“When the Student is Ready, the Teacher will appear.” – Buddha
I came across this quote on the same day that an invitation to meet a lady named Katie Brindle dropped into my inbox. At first, I didn’t find any meaning in it. It’s only now, three months later, looking back at what I learnt from meeting Katie, that I have gained an understanding. Most of us hear what we are ready to hear, and if we are not ready to receive advice, we gain nothing. The teacher is always ready to teach, while the student is not always ready to listen.
My typical day involves busy early mornings filled with answering emails, writing, editing, photographing, filled with busy afternoons of meetings, more emails, and evenings committed to completed projects. With such a jam packed schedule, there’s little room to squeeze in a workout, never mind attempting to practise mindfulness.
Working our minds and bodies to the absolute maximum like this is doing us no good at all, and the more chaotic our routines, the more important it becomes to take a moment and be mindful.
When I met Katie, I didn’t really know what to expect. I’d heard about Chinese Medicine in the past, and something about it fascinated me. The idea that your body works on an energetic level, known as Qi, and by understanding the movements of your bodies energy, you can heal yourself naturally.
Where does this come into a blog post about stress? Well, stress, anxiety, depression and many other problems that affect us in our twenties especially, can be helped or avoided with Chinese Medicine. At the very time when I needed to discover this the most, I was introduced to Katie; the creator of the Hay’ou method.
The Hayo’u Method
Katie Brindle totally gets it. Sometimes I barely have time to apply lipstick in the mornings, let alone practise full on meditation, but just 10 minutes after meeting Katie, I knew that all had to change. I’ve mentioned in previous posts about how the way you spend your morning truly has a great impact on the rest of your day, so starting stressed and busy is only going to lead to a day full of those exact same feelings.
Katie knows that we don’t have time for half an hour or even ten minutes of rituals, even those that benefit us hugely, so she created the Hay’ou Method, which includes one-minute rituals which can easily be slotted into your daily routine.
Firstly, breathing for just one minute. You can do this in the shower, you can do it while waiting for the bus, but if you have time, my favourite thing to do is to step outside first thing in the morning (usually while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil) and take long deep breathes, filling the body with air, while enjoying the sensation of the wind and the noises of the outside world while it’s still and quite in the early hours.
Why do it? Katie explained (far better than I ever could) hows breathing is proven to be the antidote to stress. It sounds airy fairy but scientifically, breathing deeply makes it harder for acidity in your body to thrive, which immediately reverses stress levels. There’s no wonder that when we are stressed we are told to take a deep breath, because it truly works. Next time you start to feel your heart racing, and you’re getting wound up with the amount of work you have to do, just stop for one minute and breathe.
I’ve been practising this most mornings since meeting Katie in May. If I forget, I don’t worry about it, I just do it the next day. They say you have to do something three days in a row for it to become a habit, and 9 days for it to become a part of your routine, and since it’s become a part of my daily routine I feel more calm, mindful and grateful.
Shake It Out
I don’t know about you, but when I feel stressed, by whole body feels heavy. There’s something about having a good old shake around that instantly perks you up, and shaking is another of Katie’s One Minute Rituals. For just a few moments, stop taking yourself so seriously. I look like a total idiot when I do this, and I usually do it while my blender is whizzing up my morning smoothie, yep, I shake to the sound of my blender. (I can not wait to show you my latest Morning Routine video, coming soon, this part is probably the highlight.)
Katie explained to me how shaking wakes up the body, invigorates your circulation and activates your muscles. Anything lingering in the body is cleared out just by shaking yourself all about. Now, unlike breathing, this is not one to do at the bus stop. I mean hey, you can do, but personally I like to do it in the privacy of my own kitchen, shaking out my whole body like nobody’s watching. Laugh about it, if someone spots you doing them, get them to do it too! Once they’ve had a real shake about, they will feel silly too but also invigorated! Refreshed! Alive! In fact, if you’re reading this in private then stand up, and SHAKE. Do It!
So while my strawberries, bananas, and whatever superfood I’m trying out that day is being blitzed and pulped, I shake around for a whole minute (I set my thermomix to blend for one minute so I know I’m doing the right amount of time) and the shaking warms up all the muscles in my body, my organs, joints, bones, everything flows better and so your immune system is greatly improved. The blood flowing around your body and the hormones jumping about improve your mood, your skin, and your day’s energy levels.
Things are Changing
Since adopting Katie’s One Minute Rituals (which you can read more about here – or wait until next Sunday’s video to see me putting them into action!) even friends have noticed that I am more relaxed. I work just as hard, for just as long, but taking these few moments each morning allows you to take time for yourself.
Breathing in particular has become an important part of my morning routine. Nothing reduces my stress level quite like it, and on a particularly busy day I will ensure that I take time, whenever I need it, to stop and breathe.
When I left Katie’s home, I was quite emotional. It was as though as misty windscreen had been wiped clean, and I could suddenly see why my body had been suffering the way it had. If you can, I urge you to visit Katie because she is truly an incredible lady. Following a stressful career in the city, a car accident which shattered her dreams, and years of constant pain, Katie learned of Chinese Medicine and the power it has to heal our bodies, and she wanted to tell the world. She wanted to translate this subject that not many of us fully understood, and make this ancient practise applicable to the modern day person.
I could go on forever about the topic, and in fact this is only the beginning. You’ll notice a lot more posts centred on mindfulness and creating a better version of you coming to this blog very soon.
Read more about Katie and the Hayo’u Method on her website here, and keep an eye out for my video coming very soon, to show you how I put the Hayo’u method into practise each day.
What are your thoughts on Chinese Medicine? Will you be putting the Hay’Ou method into practise?
This post is in collaboration with the Hayo’u Method