Q&A Session - Introduction to Meditation with Philip Storey

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Here at Haelan Therapy, we are excited to announce that we are launching a brand-new meditation course starting in January 2018.  Haelan's founder, Rebecca Kelly sat down with our resident meditation teacher, Philip Storey to talk about what the course will cover, what students can expect to gain from coming along and why it's a little bit different to some of the other options out there. Here's what they discussed...

Rebecca: What prompted you to start an introductory course for meditation?

Philip: So many people want to meditate. However, knowing where or how to start can be the biggest obstacle. A lot of people start practicing alone with apps or through reading books, but find that challenges come up along the way and they may not have an outlet to ask questions or the support to get back on track. It's when people arrive at these obstacles, where support and community can really help. I wanted to create something where people can really come and focus on learning and practicing meditation with others, in a small group because in my experience this is how we get the most from exploring meditation.

Rebecca: What does the course cover?

Philip: This introductory course covers everything you need to learn and explore meditation. Students who get started with meditation make it a routine in their life that they really look forward to each day.  We are going to explore the fundamentals of meditation including techniques for preparing, sitting and breathing correctly. Each week we will learn and practice a new form of meditation that each of us will continue to practice at home for the duration of that week.  When students graduate, they will have a toolbox of new skills and experiences with meditation that they can dip into as they continue their practice thereafter.

Rebecca: What can students expect to gain from the course, beyond simply learning more about meditation?

Philip: Those that attend, will begin to understand themselves better. Students often say they feel more connected with themselves, they feel calmer when going about their everyday lives. Many say that they start to understand some of the emotions that come up in their lives and feel as though they are able to deal with things that challenge them, more easily. 

Rebecca: Why is this course different from other courses?

Philip: There are lots of things that make this course little bit different.  Firstly and most importantly, this course is conducted in the healing environment of Haelan Therapy. This means that we follow the same healing methods that you will encounter with any other Haelan experience, providing a safe and open environment for you to explore meditation and any feelings or emotions that come up along the way.

Secondly, the structure of the course is relatively unique. We will learn and practice together in a small group each week and each student will be given a meditation partner that rotates each time we meet. The purpose of this is to enable each student to have a personal, one-to-one and group experience of meditation each week. Further to this, each student is invited to join the course community online. This means that each attendee can continue to work with the group, share their progress and experiences and ask me and the other attendees questions whenever they arise. Once the course finishes, attendees will be able to remain in this community and join the Haelan meditation alumni online community to further and deepen their meditation practice.

Rebecca: Who is this course for and who benefit?

Philip: The introduction to meditation five-week course is designed for most levels of meditation experience. You don't need to be able to sit in lotus pose or be a yogi! All you need is an interest in meditation. You don't need any experience with meditation either - I will guide you every step of the way.   Students that will benefit most are those that are new to meditation, those that would like to make meditation a daily practice and for those that have meditated previously, but for whatever reason it isn't part of your daily routine any longer.

Rebecca: When is it, how much is it and how can I sign up?

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Philip: The course starts on Sunday, January 21st at 6pm and runs for five weeks at the same time and day each week. It’s just £45 for the entire course. To sign up CLICK HERE or to enquire CLICK HERE. We’d love to see you on the course.

How to get started with meditation

Many people tell me that the most difficult thing with meditation, is getting started. Meditation doesn’t mean that you must sit in lotus pose and practice perfectly for hours on end. It’s quite the opposite, in fact, many feel they just won't be able to make the time for meditation. 

The truth is, no matter how busy you are or how much experience with meditation you have, it can actually be quite simple to start meditating on a regular basis and integrate it into your everyday routine. This blog will help you to explore different options for meditation and enable you to get started.

Practicing meditation in Vietnam

Practicing meditation in Vietnam

How much time will I need? When should I do it?

