your child’s needs so you can deliver the most healing meditations for children/teens
> Learn how to set up a meditation space suitable for children (from toddlers + to teens)
> Understand the differences in teaching children meditation of different ages
Yoga for children is more than just teaching Yoga, its offering a range of holistic activities and experiences to create a substantial foundation for young people. In an over – stimulated world that is moving very quickly and where children are growing up faster than ever are Yoga, relaxation, and meditation are vital in providing a place of calm, balance, and creating a healthy body in which to grow.
In teaching children Yoga, we can use a holistic heart-based approach to uphold, support, inspire and motivate children.
> stretches and strengthens the growing bodies, maintain and increases flexibility, develops co-ordination, balance and good posture.
> Is non-competitive, teaches non-judgement towards self and others.
> Great for fun, focus, concentration, stillness, calm.
> Develops heathy lungs, brings awareness to the breath.
> Teaches self-management – building up resilience and managing emotions.
> Reduces stress and anxiety.
Games and partner work > Interactive – building confidence, self -esteem, and social skills.
Provides opportunities for creative thinking, problem solving, and fun
Relaxation and Visualisation
Adult Yoga class: Wednesdays, 1-2pm
Children and Parent class (age 3-6): Friday, 1.30pm – 2.30pm
Children and Parent class (age 7-10): Saturday, 12.30-1.30pm
(£5.50 per child)
Fibre artist/felt maker
Amy Davidson was born and raised in East Lothian where much of her influences come from . The natural wildlife found in east Lothian is of birds and local beach landscapes.
She graduated in 2015 with a degree in ‘Design for textiles’ from Heriot Watt university . The course involved drawing to influence knit, weave and print designs. Amy then specialised in knit design and was really interested in creating different textures. She came across felting near the end of her degree and loved experimenting with felt and knit together. After taking many classes to progress in this medium she then found needle felting. Amy likes how sensory felting is and how versatile the material wool roving is. Wool roving is a long and narrow bundle of fiber that is used in most felt techniques and is a main component of it . Needle felting can be described as ‘painting with wool’and this has allowed Amy to combine her love of painting and felting.
Amy has been teaching felt workshops for a number of years. She has taught workshops for children at Jupiter Artland and she loves how versatile felt is.Wet felting is great for children as its so tactile, fun and messy!. But Amy has also found that needle felting in particular is a great way to help with anxiety and stress. When felting you need to completely concentrate on it and it allows you some quiet time to relax. She has also taught workshops for work days out/team building days and hopes to continue teaching to many different organisations.
Amy has also recently grown her business as alongside her workshops she has started selling her felt creations online and at markets. Her business is named Fluff as she uses wool roving which is a very ‘fluffy’ , soft material and she now teaches felting workshops to different organisations.
Felting programme Tribe Porty January – June 2018 – a Saturday each month
Monthly series of workshops where participants can learn the art of felting, there will be a workshop suited to everyone in family! We will teach you different techniques used to felt such as needle felting, wet felting and nuno felting.
27th January – Adults workshop- Beginners ‘ Painting with wool ‘ -needle felting
Part of a monthly series on the art of felting , we will first introduce participants to needle felting . In this 2 hour workshop you will learn how to create a landscape with wool roving which is said to be like painting with wool. Also learn how to use the special felting needle, blend colours and create a textural piece to frame in an embroidery hoop . A perfect piece of art to hang in your living room.
24th February workshop- Children’s workshop ages younger children 5-9 years Wet felted landscape
In this 2 hour workshop children will learn how to wetfelt and create a textured wall hanging. Using yarn and wool roving they will create a tactile piece of art . We will use differnt yarns and fibres then trap it in the felt to create interesting shapes . It’s a chance to go crazy on materials and create a fun , fuzzy wall hanging.
31st March- Adult workshop Beginners- intermediates Felted pots
In this 2 hour workshop participants will learn how to create a sculptural 3D pot using only wool. Learn how to blend colours together to create exciting colour combinations and textures . Participants will learn the technique of wet felting and sculpt the wool roving to make a stand alone pot .
28th April – Children’s workshop ages 8 upwards – older children – Needle felted pug (Dog)
In this fun workshop participants will learn the skills needed to make a 3d felted pug! Suitable for older children as thimbles will be provided when working with the specialist needle felting needle. This workshop will teach participants how to sculpt the 3D shape of a dog and add in the details with the needle to create a Pug.
