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- Focus On: Lisa Allwell & Sharon Spencer
Focus On: Lisa Allwell & Sharon Spencer
The Focus On series is all about sharing the diversity of meditation journeys and experiences. An opportunity to come together and share stories, practices, and insights .. to listen and learn from each other.
Recently I had the immense pleasure of meeting Lisa and Sharon of Seed Yoga + Wellness in Laburnum Village, Blackburn.
In the July Quiet Mind newsletter I had called out to any yoga, wellness, health or community group with an interest in sharing meditation with their community, to make contact .. Lisa and Sharon were the first. A few days later, I was enjoying a tea in their loft style studio, comfortably embraced by this enormous wall of windows providing a cosy spot of Winter sunshine and dancing plane trees. I am delighted to share this interview with the girls, and let you know that I shall be sharing meditation with the local community later this month (details below).
Name: Lisa Allwell and Sharon Spencer
Special Interest: Yoga, wellness, happiness, meditation and inspiration
our philosophy … ENCOURAGING GROWTH AND TRANSFORMATION
1. Tell us about your special interest
We love yoga! We think it is a vehicle to help people rediscover freedom of movement and mind, cultivate strength and mobility in the body, improve quality of breath and enhance their peace of mind.
Through yoga and meditation, we have realised that we are capable of more than we ever thought possible. And while we might not have found enlightenment (yet!) we are enabling people to discover how these practices can work for them in a practical way.
2. How long have you been practicing, or working in this area? Tell us about your ‘journey’ to this point
A really long time…over 20 years, between the two of us. (We are somewhat ancient.)
3. How did you ‘find’ meditation, and how long have you been practicing meditation?
Lisa discovered meditation during her yoga teacher training. In fact, her final exam was to sit still in meditation for an hour. (This is possibly the most difficult exam she has ever done.) Sharon came to yoga through the movement (she has a dance background) and through the movement found meditation. Now it’s the meditation that she finds inspiring and helpful.
4. Do you have a regular practice – daily, weekly, other?
5. What inspires you to keep meditating .. returning to your practice?
We both see our meditation practice as the moment of quiet in our busy lives. It’s amazing what we’ve learned there.
6. Do you have a particular technique(s) that you have found most suitable for you?
Sharon uses shamata, a body breath awareness technique. Lisa likes to use mindfulness and to explore mantra (chanting repeated sounds).
7. AM or PM? .. Chair, cushion, a stool?
First thing in the morning…or it doesn’t happen. Lisa firstly needs to feed her dog and cat, or they will jump all over her demanding food. That takes her outside where she finds a flower or a leaf. She brings that inside to her meditation corner, a reminder that we are all part of nature, and begins her practice.
Ten minutes is enough to change the course of the day for the better
8. Have you a dedicated space for your practice? Where do you meditate?
We both have a dedicated meditation space in a cosy corner at home and we believe that the vibration of the space enhances our practice: Mala beads, candles, cushion and a shawl. We like to finish meditation by giving thanks. We are grateful for being alive and for having the freedom, knowledge and opportunity to practice meditation. We know now that our day will be all the more enriched for our practice.
9. Any favorite books/CDs/Resources that you might share with others?
Tara Brach, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thich Nat Hahn, Pema Chodren are all our gurus. Anything by these inspiring teachers is gold!
Meditation doesn’t have to be anti-technology – there are gazillions of smart phone apps such meditation timers, mindfulness bells to remind you throughout the day to stop and take a breath or even podcasted guided meditations to listen to if you would like to be led through a practice sometimes.
10. Any wise words to share with those who are new to meditation?
Simply stay with the practice every day: Sometimes you’ll experience great depth and excitement, sometimes it will be boring and a struggle. Be willing to sit through boredom and resistance and recognize that meditation is a journey that will take you through different emotional layers. This is part of meditation’s purifying effect – layers of stuff are being removed from your system.
In our experience, the people who get the most from meditation are those who welcome it in all its seasons
11. 7 Random things about you?
We like Bollywood dancing, traveling to yogic destinations, chai lattes, laughing at each other’s jokes, headstands, diving into the ocean and great yoga pants.
What a lovely interview .. many thanks to Lisa and Sharon for sharing their meditation journey, wise words and friendship!
If you live in Blackburn then you simply must visit Seed Yoga + Wellness .. they offer a range of creative and welcoming classes and events. And, if you would like to learn more about meditation; what it is and isn’t, how powerful it can be for physical and emotional health, addressing and balancing a busy life, self-management of stress, and ENJOYABLE then join me at the next Exploring Meditation course.
JOIN the NEW .. EXPLORING MEDITATION (6-week) course at Seed Yoga & Wellness
Starting MONDAY 25th SEPTEMBER
further details and tickets HERE