© 2011 Oncology Yoga and Yoga For Recovery · Bernadette Arena
Use your Mind to Change your Brain (to change your

Posted on Oct 10, 2012

Everyone wants to be happy.  We all want to feel healthy, loving and contented.
Yet, how?
Over many years I have studied, formally and informally, the findings of psychology,
neurology and the great contemplative traditions of the world (mainly yoga and
Buddhism and also Sufism).  And there are a plethora of very practical tools that can
help us to feel less stressed, less reactive to disturbing experiences, more aware of our
own bodies, and minds – more at peace.
Simply, if we want to be happy there are two ways to change our situation for the better

1.        Improve the outer situation , i.e. work on our experiences, change the
2.        2. Improve the inner ‘situation’.
As we know, there are so many limitations to our ability to change the outer situation.  
We have no power to change others, (disappointing!). Try getting a moody teenager to
listen to your reason, or your partner to stop that annoying habit…
We don’t have much influence either over external things.  Sure, we can rearrange the
furniture, buy new clothes, plant new trees, but eventually the furniture wears out, the
clothes get stained or don’t fit, the rosebush gets black spots, the car gets rusty. The
Botox doesn’t last…

If we continue to try to change the outer world we can (will) get sick, tired, depressed,
anxious, disconnected, disheartened and burnt out.
If we focus on our inner world and changing that, it has countless benefits.
We have incredible influence over our thoughts our behaviours and our reactions. The
key is becoming aware of them.  With a little effort we can feel more relaxed, let go of
painful past experiences, control our attention, improve our mood and change our brain.
All it takes is patience and practice.
As many of us have said in these blogs before, meditation is key and we can use any
Meditation practice we like.  We know that even a few minutes of Meditation will literally,
physically change our brain, and thus our ‘minds’.
I will share next time a couple of simple practices I am currently using to do just this.  
Stay tuned.
Love Bernadette
(Many thanks to the work of Rick Hanson a neuropsychologist, and researcher on
happiness, love and wisdom)

Read Full Post »
Feeling Grounded

Posted on June 14, 2011

Autumn is a time to prepare for winter. For many plants and animals it is time to ‘go to
ground’. I’ve noticed feeling a bit ungrounded lately. Maybe you know the symptoms –
feeling a bit  ‘spaced out’, a bit unwell, being clumsy, forgetful,  being extra sensitive to
noise and light, feeling extra sleepy, and [...]

Read Full Post »
Oprah’s Love Letter

Posted on June 2, 2011

I missed the final episodes, just as I missed most of her shows over the years.  But
whenever I did tune in, I always received a gift from Oprah, a heartwarming message, a
glimpse of beauty, or dysfunction that made me feel less alone.  A friend told me how
she was inspired by Oprah’s finale [...]

Read Full Post »
Inspiration and Forgiveness

Posted on May 3, 2011

I’d like to share (with permission) this story from a past participant. “Dearest Bernadette,  
I need to share something very profound with you!  I don’t know whether you remember
my “story” when we were sitting in our sacred circle at Bundanoon.  You hear so many
stories!!  But I raised my hand at one stage and [...]

Read Full Post »
The Nature of Mind

Posted on April 5, 2011

Do not conform any longer to the patterns of the world, but be transformed by the
constant renewing of your mind Romans 12.2 I picked up again a book I’d read years
ago, by NualaO’Failain, called Are you Somebody? It is a poignant story of being raised
in an alcoholic family, a story of [...]

Read Full Post »
Blind Spots

Posted on March 29, 2011

I’ve been corresponding with an old friend whose marriage broke down 3 years ago.
What has been troubling me is the constant retelling, re-living, and re-interpreting of the
events of the past.  In the early days, well for the first couple of years, I gave him some
slack – I saw he was trying to [...]

Read Full Post »v
The Life You Were Born to Live

Posted on February 10, 2011

At a recent webinar Gail Ross asked” How do you know that the life you are living now is
in fact the life you are meant to live? Here are some of my musings… In Yoga
philosophy ‘the life we are meant to live’ is called our Dharma.  There is no one English
word to [...]

Read Full Post »