Posts In: Mental Health

8 benefits of meditation

October 6, 2020

Meditation is a mindfulness practice growing in popularity year by year in the West. But for those living in Eastern cultures, mediation is part of what they do everyday and from a young age.

Many people think yoga is about flexibility but my answer to that question always is that yoga isn’t about flexibility of your body, but your mind. And this all starts with meditation.

So why meditate? Here’s 8 benefits:

1. Quiet your mind

Meditation encourages you to have a single point of focus…and. over time this quiets your mind both when you’re meditating and when you’re not. The time you dedicate to your meditation practice can spill over into your everyday life.

2. Enhance self awareness

Self awareness is a personal thing…and it’s different for every person. Self awareness is about our perceptions of ourselves, the world around us and how they line up with our internal standards. High levels of self awareness enable us to understand others perceptions of us, manage our emotions, objectively evaluate ourselves and align with our values.

3. Cultivate calmness

Meditation is an opportunity to pause. To connect with ourselves and to disconnect from others and the outside world. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 10 mins, 30 mins or longer, we’re cultivating calm whilst meditating…but it doesn’t end there.

The feeling we get as we meditate becomes something we want to invite into our lives more often and we begin to invite and seek out those feelings of calm in more moments of our lives.

4. Connection with self and others

A gift of meditation is the greater connection we feel with ourselves. The inner warmth and gratitude we cultivate for ourselves as we meditate translates over into our relationships and connections with others.

5. Reduce stress

The moments of stillness and silence we feel in meditation can reduce when and how we feel stress. The calmness we cultivate as we meditate often creates a ripple effect that spills over into other aspects of our lives and can reduce our levels of stress.

6. Help manage anxiety

Anxiety is one the most common mental health conditions and is related to a fear of the future. In 2020, this is something more people have experienced due to the uncertainty of lockdown and what may or may happen in the future.

Meditation brings you into the present to focus on your breath, the moment and as you take these moments of pause when meditating it can infiltrate other aspects of our lives.

7. Improve concentration

In clearing some of the chitter chatter in our minds and taking moments of pause as we meditate, we can improve our concentration.

If you’ve ever experienced “brain fog” you’ll likely relate to this. A benefit of meditating is a potential lifting of this fog which can translate into improved concentration. The more you meditate, the more you can gradually feel this lifting.

8. Improve mental health

The seven previous benefits can all combine to help improve your overall mental health. Cultivating a regular meditation practice can benefit your mental health in more ways than one so start small, stay consistent and feel and observe the changes and stillness as you stick with it.

I’d love to hear about how you feel meditation benefits you…leave your comments below!

Imagine what life would be like without Covid 19. It’s kinda hard to imagine really isn’t it?! Each day at the moment feels like a month and so much has changed by the hour, morning, afternoon, day, week and month in recent times it’s hard to really believe. I often find myself saying to myself “If you’d told me last year we’d be stuck indoors all the time…” I would have choked on my chai…what a ride it has been for all of us!

At the beginning of this way back in March (doesn’t it feel like a lifetime ago!?) we thought we might just be stuck inside for a few months, it would go away and we’d go back to life as normal. But what we’ve learned in recent months, as we’ll never return to “normal” but some new normal when things hopefully start to settle down.

I’ve had to adjust my life in so many ways. I used to be on the go all the time and would thrive on driving around to different parks for walks, across town to teach and practice yoga, visit different favourite cafes and restaurants for the best chai lattes…and I’ve been doing none of that this year. And I do miss it, but I’ve also formed new habits and behaviours I’m actually really grateful for and will continue in my life well into whatever our “COVID normal” looks like.

Wants some tips and inspiration? Here’s some ideas to motivate you and get goin’ from what I’ve been doing to try and stay fit, healthy and motivatedWake up early

Don’t diss this til you try it. For me, this is 5am and I’ll admit, it’s not for the faint hearted but once you get into the routine of it, you love it! It’s amazing how much you can get done when no one else is awake and how productive you feel when you sit down to work at 9am and reflect on everything you’ve already achieved in your day! The trick is though, early to bed or it can be struggle town the next day.