If you're just starting out with meditation, I recommend that you allow yourself 10 minutes every day for meditation. If possible, set aside the same time every day in your routine. This makes it more likely that you will keep practicing every day. It also makes this time a special to you - you are committing this moment, each day, for you. Try to set this time aside in the morning before you go about your day. 

The best way to make this a routine is to wake up 10 minutes earlier and sit in your bedroom at a chair.  Take this space just for you at the start of the day. Think of it as though you are setting an intention; before you give yourself to others today, you are going to take great care of yourself.

And perhaps if you are very, very busy (maybe you’re a parent where you have many people in your life that depend upon you for most of your day) you may feel that even 10 minutes per day is going to be a stretch. Well, it might be at the beginning, but once this becomes a part of your routine, it will be as fundamentally important to your well-being as having breakfast before you head off to tackle the day. By taking this moment for yourself, you are going to be able to give everybody in your life the very best of you and as a result you will feel better for it too.

What do I do with this 10 minutes?

There are two ways I recommend that you start with meditation. It's up to you to decide which one you choose.  I would suggest starting with a guided meditation app such as headspace or calm. These apps provide a guided experience with meditation teaching the basic principles and techniques and guiding you each step of the way.

If apps aren't for you, then I recommend doing something called a body scan. A body scan is the practice of checking in with every physical and emotional part of you.

To do this, be seated comfortably in a chair with both feet on the ground and your hands resting naturally either on your thighs or with your left hand sitting comfortably on top of your right hand, facing upwards. Ensure that your posture is good, but you're sitting tall.  Begin to breathe slowly in and out through the nose, only. If you have difficulty in breathing in and out through the nose, then you can do this practice by breathing through your mouth. Slowly close your eyes.

For the body scan, we start at the crown of the head and over 10 minutes or so, we slowly scan every part of the body all the way down to the toes. As you do this, you will find parts of the body that feel uncomfortable. You will also find emotional discomfort in some areas. This is normal and is exactly what the body scan seeks to discover. When you find a part of the body that feels this way, stay there and focus on it as you breathe. If you find an emotional pain or feeling within the body where you notice an emotional reaction, do the same - just continue to breathe into this area, until you feel this pain or emotion subside.

To come out of the meditation, move your fingers and toes gently. Slowly open the eyes and thank yourself for taking this time for you, today. Take a moment to reflect on your meditation. Perhaps set an intention for your day, slowly stand and that's a meditation completed.

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What other things might I experience in meditation?

Lots of things happen when we meditate. A very common experience when beginning with meditation is to fall asleep! if this happens to you, don't worry, it’s completely normal.  As you practice more, you will find that this happens much less often.

Sometimes we feel a rush of emotion. If this happens to you, just breathe slowly through it. Listen to what this emotion is trying to tell you. It will pass. Don't be tempted to break your practice - just keep breathing slowly focus on the specific area of the body where you feel this. When you feel this emotion, this is the meditation allowing you to process and cleanse.

Another common experience when meditating is a rush of thoughts.  A common misconception with meditation is that a rush of thoughts means that you are not doing it properly. This is simply not true. In fact it's quite the opposite. If you do have a rush of thoughts (we call this monkey brain), then it means that you have successfully began the practice of meditation. Try to let these thoughts go. As you breathe out each time, just let the thoughts drift away. Sometimes you won't be able to stop this rush. That's okay too. There are no two meditations that are the same, ever. Continue your practice as normal and accept that this is what you needed today.

How will I feel?

After just a few days you will start to feel the difference that meditation has brought to your life. Even just practising for 10 minutes can make a huge difference to how you feel throughout the day. You may feel that you are able to concentrate better, feel more resilient, stronger, and if there are things in your life that are particularly challenging you at this moment, you might find these challenges start to feel a little easier to deal with.

In summary

10 minutes may seem a very short space of time. but if you stick to this routine each day, you will quickly start to feel the difference. Similarly to yoga, if you pause your practice for a few days, you will notice the difference. The key to benefiting from meditation is to make it a habit.

