Welcome to the first of the Calm Soul Journal interview series.
As part of my efforts to bring more calm in to my life and soul over the last few months, I started to get curious about how some of my fellow blogging sisters find that often elusive sense of calm in their everyday lives and if there was anything we could learn from them? There is!
This week we meet the wonderful Nichola Veitch, a big hearted Yoga Teacher based in Edinburgh. I love her blog and her desire to help people find their own inner wellness through yoga, healing, nutrition and self care.
Nichola, tell us a wee bit about yourself...
I'm a tea drinking, nature loving bookworm. Officially, I'm a yoga teacher, reiki practitioner and health coach in training. I'm passionate about working with people to explore ways they can live a more healthy, happy life. I spend my days practicing and sharing the magic of yoga with others by teaching classes and private sessions. I'm always studying because the more you learn the more you discover there is to learn.
When I don't have my nose in a book, I'm walking my dogs in the Scottish hills, discovering delicious healthy recipes in the kitchen, and writing - sharing my musings on my blog.Calmsoul journal questions:
What does having a calm soul mean to you?
A calm soul brings about a feeling of contentedness, a quiet inner smile and a feeling that all is well, regardless of how life appears. It’s an inner state. I can flow with life through each change that comes my way. A calm soul brings me to a state of inner peace and acceptance, no resistance to what is, no analysis of how, when or what if. The struggle has gone. Dare I say it is blissful. To feel anchored in my inner being, feeling I can ride any wave and not get swept away by the ever-changing tide. How do you find calm in your everyday life?
Meditation and yoga are at the heart of my practice. Bringing these into my morning routine helps me to feel more calm throughout my day by creating more space between my thoughts and reactions.
When my mind is spinning and I find myself in overwhelm, I journal. Writing out my thoughts helps me to understand what I really think and feel. Then I know what’s actually going on and how I can help myself. When I need some time out, that’s when going out for a walk can really soothe me. I find nature to be a powerful calming influence on my heart and soul. I can ask myself questions and allow space for answers to arise naturally. I always return feeling clearer, a little lighter in my being and with a plan of action for the rest of my day (I like a plan ☺).
What happens to you when you lose your sense of calm?
I feel rattled, irritable, with an overriding sense of unease and restlessness. It’s not pleasant for me or anyone else around me. I find negative thoughts creeping in, I become lazy and avoid practising yoga or making the fresh juice or healthy meal I bought all the ingredients for and I generally do not feel good.
I think sometimes we have to allow these feelings to have their way with us. But I put a time limit on it, no weeping and wallowing Bridget Jones style! Some days are for drinking tea and reading a book, watching your favourite show on Netflix, or talking it over with friends. I find by allowing some time out, when I come back to my work or healthy routine it tends to flow effortlessly again and my sense of inner calm returns.
Please can you share any particular calming ritual or process that you have?
To come back to my breath. Using the breath to release tension and stress or to calm an anxious mind works wonders for me.
One of my favourite breathing practices at the moment is to inhale deeply through the nose, drawing the breath down into the tummy, inhale some more and fill yourself up completely. Hold the breath – feel the space inside increase and then exhale sighing out through the mouth, feel the tension flowing out of you.
This is great to practise lying down, feeling your body growing heavier and heavier as you release and let go with each exhalation. Repeat this 3 – 5 times, or as many as needed.
I’ve shared more about breathing practices here.
Practising yoga helps thoughts and feelings to move through my body, leaving me feeling lighter and happier. And writing out my thoughts through journaling helps to let go of spiralling thoughts that are clogging up my mind, then I can find peace in meditation.
These practices work for me every time, whether it takes a day or a week, they eventually help me to move through tension and worry and bring me back to myself, to a feeling of calm, inner knowing and trust.
What advice do you have for others who are wanting to create more calm in their lives?
Find your own self-care practice that brings you to a place of inner calm. Find that thing that while your doing it, nothing else gets in, thoughts drift into the background and you’re fully present in the moment while practising that activity. Those are the things that are very nurturing and healing for you. They will bring you to a place of inner stillness and calm.
Find what works for you. There is no right or wrong. No analysis. Tune in to what feels good for you. Perhaps you enjoy writing, reading books or poetry, drawing or painting, horse riding, yoga, meditation, walks in nature, jogging, cooking, whatever it is for you.
You may need to create space in your day to reflect on what you enjoy doing and how you can bring those activities into your life.
When life gets crazy, and you feel like you’re drowning, these activities become your lifeboats back to the shores of sanity, back to a happy, healthy life. For me it’s yoga, meditation, walks in nature and journaling, find the ones that work for you.
Finally, this bookworm cannot turn down an opportunity to recommend a book. I recently read and loved Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and loved her message; to commit to your creative self and give yourself permission to just do it, not for recognition, or any other reason than it makes you feel good. Give yourself permission to play. Let your creativity run free, without judgment. Allow yourself to express your creativity in your own beautiful way and notice the positive changes it brings into your life.
A Huge thank you to Nichola for sharing some truly thoughtful wisdom and experience with us. I especially love the combination of yoga, breathing and journalling. You can find Nichola's beautiful and inspirational website at www.nicholaveitch.com.
Nichola is a book-loving, tea-drinking, heart-centred yoga teacher, Reiki practitioner and health coach-in-training. She is trained in various yoga traditions including Sivananda, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow (all forms of Hatha yoga), and Kundalini yoga as well as training in Yoga Therapy, Yoga for Children with Radiant Child, and Perinatal Yoga with Birthlight. Her training continues with Shiva Rea in Prana Flow yoga, which forms the heart of her teachings.Her soul purpose is working with people who are ready to make a change to their life.
She is passionate about sharing the magic of yoga and a healthy lifestyle to support a happy, balanced life. Her aim is to guide you to slow down, let go, and reconnect to yourself, paving the way for a life you love. One that loves you back!