Even if just for 5 minutes to start…or that’s all you ever do. Those 5 minutes may clear some of your brain fog from your sleep and help you clear the way for your day ahead


Write anything but a good start is the 3 things you’re grateful for. Start here and see where your pen takes you. You’ll be amazed how quickly you fall in love with this practice!


Practice Yoga, Qi Gong, bike ride, walk, home gym workout. Whatever you can do just to move and get your blood pumping, move stagnant energy and activate those endorphins!


Warm water with a squeeze of lemon with some chia seeds is my fave each morning. Sometimes I’ll mix it up with a dash of lime…but it’s about getting in some fluids to help hydrate cells and get things moving in the body after your overnight slumber


Start your day well with a nutritious brekkie. Lately, I’ve been doing a new fitness and nutrition regime so I’m mixing it up with fruits, veggies and sometimes oats but it’s all healthy and mostly natural and it’s been making me feel healthy and starting my day off well

I’d love to hear what healthy habits you’ve formed this year so send me an email at mayyoga@outlook.com or comment below!

Game changing Gratitude

August 25, 2020

Last blog I wrote about journalling…the one thing that’s helped kept me somewhat sane during ISO…it truly has been a shining light of this incredibly weird year.

The other thing I’ve had as part of my life in recent years is practicing gratitude and it relates to the art that is journalling…BUT, to be honest, sometimes I forget. Sometimes I skyrocket out of bed (somewhat mindfully…eek!) to do my yoga class and it slips away…or I was too tired before I went to bed and just crashed and forgot. My bad…

In a time where many lives have been impacted so considerably by that C word (C19, that is…ahem…), it’s easy to feel heavy, feel sorry for yourself or the situation you’re in…and this is where practising gratitude is a game changer.

So what is gratitude? Well, if we go down the dictionary route, it’s defined as “the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful”. But, what does that actually mean?

I prefer to think of it as what it embodies…
…How I integrate it into my life…
…How it feels in my energy…
…How it integrates in my mindset

The integration of gratitude into your day can have a profound impact on your life and your mental health…and it’s so simple, but the impacts can be widespread.

So how do you do it?

There’s different ways to do it…you could:

  • have a dedicated book/journal you write them in
  • grab a jar and create scraps of paper and write your gratitude on the pieces of paper and pop them in the jar
  • text or call a friend or loved one your daily gratitude and ask them for their daily gratitude back
  • in bed say it to your loved one when you wake up or go to bed

When do you do it?

It’s great to get into the habit of doing it at least in the morning so you’re starting your day thinking about the people or things you’re grateful for. Equally, it’s profound to do right before you go to sleep as it will enter your subconscious…and best of all is if you can do it in the morning when you wake up and the evening before you go to bed.

But I hear you asking “How do you get into the habit of doing it though Emily?” Great question!

Here’s my tips:

  • calendar alert in your phone
  • have your jar or journal beside your bed so it’s a visual reminder
  • choose a reliable friend to exchange with who will never forget

So there you have it…my thoughts on gratitude. I’d love to hear about your practices with gratitude so please comment below or email me at mayyoga@outlook.com


Does meditation involve me sitting cross legged, holding my fingers in some weird way and chanting?

No! That’s what Hollywood movies would have you think but it’s far from that.

In fact, there are so many different types of meditation so if you’ve never formally meditated before here’s 3 important things you need to know:

1. Meditation isn’t about “doing meditation”

It’s the complete opposite. It’s about being. It’s about being present. Just being in the moment and allowing whatever happens or comes up, to happen. It’s about trusting. Letting Go. Just being.

You don’t need to have expectations about “having a great mediation” or seeing something or experiencing something. Just be.