26th May- Adults workshop-older adults Nuno felting brooch
In this workshop we will explore wet felting by using the technique of Nuno felting which incorporates silk and fine wool together to make a unique flower brooch.T he technique bonds loose fibre, usually wool, into a sheer fabric such as silk gauze, creating a lightweight felt. Participants will create a brooch . It will incorporate the skills of Blending silks and wools together, finding out what fabrics felt well and lastly learning about wool shrinkage and how to gauge it shaping on a form(a flower)
23rd June- Adult workshop Needle felted cactus
Perfect for summer , you will learn the techniques needed to make a 3D felted cactus and we will show you how to needlefelt all the details using the felting needle. Make a realistic looking cactus that doesn’t need watering!
Simplicity becomes harder to grasp during the Christmas season. We are bombarded with so much advertising beginning before Black Friday. Shopping with the deadline for the best price brings stress to “buy more, more, more, right now.” December activities cram the calendar and we become hyper busy and worn out.
It’s hard to go against the cultural trends and slow down to enjoy the season. The classic Christmas movies create nostalgia for a simpler time. In the faster pace we miss the satisfaction of enjoying simple things, like taking walks through our neighbourhoods just to see Christmas lights, standing by the beach, breathing in that fresh air, listening to the rhythm of the waves, enjoying a cup of coffee with a friend, or stopping to listen to some music.
Did you know that the word “simplicity” comes from a Hebrew word meaning sincerity of heart, integrity, a singleness of mind?
With this in mind, ask yourself this: How can my activities reflect sincerity of heart and desire to celebrate Christmas?
Contentment is also a part of simplicity. Contentment learns to say “I have all that I need.” When this spills into our December life, we lose a little craziness and gain a little peace.
Wishing you all a wonderful festive period, embracing the word SIMPLICITY, and making it special!
It’s December! The Christmas madness has started, so many things to do, tasks to complete, before the 25th December, I am sweating and trembling at the sheer thought of it – how did it come around so quickly again? Did we not say we’d be well prepared this time, and approach it all calm and steady?
If you are anything like me, you need to STOP:
We at Tribe Porty, encourage you to keep things simple this month, too! Everything can get too much, when all it takes is a little. Be present, be with your loved ones, embrace what you have and count your blessings.
One way of stopping the madness is to get on your mat and get moving, do yoga, breathe, and let the breath guide your movement!
Tribe Porty is very lucky to have this beautiful and gifted yogi join us, I will hand you over to Brigid – who you might already have seen over at Instagram – let her help you add some mindfulness and balance to your Christmas madness:
Hello! Let me to introduce myself: my name is Brigid Brennan (the Irish spelling), and I am a freelance yoga instructor from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I came to Edinburgh in August, right in the midst of the Fringe Festival! Since then, I have picked up a few classes around town, and I am so happy to have begun teaching twice weekly at Tribe Porty.
My background in movement initiated when I was five years old with Irish Dancing. I traveled around the United States competing on the national level, and twice qualified and competed in the World Championships in Ireland. Once I went off to pursue higher education, I left behind my dancing days, though the dedication and discipline honed through this craft have remained with me since then.
Yoga entered my life while I was studying abroad in Florence, Italy. I ended up staying in Florence for nearly five years, studying, working, traveling, and eventually completing my teacher training certification in Ashtanga Vinyasa. While I no longer practice Ashtanga Yoga, my teaching has definitely evolved in such a way as to incorporate some of the more flowing movements associated with dance.
My main aim in every yoga class is to make each student feel good! What is not to like about feeling good about your body, and having a more positive outlook on life? With each class, I provide lots of options to make yoga accessible, no matter the level of the practitioner. I enjoy working with beginners just as well as teaching a fast-paced Vinyasa Flow class.
In the future, my aim is to run international yoga retreats, mainly around the Mediterranean. This past summer I had the absolutely pleasure of teaching two retreats in Croatia, where I hope to return. Other destinations will include Portugal, Spain, Morocco, and very likely a return trip to Italy. Please drop me a line or stop in to one of the two classes I offer at Tribe Porty on Tuesdays. I would be so happy to meet you!
Tuesday Lunchtime, 12.30pm – Vinyasa Flow
Tuesday Evening, 6.15pm – Vinyasa Flow
January only: Thursday evening, 7.30pm – Yin Yoga
Contact: Find Brigid on Instagram or email her: brigid.brennan1
Class prices: £10 drop in
£45 for 5 classes
£80 for 10 classes.
Let’s not call that toxic masculinity. Saying “toxic masculinity” implies that masculinity is the core problem here, and suggests that a tiny bit of masculinity might also be a tiny bit poisonous. Using the word masculinity suggests that all men have a toxic core. I don’t buy that. What we’re seeing in the Sociopathic Baby-Man bestrides the world of ordinary men like a colossus. It’s more important than ever to make this distinction.-by Heather Havrilesky,
Read her full article -Don’t Call It ‘Toxic Masculinity.’ They’re Sociopathic Baby-Men
The past week or so has been interesting to experience, watch, partake and converse about. From the #Me Too ‘campaign’ (although here is a link to the original campaign which did not come from Alyssa Milano), to the media and public’s reactions to Weinstein, to the conversations around raising our sons and daughters, changing our language away from the victims and put the emphasis on the aggressor or the one abusing their power. If you haven’t been thinking and speaking about it, even just a little, maybe you should.
