Cleansing relaxation script

This relaxation script is based on a cleansing practice in yoga. It works with the different layers of the human energy field.

Within yoga, the physical body is seen just as the densest part of your being.

The other component parts are:

  • The energy body
  • emotional body
  • mental body
  • and the bliss body or spiritual body.

And you can see them as almost like a set of Russian dolls with the physical body as the smallest central one.

The spiritual body is the most expanded and least dense but they interpenetrate each other, so you can’t fully separate one from the other. And we don’t need to try!

Cleansing relaxation script 5 koshas

Actually, we  want to recognize that physical things that are happening in our body have an effect on:

  • our energy,
  • our emotions,
  • mental state
  • our feeling of being well in ourselves
  • and on our feeling of joy, which I think is the thing I associate most with the spiritual body.

The same is true the other way: if something happens that affects your spirit, you’re in low spirits, then it can weaken all the other layers too. So, we might be more likely to get colds for example.

In this meditation practice, we’re going to work with cleaning these layers.

We’re cleaning them of all the sticky residues from life events. These can be things like arguments, or something that happened on the tube, or things that you’ve been thinking through, and you’re worried about. It can all leave a sticky residue that you’re then carrying around.

The problem is that, because it’s sticky, it attracts other things that stick to it. For example, as a result of an argument, normally and very humanly, we carry that residue from the argument into the next conversation that we have or the next meeting that we have and we can end up being more prickly ourselves. Then, of course, if we’re more prickly in a new conversation, we make it more likely that the person we are speaking to, then, gets a bit prickly. So, you can see how it builds.

What I want for our meditation today is to just release some of that, letting go, releasing and smoothing out the energy field.

So, we can have a smoother experience in our life and a happier one.

We’re going to start by imagining that we’re lying down inside an egg-shaped energy field.

You’re in the centre of this egg shape: it extends maybe about a foot out from your body in every direction.

When we breathe in, we breathe gold light up, around the edge of the egg and also fill the right side of the egg with gold light.

When we breathe out, we are breathing silver light from the crown of our head all the way down the left side of the egg, filling the left side.

So, we have the gold light on the right-hand side and the silver light on the left.

Gold relates to solar energy, which is our drive to get things done. Silver energy relates to the lunar, receptive, replenishing energy.

Our yoga class sits more in the left side, it’s in the giving-back side. We’re balancing the two things out with this visualization, too.

You could add as the final element a very simple affirmation. You just say the affirmation inside yourself in your own mind, very simply:

I am calm and relaxed.

We typically use nine breaths and we all breathe at different paces. So I’m just gonna hand over to you to count.


Now, Imagine a smaller egg, about a hand’s breadth out from your body. It has 2 layers and it represents the energy and emotional bodies.

Keep breathing gold light in and out the right-hand side breathing silver light out and down the left-hand side. Keep repeating:

I am calm and relaxed.

Count nine breaths, starting when you’re ready…

Now, shrink your attention even further, coming to your spinal cord.

So, you’re breathing up and down the length of the spine, coming right up to your brain and then back down.

Breathe nine times gold light up the length, and silver light down and out. This time, an affirmation that works for me is

I am at peace.

Then, release the focus on the breath and just expand your attention to notice how you feel, just a light check on how your energy and mental state feel.

giving and receiving

Giving and receiving: wrap-up session of “Feel Good With Jo”

This is the last of this current series of Feel Good With Jo, your Friday guide to leading a happy and healthy life. These are my thoughts on how to look after yourself and manage the busy stressful lives that we all seem to lead.

What I’d like to talk about is getting a balance between giving and receiving.

I’m a yoga teacher, meditation teacher, holistic therapist and life coach. I often tend to see more people giving more of the time and not actually taking enough time for themselves to receive.

One thing that is very important is time.

If you give people time, but you also allow yourself time, that will really increase your level of feeling happy and healthy.

Children, for example, want your time more than they want the latest X Box. The same is true for you, to some extent. Giving yourself time will actually nourish you more than buying anything that interests you.

A similar related point regards giving and receiving attention.

And this is about the quality of attention. When you are with somebody, you don’t have the phone out, don’t have the iPod out, don’t have the computer on. Just have your attention on them, give them your attention.