Yes, some people see colours (which are related to the chakras – energy centres…that’s a blog topic for another day…), yes some people feel different things. But it doesn’t matter if YOU do or don’t. What’s important is that you’re gifting yourself some time to be with yourself. To be present. Just being.

To just take a break from your everyday so you can just be. To feel. To connect with the most important person in your world – YOU!

2. Meditation takes many forms

You can be:
…lying down
…jigsaw puzzling

You can even be active! Yes this is true! One of my fave meditations is when I’m out on the water on my SUP (standup paddleboard!) It’s absolute peace and tranquility out there by myself, well, not entirely by myself – I have the fish, the stingray and jellyfish for company! I’m focused on paddling and just being present, breathing in the fresh air and soaking up my surrounds.

3. Meditation involves focus

Whichever meditation you choose, it involves focusing on something and just allowing everything else to just pass by so you can be in the moment.

So if you’re colouring, you’re focused on which pencil you’re using and filling in the blank white paper. If you’re sewing, it’s on what you’re creating, not on the thoughts racing through your mind.

Just as COVID was hitting, I took a beachside long weekend escape and at the house I borrowed, they had a jigsaw puzzle.

Now, I’d stayed at this beach house over summer and hadn’t even noticed it…but this long weekend I thought I would give it a go as they had a cute cat one (crazy cat lady over here!)…and I was amazed!

It was so calming and meditative…I thought it would be frustrating and involve using too much brain power, but I was well and truly surprised as it was far from that!

And…then COVID hit, the PM advocated for jigsaw puzzles being “essential” and Australia went nuts for them! And I believe one of the reasons we did was for the the opportunity it gave us to get out of heads. A form of tranquil meditation where the focus is on putting the pieces together and letting everything else just fall away.

Stay with it!

Cultivating a regular meditation practice can have profound impacts on your life.

For some this is once a week.

For others this is a few times a week.

If you’re like me and have a dedicated practice, I meditate every morning before I get out of bed for 30 mins. Others will meditate for longer or shorter every day…some meditate twice a day. There’s no rule or way that’s better or worse…it’s what works for you…and helps you be present.

But profound changes can happen in your world if you meditate so even if you can start with just 5 minutes today, I promise you’ll notice a difference…and try again the next day or perhaps longer the next day. If you try one type of meditation and it doesn’t resonate with you, try another!

If you want to meditate with me, shoot me an email at mayyoga@outlook.com to find out more about my special meditation community or check out the details here: !

August is an exciting time! It’s the beginning of a new month, we’re on the final stretch of winter and the fun and festivities of footy season, Spring Racing Carnival and the festive season are just around the corner.

So why do so many of us have low energy levels? It’s been a cold and long winter so far with many very wet and miserable days. Many of us have overindulged with the comfort of the tracky dacks to cover up the full extent of our nurturing…and many of us have avoided venturing outside to exercise and practice yoga. Does this sound like you? Have you been like me and perhaps consumed one too many blocks of chocolate or brownies?!?!

Winter rituals

This winter I’ve also gone deep within spending more time focusing on my own yoga and meditation practices, reading lots of books I’ve been sitting on for a while. This has helped expand my knowledge on a variety of topics, techniques and practices to raise my energy levels and my meditation practice.

Reiki Master

Part of my journey also involved immersing myself in studying reiki and learning more about this amazing spiritual and energetic practice. Having been immersed in energetic modalities from a young age, it was a natural progression to study this amazing practice and I’m excited to now be a Reiki Master!

So…how will this change my teachings you ask? Well, it’s transformed how I manage my own energy and how I respond to the energy of others around me and my surroundings…and it adds a whole new dimension to my workshops and especially my upcoming Spring Meditation & Yoga Retreat.

Having spent time travelling overseas in recent years to explore more about energy, yoga and meditation, I’m on a mission to lift the energy vibrations and reduce the stress levels of Melbourne yogis. So are you with me?


