Meet this months Guest Blogger Madonna Williams. Madonna is an internationally accredited Yoga teacher (2002), Zen Thai Shiastu massage therapist (2010) and qualified in health sciences (1994) with a soulful approach to celebrating the body’s wisdom and inner spirit. Madonna is also a meditation teacher, dancer, healthy food enthusiast and essential oil addict who has dedicated her life teaching others to transform their health, wellness, confidence and self awareness.Madonna owns and teaches at her newest studio ‘Zen Soul Life’ based on the northern Gold Coast offering Yoga, pilates, meditation and massage. Madonna also created ‘Yoga Zen Soul’ as online video support for her students and followers and runs regular Yoga and wellness retreats at her favourite venue ‘Shambhala’ overlooking Belongil Beach in Byron bay. Her popular book ‘Zen Soul your Life’ has currently sold out of printed copies but still available as an eBook.
Madonna’s deepest intention is is to help everyone she meets to connect a truthful place of self awareness, presence, inner peace, strength and contentment…’we are what we think…so first we need to clear the mind, connect to the body, raise our frequency of positive energy and to create the thoughts we need for transformation’.
How do we create a healthy mix of life?
How do we balance our personal health and ﬁtness with our jobs, families, social life, hobbies, and all the incidentals that fall into one day?
It all becomes a matter of choice. Choosing what brings us joy, choosing what we love to do, choosing what we truly need, choosing who we want to spend time with and choosing what we truly desire. When we make choices that resonate with the truth of our heart, our lives become more simpliﬁed, things fall into place, life ﬂows and we feel more balance. Easier said than done? Well I used to agree, until I learnt and practised the art of Zen!
Ultimately, we’re all motivated by emotion. Emotional experiences inspire us to seek our truth and switch our mindsets to activate certain behavioural changes we desire. This may last for a limited period of time or until the emotional memory fades. Without a clear, positive, focused mindset and daily mind inspirations we easily become distracted and dissociated from our truest intentions, healthy aspirations and the balanced life we seek.
Need help getting started? Check out my 11 ZEN rituals below as a snapshot of the ‘Zen Soul Life’ program that was designed to motivate body respect, inspire life balance and cultivate deeper self love and truthful awareness. Practising these rituals for 11 weeks will literally start to change your life and certainly integrate a ‘Healthy Mix of Life’.
Why 11 weeks? It takes approximately 11 weeks for the body to assimilate new behavioural patterns as long term rituals and habits. How will you beneﬁt? You will start to feel relaxed, focused and rejuvenated to embrace a healthy mix of positive life rituals and start to savour every precious moment of your day including the lessons that your day will bring.
Remember mostly that the underlying intention of these rituals is to create space in your life for self love, inner nourishment and gratitude. Rituals that will strengthen and open your body, soothe your mind and nourish your spirit.
1. RISE EARLY between 5 – 6am and make your bed. If you struggle to get up early then set your alarm, choosing a peaceful song to gently awaken and make a commitment to get up with no self negotiation or second thought. Chi energy moves to the large intestine between 5-7am, hence its the optimum time with support front the universe to cut oﬀ what we don’t need, releasing negative thoughts from our mind and toxins from our body. Simply start moving, stretching and slowly getting out of bed. Making your bed symbolises the creation and birthing of a new day and a new opportunity to live your best life. Like wrapping a present, making the bed nurtures the appreciation of your new day gift!
2. MEDITATE for at least 10 mins every day. Meditation will help to soothe the busy mind, enhance mental focus and clarity and allow you to experience a deeper connection to the true you. Sitting in stillness with music, guided meditation or silence helps to quieten the mind and allow your spirit to shine. Our organic nature is deeply peaceful, content, empowered and loving. It is truly a gift to practise regular meditation and connect to the divine essence of your own presence. Daily meditation will also soften your face and help you feel empowered, positive and relaxed. This is the perfect way to set up your day!
‘The key to meditation is simply to sit still and pay attention to all of your senses. Turning inward to listen to the body, the breath, noticing sounds, smells and sensations without judgment, opening into the quiet bliss and basking in the warmth and contentment of presence itself.’ ‘Zen Soul Your Life’ eBook
‘Meditation: to learn to sit in the silence of your own beautiful true nature’
3. YOGA ~ Ideally three or more Yoga classes per week and a few daily postures will bring signiﬁcant balance, harmony, focus and inspiration to your life. Yoga will also help you strengthen and tone your body, balance hormonal swings, stabilise emotions, calm the nervous system, exude a healthy glow and nurtures a more conﬁdent and calm persona.
Over time, you walk lightly with more free spirit, ease and a sense of empowerment. You become more accepting, less reactive and overcoming your own boundaries and fears. One of my favourite personal beneﬁts from regular Yoga practise is the feeling that no matter what life delivers on the surface, the true essence of who you are never changes. When you allow the light of the present moment to burn inside, this will always ignite your life! I love sharing Yoga! Like to try a class from home with me? Check out the details of my A to Zen Yoga video here by clicking here.
4. GRATITUDE MANTRAS have so many health beneﬁts for the body and will help you attract more positive life experiences. Besides a higher happiness set-point, other beneﬁts of gratitude include feeling more connected (less lonely); strengthens the immune system; improves emotional balance; improves sleep; Increases energy; Increases conﬁdence ; Increases creativity; calms reactive attitudes and improves coping skills. After your daily meditation or Yoga practice, include a daily gratitude ritual. Take a moment to honour at least 5 aspects of your life that you are deeply grateful for. Perhaps also start your own gratitude journal and add images or drawings to deepen your feelings of gratitude. Your body will love you for this and the blessings will manifest in your life experiences and relationships.