If you are interested in learning meditation in a small group, you can join Haelan Therapy’s brand-new Introduction to Meditation five-week course that starts on the 21st of January 2018. There are still a few spaces left.  Click here to find out more about the course or to book your place.

About the author

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Hi, I'm Philip and I teach meditation at Haelan Therapy. I came to meditation through my own journey with life’s stresses and strains. As I practiced more, I felt the stress leave me. My focus, balance and harmony was restoring and I felt better every day. This is when meditation became a regular practice for me.

Since then I have deepened my practice in various parts of the world, including San Francisco, Thailand and Vietnam.  It was in Vietnam, after three weeks of one-to-one meditation practice for three hours per day, that I realised I wanted to share meditation through teaching others.  I have been teaching ever since and I am delighted to be a part of the Haelan team and to share the learning and practice of meditation with others.  Throughout November and December 2017 I am teaching meditation in Southeast Asia.  In January I return home to Hitchin to begin teaching Haelan Therapy's brand-new Introduction to Meditation five-week course that starts on 21st January 2018.  I look forward to welcoming you.

World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day.  Mental Health is on the tip of everyone's tongue at the moment and so it should be.  Thanks to key figures such as Princes Harry and William and other celebrities in the public eye, Mental Health is being taken seriously.  Finally.  Our mental health is just as important as our physical health, in fact it is our belief here at Haelan that our mental and emotional states are directly linked to our physical states.  Get on top of your mental health and then physically you will be winning.  So how?

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Our approach to supporting mental health

When we raise our self-awareness, it opens up a world of choice. When we have choices we can make empowering decisions that are right for us. This allows for our behaviours to change, our mind, body and soul to realign, our self-confidence to increase, our empathy and compassion for ourselves and others to grow and our relationships to enhance.

At Haelan we aim to help facilitate a profound and lasting change in you, our clients, at both a physical and mental/emotional level through our touch and talk therapies, giving you greater access to your own creativity, inspiration and to recognise your inner wisdom.  After all, you hold all the answers...we simply give you the space to enable you to see and feel them.

As Sarah Tomlin one of Haelan's massage therapists suggests,  "through touch, massage boosts our levels of oxytocin, a feel good chemical in the brain. As well as bringing pleasure in the short term, the rise in oxytocin strengthens personality traits such as warmth, love and trust, ensuring the effects of the massage extend far beyond the therapy room and out into your life".

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Therapist Karenanne Hay goes on to explain "as a therapist it is my passion and heartful desire to support a person as a whole.  Part of our whole self is our mental/emotional health.  I believe that using the tool of deep relaxation which holistic therapies such as massage, reflexology and reiki can facilitate, we can make steps to improve the quality in the engagement with ourselves.  This opens can open us up to living in a mindful manner and enhances our ability for self acceptance, self healing and self love....".

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Whether it's through touch therapy or talking therapy, when we raise our self-awareness it opens up a world of choice that we didn't have before. 

Let's keep talking about Mental Health today and every day enabling it to stay at the top of the agenda where it belongs. Be in touch if you wish to put it at the top of your agenda too.  We'd love to hear from you.  Visit our website for more information and details about our Transforming Lives healing packages. 

Rebecca x 

Transformational Coaching: A journey of self-discovery

So often Jo and I are asked "What is Transformational Coaching, and how can it help me?"   As Transformational Coaches here at Haelan Therapy, we thought we would put the myths to bed and bring to the fore what Transformational Coaching is all about and how we feel it can benefit you. 

How does it work?

Transformational Coaching is a facilitated process which gives you the opportunity to unlock self-limiting beliefs and view your personal and professional worlds through a different set of filters.  ‘Self-limiting beliefs’ are beliefs about ourselves (typically modelled to us by others or experienced by us in our early years) that inhibit our potential and limit the choices we make in our personal and professional lives.  This concept is central to our work here at Haelan as we believe by exposing these beliefs it allows you to think differently, to see yourself differently and ultimately raise your awareness about who you truly are or have the potential to be in both your personal and professional lives. Transformational Coaching aims to create a profound and lasting change in you, giving you greater access to your own creativity, inspiration and to recognise your inner wisdom.

