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wellbeing


Meditation, mindfulness and yoga A personal story of how destructive habits can be healed


‘If you have time, meditate for 30 minutes every day; if you don’t have time, meditate for an hour...’


A frustrating Zen proverb, isn’t it? It’s one that drove me insane ... until I started to practice regularly. I began to understand the relevance and impact of it and the following is an outline of what I discovered. Until the age of 13, I was a


carefree and happy child. I had no fears or phobias and I lived in the now – life was good. I saw others worrying about work, money and life, and I couldn’t understand why they put themselves through all that suffering. However, school changed all that. From the moment I arrived, I experienced anxiety about my looks, my hair, what to say and do, my grades and my speech. I became anxious about being anxious. I found what I thought was the


answer – alcohol! Alcohol seemed to stop the anxiety, at least for a while, and when I was drinking I wasn’t worrying. My life became one long, alcohol-fuelled party – which led to unhealthy relationships, a messed-up education and two failed marriages. Oddly enough, throughout all of


this, I was exercising hard. I danced and did aerobics but I also drank and smoked. Then, I tried yoga, purely because it was on the timetable, although I didn’t understand it. It seemed far too slow and there was too much sitting down. All I wanted to do was party! When I was 40, I read a book by Allen Carr, entitled: Allen Carr’s Easy


Way to Stop Smoking. I was so impressed that I applied to become a therapist and six years later I was offered a position. It was at this point that I began to


question my drinking habits. It was, by now, very much out of control, with regular blackouts. I had come through a bitter divorce which had fuelled my alcohol consumption to a dangerous new level, so with help, I stopped drinking, embarked on my first sober relationship and remarried. I started yoga again and was able to enjoy shavasana (reclining on the back in total relaxation!) I was becoming less


anxious and starting to recover. Never one to do things by halves, I decided to qualify as a yoga teacher. I trained


with Zenways (www.zenways.org) with Zen Master, Daizen Skinner. During my training, my parents became very ill and family tensions ran high. Seeing them suffer was tough and dealing with change was difficult. I was meditating regularly but I loathed my cushion at times. My mind was forever going over all the heartache, the suffering and the unwillingness to accept. I was in a bad place, often just sitting and crying. Daizen’s reaction to my suffering


was one of resignation – that this is how it is. However, I didn’t want it to be like that – it wasn’t fair! I fought it, and I fought him, but I sat and as I continued to sit, I started to accept. I became self-aware, stilled my mind and felt the present. It felt familiar, like home.


The dark days spent hiding under


the duvet became less, the acceptance and the grief surrounding my parents’ death settled, as did the acceptance of the family fallout. There were still days when I didn’t want to sit – I hadn’t got time and had better things to do. My mind wanted to drag everything up again, and it was too noisy – I was not in the mood. However, these were the best times to focus on the breath and to still the mind. So, the Zen proverb is a pain, but


it’s right. If we have the time to kill on Facebook then we have the time to sit and if we haven’t the time then we can create it. I truly believe that this proverb not only changed my life, I believe that it saved it.


Emma Hudson


Now you can share in Emma’s success story


The best teachers are those who work from training, experience and understanding of the root causes of our discomforts, not simply with qualifications based on the theory. Emma teaches meditation, mindfulness and yoga one-on-one and in groups in a variety of locations in Chesham and the surrounding villages. There is a mat or cushion waiting for you! Call her on 07853 874283.


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