5. DAILY BLESSINGS – each day honour the most important aspects of your mind, body and spirit. Take one precious moment devoted to this sacred practise of these 3 powerful blessings.
~ Bring your hands in a prayer to your mind ~ “Blessing my mind with positive, peaceful thoughts, free of judgement to myself and free of judgement to others”
~ Bring your hands in a prayer to your mouth and throat ~ ‘Blessing my voice with truth, wisdom, strength and positive words”
~ Bring your hands in prayer to your heart ‘Blessing my heart with love, compassion, gratitude and joy! I send peace and love to all living beings’
Eat Real Food
6. EAT REAL FOOD – try to eat only real unprocessed food such as fresh fruit and vegetables, vegetable juices, healthy smoothies (no sugar), ancient grains (no wheat or processed grains) clean protein such as tofu, tempeh, seeds, nuts, legumes, Yoghurt (natural), ﬁsh and organic hormone free meats.
EAT GREEN! Lots of daily greens will alkalise your body and therefore help you feel calm and energised. Alkalising will also improve your inner health, optimum body weight and outer beauty.
CUT TOXINS! If you cut out all forms of sugar and processed food, you are guaranteed to feel lighter, more balanced and less erratic. Sugar has the highest level of acid of any food products. There are so many fabulous alternatives such as raw or manuka honey, raw maple syrup, dates and raisins (in smoothies) or just fruit. (limit fruit 2-3/day) Learn your super foods. If you would like more ideas on food check out my eBook ‘Zen Soul Your Life’ eBook.
7. SWEAT once per day. We need to sweat! We need daily cardio exercise to stimulate healthy lymphatic and blood circulation, to cleanse and stimulate internal organ function, to strengthen the heart, to strengthen and tone the muscles and to lubricate the joints. Whether you walk, swim, run, gym, cycle, paddle, dance, Yoga, pilates, play team sport or even clean the house! Sweating releases toxins and tension from your mind and body. Daily exercise and sweating helps you feel more energised, relax more and sleep deeper.
The ‘Healthy Mix of Life’
8. DREAM your day. After the morning starters you will feel clear, energised and more creative to set up your day wish list. How do you desire your day to manifest or what do you intend to achieve with ease grace and gratitude. By taking just a few minutes to dream your day you will subconsciously send positive messages to every cell in your body, biochemically your body will produce more endorphins (happy hormones) excited for your day, energetically your body will start to align and open more channels of energy ﬂow as the heart chakra resonates with your positive thoughts. Choose joy, love, health, gratitude, creativity and productivity. The body thrives on loving and positive choices. Dreaming your day will help you reﬁne your priorities and intentions. As your energy and focus ﬂows to your intentions the ‘how’ and the intimate details will start to take care of themselves. The energy and power of your positive thoughts will attract the situations, people and experiences that you need to manifest your dream day. Soak up the whole day with delight and an attitude of gratitude. If things don’t according to plan, take the time to reassess and learn the lessons.
Rest & Retreat
9. REST and RETREAT ~ Nurture yourself with healthy meals, regular rest intervals, massages and plan for occasional Yoga or health retreats. Indulge in weekend trips to rain forests, nature reserves, beach locations or an idyllic country setting taking in powerful doses of fresh air and moderate doses of sunshine. Chronic illnesses, mental imbalance, hormonal swings and weight issues can stem from adrenal exhaustion. We all need to take more to rest and deeply surrender, Only when we truly rest and allow ourselves to let go, can we truly allow ourselves to rejuvenate and renew.
Love to plan a Retreat? Check out my Yoga and Wellness Retreats at the beautiful sanctuary ‘Shambhala’ overlooking Belongil Beach in Byron Bay.
Think Less, Feel More
10. THINK LESS FEEL MORE~ Your body always knows the truth. Tap into your intuition, softness, gut feelings and nurturing essence. Practicing regular Yoga and meditation will help you drop the seat of your awareness from your head to your heart. Your body is where the deepest part of your essence lives. This is where inspired thought gives you chills and when you feel more free to trust yourself. This is where courage blooms and you start to feel empowered to pursue your choices and dreams.
11. ESSENTIAL AROMAS – As a daily emotional balance ritual, I use these essential oils on the Chakra Balance guide as needed. I also use these oils in Yoga classes (5 drops in diﬀuser) and I apply to massage therapy clients. Derived from 100% pure plant extracts they are potently therapeutic and also contain multiple medicinal qualities. Similar to making the choice to eat organic food, you will derive more signiﬁcant beneﬁts from high potency purest quality oils with no ﬁllers or impurities added. Feel free to print your own Chakra Balance guide here for emotional and hormonal balance.
The oils will help to balance and harmonise energy ﬂow through the centre channels of the body (Chakra energy centres).
My choice of oils is from a company called doTERRA. They are the only oils approved with an international certiﬁed therapeutic grade and the potency is phenomenal! Want more on oils? Check out this amazing A to Z guide on the oils to help you heal or alleviate ailments.
Would like your own oils? Check out the selection by clicking here.
Most of all remember to LOVE laugh and talk! Stay connected to the people that support you or bring out the best in you. Remember your blessings! Keep smiling! Start to cherish your daily rituals for a HEALTHY MIX OF LIFE!