We believe that Transformational Coaching can enable you to:

  • Unleash your full potential
  • Be more purposeful, focused and self-confident
  • Raise your awareness so you can create your best life yet
  • Go on to live fully with no regrets
Real transformation requires real honesty. If you want to move forward - get real with yourself!
— Bryant McGill
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So what's the next step?

On booking a coaching session with us, you will embark on a journey which involves face to face sessions in a confidential environment.  It is recommended that you access between 4 to 6 sessions and this will be reviewed throughout the coaching relationship and adjusted along the way to respond to your ongoing individual needs.  The first step in the coaching relationship is to create a coaching agreement which sets out how you and your coach will work together.  Once the agreement is in place you can, in a safe environment, go on to reflect on current experience and start to develop your self-awareness, explore your current perspectives, develop clarity of thought and emotional responsiveness and start to discover new ways to live your life. 

Transformation is more often unlearning than learning
— Richard Rohr

The coaching sessions thereafter will enable new thinking and rapid learning through the use of incisive questioning, enabling you to shine a light on your internal world and bring into focus the different ways you have created your current external reality.  You will move along a path of self-development that offers possibilities for a change in current thinking; challenging you to question your perceived self-limitations and patterns of thinking.  Through this approach of questioning and challenging, you will be able to more successfully tackle and resolve any conflict that may exist in your life. 

Jo works with a client in a tranquil and calm environment

Jo works with a client in a tranquil and calm environment

Ongoing support

In between face to face sessions, we will maintain open communication with each other offering you the opportunity to check-in when you need to and to celebrate milestones and support you during the re-orienting of your life and the implementation of a new way of thinking.

Reflecting on experience is a means of having a Socratic dialogue with yourself, asking the right questions at the right time, in order to discover the truth of yourself and your life.  What really happened?  Why did it happen?  What did it to me? What did it mean to me?  In this way one locates and appropriates the knowledge one needs, or, more precisely, recovers what one knew but had forgotten and becomes in Goethe’s phrase, the hammer rather than the anvil.
— W Bennis ‘On Becoming a Leader’

Who can benefit from Transformational Coaching?

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Feeling inspired?

Read our client's stories to find out how Transformational Coaching enabled them to reach their potential...

We believe EVERYONE can benefit from Transformational Coaching!  Whether you are experiencing limitations in your personal or your professional lives,  Haelan Therapy is invested in supporting motivated individuals reach their full potential.  We believe we can enable you to overcome emotional and spiritual hurdles, go on to confidently make life-changing decisions, cultivate more successful communication styles and releasing unwanted patterns of behaviour that are limiting you from moving forward.   

What are your options?

Here at Haelan we can offer you a number of different ways in which to access Transformational Coaching.   Be in control of your health and happiness and embark on a journey of self-discovery with one of our Transforming Lives Healing Packages which combine holistic treatments with coaching - a truly powerful combination.    Equally if you have a passion for the great outdoors or love the energy that animals can bring, then through our partnership with Learning to Listen we can offer you the opportunity to embark on a series of Equine Facilitated Coaching sessions which enable powerful and honest feedback that is immediate through the wisdom of the horse.    

Book you consultation today!

We would love the opportunity to talk to you about our work.  We offer FREE consultation sessions which will enable you to find out more about the process and discuss where you are now and where you would like to be.  There is no obligation to book anything at the session we simply value the opportunity to find out more and discuss how we can help you.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Rebecca & Jo xx

Retreat v. 'to withdraw to a quiet or secluded place' 

In its simplest form ‘retreat’, means ‘to withdraw, to drawback.’ Throughout the ages certain traditions have understood retreat to be an important part of spiritual formation.  That is, time consciously set aside for themselves, a change of focus, a deliberate act of stepping outside of normal routine by withdrawing (not running away) from the noise and pressures in order to be in a quiet place where all our senses are open and ready to listen and receive.