One of the things I’ve been studying recently is around eye contact in coaching or listening contexts. Maintaining eye contact encourages somebody to think as creatively as possible. For this reason, you need to have almost continual eye contact. Now, their eyes will be off in every other direction. That’s fine. That’s part of the thinking process, but you, as a listener giving really good quality attention, keep the eye contact, so you just keep looking at them softly. Not like a crazy person, just softly. Then, it will really increase their ability to think. The fantastic research on Thinking Environment® by Nancy Kline demonstrates that.

But also you need to receive attention.

If you’re not getting that from your significant other, from your friends, from your family, you need to ask for it. And this is where my message is about being soft and strong. You need to be able to assert that you need somebody’s attention. It is something you have the right to ask for.

The third most important element for me in giving and receiving is love.

Really, just understand that it is in infinite supply. There’s no end to how much love you can contain or you can receive. In fact, the more you give love, the more you get it. So, just don’t be afraid to show that you love people. And don’t be afraid to be loved.

Also, in terms of balance, I’d like to invite you to a balance between grounding and inspiration.

When we get stressed, one of the things that happen to our energy is that it rushes up out of the body. This leaves us in that sort of status that we tend to describe as “a headless chicken“.

One of the ways to deal with that is grounding.

You can do it by walking in nature, gardening, eating foods that literally grown on the earth, like potatoes and carrots. Also, don’t leave your electrics on in your house. Between the friends who are “grounding” and the ones who are “ennervating”, just spend now a bit more time with the people who are “grounding”.

My final point is this: the balance is in inspiration, too.

We’ve all had at some point in our life that time when we got locked into routine and life is boring because it’s just the same old, same old. If that’s something that you’re resonating with at the moment, even if it’s 5 to 10 minutes a day, I really encourage you to go back to something that sets you going. Whatever it is, whether it’s listening to music that you haven’t listened to for 20 years, whether it’s playing golf, painting or whatever you have felt in the past that has really lit you up, or that you discover now that lights you up, make time for it. People don’t seem to think it’s important. But in terms of well-being, it’s absolutely critical.

Listen to this recording

A Simple Beginner Yoga Sequence

For this simple beginner yoga sequence, begin by resting in this position for 5 minutes.

Lie down on your back with knees bent, feet close to your buttocks.

Beginner Yoga Sequence by Joanne Sumner 1

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How to feel more confident and powerful – more you! – Tonight in Class

Today we will talk about how to feel more confident, more powerful, centred and whole.

In the last two classes, we have been exploring the concept of “magnetising yourself”. It helped us focus on how to make life more fun and manageable.

We leave parts of ourselves in the activities and emotions of our day. So, by the end of the day, we are often quite frazzled or tired. We can restore our calm by gathering back those pieces of ourselves that we’ve left dotted about the day (week, month, year, years). This is quite simple to do on a daily basis.

Here’s how.

Take a few minutes now to sit quietly. Feel into the solidity of your body. The pressure of your body on the floor. Your back on the floor or up against the wall or chair-back behind you. Give yourself time to arrive in your body, so that you begin to feel a pleasant weightiness. Maybe give yourself five minutes just to do that. Feel your body present here.

Now, se that awareness as a magnet to help you gather back the pieces of yourself from your day. Begin to run your day again in your head, like images on a movie screen but without going into the emotion of the events too much. Just remind yourself of what your day contained. Begin to draw the pieces of yourself you left in those activities back to you now.

Keep going until you’ve completed the day and you’re back – awareness and body in the same place at the same time – and notice how you feel.

When I do this, I find everything feels brighter, colours are clearer, the edges are crisp, and I feel mentally awake. And above all, I feel more powerful and able to cope with my life.

Now, I’ve given you a practice to use as a daily clear up. We can use similar practices to heal far older wounds, and you may find it helpful once you are familiar with the daily practice to begin going back further in time. But, my recommendation is that if you want to gather back parts of yourself from traumatic experiences in the past that you do so with the help of a qualified practitioner. By all means, get in touch and I will connect you with someone if I cannot help you myself.


Yoga is a beautiful and ancient tradition incorporating physical posture, breathing control, stretching techniques to bring peace and calm to the body and mind.

Classical Hatha Yoga is the tradition that Joanne teaches and embraces.

Joanne’s Yoga classes in Ealing teach you flexibility, how to strengthen and align your body, with relaxation and meditation elements too.

The sequences enable you to experience a sense of flow, a sense of becoming attuned to your body and to your energy and bring a deep sense of well-being.

Joanne works from the two centres in Ealing below, please ensure you check the location of any classes and private appointments.