I have struggled with the phrases; boys will be boys and extreme male to define some ‘masculine’ behaviours. I don’t want the males I know and love to be put in the category of masculine if they have to stand next to the power-hungry, human-destroying, women-fearing, pussy-grabbing, consume-at-all costs, kind of men. Maybe the best term for them is sociopathic baby-men-I am not quite convinced but I get what she is saying. We definitely need to stop calling it masculinity. I for one want to raise a strong, empathetic, human loving son. I want him to be able to cry, love and feel deeply for all living things. I don’t want him to have to imagine an unfamiliar women is me or his sister when he is older and partying at a club to be able to not mistreat her. I want his deep respect for all humans lead his decision making. This sounds so basic but it seems not to be our current norm. Culturally we live in a world where we normalise abuse, we accept world leaders who brag of the dominance over women, we use language which puts all of the burden on the victims. (I recommend reading this, Don’t Talk to Your Sons About Sex – Talk About This Instead).
So why is it so hard to stand up to these types of people and why do people silently watch these men abuse their power? Better question, why have I let several men abuse their power over me? This is obviously complicated and highly personal but I bet the story is very, very common. The world tells us to be quiet, to not make a big deal of things, to get over it, move on. This is part of the problem. From older kids, teachers, ‘friends’, bosses, ex partners, strangers; I can actually think of endless examples of men thrusting their attempts of power over me. Some of these attempts have landed with serious actions and have been followed by life changing views of myself. This is powerful stuff. We need to reset our baseline of acceptability. All of us. This is the time to believe victims- it is not easy to come forward.
There are so many little ways the balance of power is played out in what some might consider small incidents.
I can actually give an example which happened just last week. I received a creepy, unsolicited instagram message from someone I do not really know. I met him once at a café a few years ago. The text was about a dream he had and was extremely creepy, ended with I love you and was totally out of the blue. I ignored it at first, thinking that it must have been sent by mistake. Then I remembered my friend saying she thought he was shady so shared it with her. Instantly she was angry and wanted to take action. This happens when you doubt yourself a bit. My friend doubted herself enough not to confront him at the time. She just avoided him and moved on. When someone does something a little off but does it in such a way that you question yourself. These are skilful predators. This is one reason why we must not respond to ourselves or to others with anything but support in the first instance. But we don’t. Even as I wrote this paragraph, there were doubting thoughts about what others might think. Will some folk think that there must be more to the story; that I must have done something to warrant such message. Nope. I did nothing, absolutely nothing.
My friend immediately rallied trusted troops (men actually) and instantly they all had my back. After a few ideas of how to best handle this, one friend wrote a suggested response. It was perfect. It was strong, confident, took-no-blame- perfect. This made me feel loved, protected, justified and in power.
It also made me think of all of the times when people didn’t respond this way. Feeling false guilt, shame, blame and deeply damaged is exacerbated when people don’t believe your pain or your truths. Sadly, I think the majority of people respond badly, if at all, to these types of situations. Let’s change this. Let’s not make it a female/male thing. Let’s look at all of us in the confusion as humans. How do we treat fellow humans? We should want better for ourselves and for our fellow humans. The time is way past now to make it all of our responsibility.
For me, I am making more of an effort to think of all of us as humans too. I am trying to stop saying ‘all men…’ After all, we all have different experiences and although I have been hurt more often and deeper by men in my past, I have also loved many men. I too need to see past the gender and look at the person.
Here is an excellent blog post by columnist, Courtney E. Martin, For Guys Reading #MeToo Testimonies. “A world this riddled with sexual harassment and abuse will never be healed by a hashtag, that’s for sure. Yet, this moment could be the first one that you choose to do something different, to lay the first brick in a world that is built differently, a world safe for women’s bodies and men’s feelings, a world worthy of everyone’s wholeness”.
And to the creep sending messages to women you don’t know, I am really not sure how to help you and more importantly, how to stop you from deceiving and preying on women. For a start, read the article at the top and understand the part you play in it all. Secondly, I believe this is really about fear and violence. It sadly makes up the fabric of our world and nothing less than the dismantling of our current systems, a complete discrediting of what we now consider power, will compel the sweeping change we so badly need to see.
And to my friends, you rock. I wish everyone out there had you guys behind them.
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