In partnership with Learning to Listen and supported by Myogi Yoga our second retreat was a 'roaring' success combining holistic therapy with equine therapy, yoga, meditation and fireside rituals.  It lived up to all expectations providing our guests the opportunity to withdraw from the daily grind of life.

I attended the recent retreat at East Hall Farmhouse on Wednesday this week which was a most enjoyable day. The time passed so quickly and it was a relaxed, well organised occasion with treatments that made one feel so much better within myself. It has helped me to feel more relaxed and in control. The sitting around the fire experience was unique and I think we all gained so much from it. The lunch was delicious and being in the fresh air and sunshine for most of the day was so invigorating. I would like to commend the team on their friendly and helpful approach to myself and fellow participants. Well done to you all. Best wishes.
— Rosanne, Kent

Connection & Intention Setting

The day began with an intention setting session where the guests were given space to connect with their true self and begin to understand what they wanted to achieve from the day and to set their intentions accordingly.  "We put our guests totally at the heart of what we are doing and make it all about them" said Sarah Tomlin, a Haelan therapist who hosted lunch and a nutritional talk.  She continued "our retreats create a safe space for our guests to bring their hearts and voice their feelings".

Each guest received a personalised plan which included a one-to-one yoga session, an equine facilitated coaching session and a holistic treatment.   Teresa, a guest on the day said of her experience "For me it's the "little things" that are important that make experiences like this what they are.  From the added reiki healing on my dodgy knee during my massage, the unlimited supply of herbal teas / coconut water and lovingly homemade energy balls and treats...the aromatic oil smells and blankets during yoga and the added bonus of the fire pit made this day which went above and beyond my expectations and provided a very special unique retreat experience full of genuine support and love and one that I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to take a day out to invest in themselves."

Fireside Ritual

The highlight of the day however was the fireside ritual.  Led by therapist Karenanne, the guests were given the opportunity to take their space to release old patterns of behaviours and beliefs into the fire and heal at a soul level.  They each used the Reiki drum to represent their rhythm of life and presented offerings to the fire of kindling, chocolate and tobacco.  Kindling keeps the fire burning, chocolate represents harmony and the sweetness of life and tobacco enables peace and the end of hostilities.

The fireside ritual created a sense of kinship, blurring the lines between guests and facilitators and enabled us in that moment to be at one. 
— Sarah Tomlin, Haelan Therapist

Unique offerings

Our retreats are truly unique and none more so because we combine holistic therapies and yoga with Equine Facilitated Coaching sessions.  Through our partnership with Learning to Listen we are able to offer guests the opportunity to gain insights and wisdom from the horses about where they are now in their lives and where they want to be.  After their one-to-one session the guests were given the opportunity to consider what had come up for them and journal any ideas, thoughts or understanding that might help them move through a particular block in their life.

I had a profound experience and learnt so much from Jo using equine facilitated therapy. It became a catalyst for me to be able to find the words to verbalise what has been going on internally. At first I was shocked as when Jo asked me questions about my feelings and current emotional space I couldn’t find any words and was really struggling and stumbling my speech. In such a short space of time with Jo’s compassionate and supportive help and questionning and the healing of Boo a beautiful pony with the softest coat in the world....I was able to tease out the emotions that needed healing and find the words to verbalise them, which amazed me.
— Teresa, Wigan
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Our Mind, Body and Soul retreats will return in 2018 and will be themed by the changing seasons.  The investment is £250 per person and we offer payment plans to spread the cost. 

18th May (Spring)

9th July (Summer)

24th Sept (Autumn)

30th November (Winter)

For more detailed information regarding each specific retreat please click HERE.  To book your place or for information please contact us indicating which retreat you would like to attend.