On Route

44-46 South Ealing Road
London W5 4QA

T: 0203 761 2964

Alexandria Healing Centre

39 Alexandria Road
London W13 0NR

T: 020 8579 7230

You will never reach your business goals if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.

Today share this Business Magic speech about reaching your business goals with you.

Welcome to a new year! I hope last year was excellent for you, but even if it wasn’t we get to use the new year as an opportunity to start over and my job is to help you master your 2018 ninety days at a time. So if there are any lingering gripes and niggles from last year, let them go completely once and for all, and let’s start the new one with a fresh slate!

My goal in this blog is to encourage you to change the way you plan your business if you are not already a 90-day planner.

If you are, there may be some suggestions that allow you to tweak and improve your existing process.

Why 90 days? Because we have a tendency to overestimate what we can do in a year and underestimate what we can do in three or five. Rockefeller worked on the basis that you plan your 3 – 5-year strategy and then you plan your operations in quarters (Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, Verne Harnish).

The 3 – 5-year strategy keeps your goal in mind and can be quite a high level. I have a 20-year goal to make my retirement from poetry and art; a 10-year goal to have established a community for spiritually driven health and wellbeing practitioners; a 5-year goal to be running a yoga and coaching franchise. The goals are high level and can be achieved in a whole variety of ways, but I know what I’m aiming at and I can take action towards them without shutting off other opportunities. For example, I know that I need to hone my skill as a writer and an artist now. It may take 20 years to get the skill to be really good.

Once you have that overall destination in mind, you can break it down into what needs to be achieved this year, and then that is broken down into quarters. What specifically needs to be done this quarter to take me towards that one year, 3 years, 5-year goal. 90 days is long enough for you to get things done, but not so long that you kid yourself you have time to play with. [Who doesn’t sometimes think oh, I’ve got all year to do that, and then get to September with a huge list of things they committed to but haven’t done yet? And isn’t it the case for everyone that there are surprise events, challenges and opportunities that if you are running a longer planning year knock you off track purely because you get distracted in dealing with them?]

So quarterly chunks are manageable, measurable, accountable amounts of time, that require you to FOCUS on what’s important at that moment, and if you stack them together they will add up to real change and forward momentum.

90-day planning:

  • Assumes you have a 3-5 year goal which guides all your business planning
  • Requires you to focus down on what’s important in your business right now: my preference is just 3 goals so that I’m forced to prioritise ruthlessly
  • Is memorable. You only have to remember what you’re working on for these 3 months. You only have 3 goals that are relevant right now.
  • Makes decision making easy. Does this fit within my 90-day plan or not? If not, don’t do it or delegate it.
  • Stops you wasting time. If it isn’t on purpose for your 90 days, don’t do it or delegate it. If you chase two rabbits, both will escape!

So… who is struggling with a bundle of resistance? What’s that resistance about?

Focus gives you a feeling of being control, of running your business the way you want rather than it running you, it improves confidence and clarity, and frankly, it makes a far better impression and so improves your customer and client attraction. It combats overwhelm (if I only have to remember 3 goals, not 27 that helps),  and it provides a clear decision-making structure. And above all, it builds self-esteem.

Why? Because you will begin to prove to yourself just how much you can do when you focus, instead of either feeling like a headless chicken or a hamster in a wheel – completely on track but going nowhere because the track has no end.

So let’s take a piece of paper and divide it into quarters. Label the quarters 1/2/3/4 for the four quarters of the year. Think about the 3-year plan, and what needs to be done THIS year towards that plan. Then think about what has to be done first. Write the 3 most important things in q1.

Now go back over it and check if you’ve written things down that you would truly LOVE to achieve, not just what feels logical. You’re more likely to achieve across the board with items in your plan that are purely for the joy and satisfaction of achieving them.

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing that you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done.” Steve Jobs

Life Coaching is a successful technique for turning your life goals into reality.

With Joanne Sumner, life coaching means discussing and overcoming any attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that are in the way of your personal development.

Whether the hurdles are in your personal or your professional life, Joanne is there to guide you, and to support you with realising your goals in your life journey.

A coaching agreement is made at the beginning of the coaching relationship for honesty, a willingness to be open and a commitment to achieving agreed steps and outcomes.

For further information on individual coaching appointments, contact Joanne. Appointments may be in person, generally at The Alexandria Healing Centre in Ealing, West London, or by Skype

Emotional resilience and self containment – Tonight in Class

In our yoga classes in Ealing, this week we’ve been discussing the idea of emotional resilience and self-containment.