In August I’m offering a couple of workshops focused on increasing energy levels and healing from within for those experiencing Anxiety.

Checkout my workshops page for more info on these offerings in Seddon and Camberwell.

Meditation & Yoga Retreat

My upcoming Spring Meditation & Yoga Retreat is going to be a special one as it’s the culmination of all the practices and teachings I’ve immersed myself in the past few years. I’ll be integrating reiki, yin yoga, yoga therapy, sound healing meditations (Yoga Nidra and others) and a couple other special surprises into this special weekend. Taking place during the seasonal change of Spring, when we switch from the cold of Winter to the heat of Summer, it’s a special energetic time to immerse in these teachings

Full Moon Sound Healing

The September Full Moon is on Saturday 14 September so the practices we’ll embark on during the day exploring our innerselves will be deeply introspective. The evening you’ll experience a long immersive Sound Healing to help heal, re-balance and help energise you for the coming months of increased social activities and warmer weather.

I’d love for you to join me so please send me an email if you’re interested in raising your energy vibrations and delving deep within.

To find out more, visit https://www.mayyoga.com.au/retreat/

It’s a new day. A new month. A new year. Hello 2019!

For many of us it’s the time of year when we set our goals for the year ahead…start a fitness regime, take up yoga, go on a diet, learn to meditate…the list goes on.

But here’s a not so surprising statistic: only 8% of people who set a New Year’s resolution successfully achieve them. It’s not always easy to make changes in our lives, but an effective way of doing this is through setting an intention and integrating it with a regular practice of the mindful Yoga Nidra meditation (sleep based meditation).

What is an intention?

An intention helps us become the best version of ourselves by withdrawing our attention from where we don’t want to go to a place we do want it to go.

How is a goal different to an intention?

A goal has a specific endpoint in mind, whereas an intention is the direction we are seeking to take. An intention is more realistic and adaptable, especially if we consciously or subconsciously take another route along the way. If we consider a goal, this would be considered a failure and we’re likely to abandon that goal as we beat ourselves up about the speed bump we are likely to encounter.

Qualities of an intention

Intentions have several characteristics that differentiate them from goals:

  • define in the present tense
  • timeless
  • direction not a destination
  • no attachment to the outcome
  • concise and powerful
  • no predictable end results

Why should you set an intention?

You can set an intention at anytime…not just at the new year. Intentions are widely recognised for giving us purpose and connecting us to a higher power with ourselves in a direction we’re seeking to journey. They are also set in the present tense so they help us to always be present and set a guiding principle within our psyche.

How to set an intention

  1. Find a place within your house or out in nature (the bush, the beach, the forest) where you can sit, be still and contemplate
  2. Sit in a comfortable seated position and connect with your breath to help you become present
    • cultivate slow and steady inhalations and exhalations through your nose
    • once you are feeling present and connected, observe where you’re tense in your body and take a deep belly breath in and mindfully exhale out through your mouth. Repeat this a couple of times if you have a lot of tension to release – let your body be your guide
  3. Contemplate the following questions:
    • What brings you the greatest joy in your life?
    • What fuels your fire?
    • What gives you a deep sense of purpose?
  4. Listen to your inner voice and ask yourself what are your motivations and aspirations for 2019?
    • Observe the responses that arise – sitting with each one and allowing them to wash over you
    • Be clear about what you invite into your life
  5. Create a short mantra (statement) that captures your intention and start to incorporate it in your daily yoga, meditation or mindfulness practice.

Some intention examples:

  • I allow myself to …
  • I am…
  • I am here because…
  • I am a … presence

Integrating your intention into a Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra allows you to let go and be free and can have a profound impact on your body and mind. An ancient 6000 year old Indian practice, Yoga Nidra is sleep based meditation that allows you to deeply relax and be at one with yourself…and to be still whilst still aware and alert. It is a meditation practice accessible to everyone; shifting you from the yang of thinking and doing (masculine) to the feeling and doing yin (feminine) which can help lead your body to restoration and the release of excess tension in your body and mind.