What it means to be able to contain our energy, our thoughts, our emotions, our actions. So, we can look after ourselves and we look after the people around us.

Welcome to the start of a new blog series “Tonight in Class”. I’ll be sharing some of the yoga psychology and its practical applications that we cover week by week in our classes at the Studio. I hope you find it helpful!

What does it mean to contain oneself? Colloquially we use the term to mean to be able to hold our feelings or behaviour within bounds. To literally contain them from spilling over (and by inference, affecting other people). We might say it positively – “I’m trying to contain my excitement” – or more pejoratively “For goodness sake, contain yourself”.

In class, I wanted to explore what the concept of containment had to offer our emotional resilience and health.

When I consider what containing myself means to me, I am struck by the way I use it to mean self-care. It means being able to hold my own feelings – tenderly, with consideration for myself – without splurging them out on anyone who will listen. It feels like self-respect. I acknowledge these feelings, and I hold them as precious. It means I will share them as necessary for my greater insight and wellbeing with people who’ve earned the right and will show me and them the respect they deserve.

There is strength in containing myself, until the appropriate moment when I may unburden myself to someone who can hold me and those feelings with care. And there is also respect for others. Perhaps it’s a hazard of the job that I sometimes find myself pigeonholed by people who just want to let go, to let rip, to make their problem someone else’s, anyone else’s… but when it happens it feels like being hijacked.

I’m sure you’ve experienced it too, especially if you are a good listener.

Of course, over the years I’ve got better at handling the situation and compassionately putting boundaries back in place. Yet still – there is an energetic invasion when you splurge on someone whether they are interested or not, and we should take responsibility for that. I’ve certainly done it, and later acknowledged it and thanked the person for their forbearance in dealing with it.

So – containing myself means treating myself and others with respect. It entails strength and compassion. It also assumes in practice that I will disclose and unburden myself appropriately because that too is part of containing oneself. If I am completely overwhelmed by my feelings they will either overflow or have to be suppressed. Neither of those, in the long run, is helpful to our health and wellbeing. Continually overflowing feelings can leave people paralysed and unable to take action; continually suppressed feelings can leave people able to act but not to enjoy their life.

So we have a sense of measured unburdening, forbearance, and personal responsibility to add to self-respect. That sounds like a powerful cocktail for emotional intelligence to me. What does it require? It requires us to know what we are capable of containing. So, we put in place support measures to help. Over the years I’ve used psychotherapy, holistic therapies, retreats, personal study, yoga, friends and colleagues to help me process the emotional experience of life and keep me as available and centred as possible. This is the way I choose to live my life. In fact, that process has undoubtedly inspired the creation of the Studio as a place for people to do the same. Do let me know what you do? Or if I can help by providing a safe place and careful listening while you take inventory of your own emotional holding, it would be my privilege.


Yoga is a beautiful and ancient tradition incorporating physical posture, breathing control, stretching techniques to bring peace and calm to the body and mind.

Classical Hatha Yoga is the tradition that Joanne teaches and embraces.

Joanne’s classes teach you flexibility, how to strengthen and align your body, with relaxation and meditation elements too.

The sequences enable you to experience a sense of flow, a sense of becoming attuned to your body and to your energy and bring a deep sense of well-being.

Trial sessions may be booked at any time by contacting Joanne.

Stunning art by client and colleague Clare Haxby

It is my pleasure to direct you to this fantastic interview by Creative Founders with one of my wonderful clients and colleagues, Clare Haxby. I have one of her Buddha prints hanging in my home so it is the first thing I see when I walk in. Please do enjoy the read and the art.

Getting the most out of your holiday

Recently I added my two pennies’ worth to the Hayes and Jarvis Expert Guide on The Four Pillars to Get the Most Out of Your Holiday. Take a look here ~ my tips are on the Communication page of the report.

2017: The zen of January

It’s that time of year when everyone is making their new year resolutions, or proclaiming how they won’t be or don’t believe in making new year resolutions – and it can get a bit sanctimonious on both sides! So how about this? Read more »

Money mindset: what if abundance comes first?

A couple of years ago, I spent some time reading A Source of Miracles, by Kathleen McGowan, and I found her take on abundance very interesting. The part of her question that arrested my attention was

“what if abundance came first and deserving second?”

Read more »