As a mindful and deeply relaxing and contemplative silent practice, Yoga Nidra can help direct your mind to fulfil the seed of an intention you set for yourself.

Want to delve deeper and learn more?

Join me on Saturday 2 February 3-5:30pm at Westside Yoga School in Seddon for my New Year, New You Healing Immersion and delve deep within to release long held emotions and past experiences, anxiety and stress.

In this 2.5 hour immersion I’ll be integration a combination of into the practices body psychology and yoga therapy techniques, sound healing and yoga nidra meditation. You’ll journey deep within the body-mind complex to discover how to release long held tensions, attachments and constrictions, which can manifest as anxiety, depression, insomnia, PTSD and stress.

To find out more about intention setting, please email me at hello@mayyoga.com.au. If you would like to attend my workshop, please register via the Westside Yoga website. Spots are limited, bookings are essential.

You’re not alone

December 25, 2018

Festive season mindfulness

The silly season is officially here – the month of December is typically a time of celebration but for many of us it can be a very challenging time. Despite all the Christmas gifts and parties with abundant food and drinks, it can be a difficult time financially, emotionally and mentally for a lot of us. It’s also the end of the year and for many, 2018 has been a long one so if you’re feeling this way you’re not alone.

For many of us, this time of year is a time of reflection and gathering – about those who have left us, the year that was and where we aspired to be in our personal, professional and financial lives. People around the world experience anxiety, depression, loneliness and missing loved ones who have passed on.

The practice of using yoga shapes to feel into your body (asana), connecting and vitalising your body through breath (pranayama) and meditation are three limbs of yoga that can help you centre and feel at one again during this time and can really help with anxiety and depression. Whether you’ve practiced yoga for years or are looking for a practice to help your physical, emotional or mental health, it can have amazing effects irrespective of your level of experience or years of practice. So if you have a regular practice, get onto your mat either at home or a studio and connect your mind, body and soul. If you’re yet to commence your yoga journey, search for a closely yoga studio on google and give it a go (most studios have 2 week or 1 month intro passes for less than $50…or start your home practice of meditation today. To start with, perhaps try sitting in a comfortable position for 5 minutes and focus on slow steady breaths and see what does or doesn’t come up for you.

Please know that you’re not alone – many people feel the same. There are lots of support groups who can help if you need someone to talk to and can help support you, including:
Lifeline: https://www.lifeline.org.au and 13 11 14
Beyond Blue: https://www.beyondblue.org.au and 1300 22 4636

Anxiety stats and yoga

October 16, 2018

Anxiety can effect everyone, at any age and at any time. Here’s some key stats from Beyond Blue as they launch a new campaign supporting anxiety awareness across Australia:

– Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia

– Over 85% of people in Australia believe anxiety is not a sign of person weakness, is not something you can just ‘snap out of’, and is a real medical condition

– Everyone feels anxious at times, but when symptoms are intense, persistent, and interfere with life, it becomes an anxiety condition. The good news – there is hope and treatments that work

The Beyond Blue website is packed with resources to learn more about anxiety, complete the Anxiety Checklist, and discover how to get support today for yourself or someone you know

Yoga can help!

Yoga is a beautiful and amazing way to help calm the mind and body, supporting the nervous system. Yoga helps to connect with your body and to bring awareness to your breath, mind and body.

The practice of body psychology or yoga therapy supported with yogic sleep (Yoga Nidra meditation) are a powerful combination to manage the symptoms of mental health including anxiety, depression, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and insomnia (lack of sleep).

So if you experience any of these and want to experience and learn more about how you could live a life free of these, I’m hosting a 2.5 hour immersion at Westside Yoga next Saturday 27 August. Limited spaces available with only a few spots left so register today! For any questions, please feel free to email me to find out more!

Heal Your Body

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