What would you do if you saw scientific evidence that the practice meditation changes the brain within 8 weeks with an average of 27 minutes per day? The amygdala, which is the part of the brain that signals stress actually got smaller in 8 weeks and other more productive areas increased in grey matter. A hot topic in leadership these days is presence. How do some leaders have more presence than others and can this be learned? Presence is literally the ability to be present to whatever is happening 'now'. The present moment is accessed through the sense organs and the area of the brain associated with this actually grew within 8 weeks of practice. We are all leaders in life and the more we can tune into our senses the more our presence will influence the world. Being present to limiting beliefs in the mind and acting also leads to greater presence. Ask yourself what is the most common limiting belief you hear about yourself in your mind?..................... Simply becoming more aware of this voice when it arises and doing the action anyway will change your life. These patterns of thought are usually 'gifts' we have received in childhood and we still operate from their limitations as adults. I am passionate about human performance and making the most of the potential we have. I used to think that the very best athletes in the world would live without many of these limiting beliefs. The reality is that the pressurised environment often brings many of the beliefs to the surface and significantly reduces the possibilities the athlete may have of fulfilling their potential. The brain is plastic, whatever we do repeatedly will physiologically change it and also our experience of life. Both athletes and leaders see the benefits of going into the gym and I want everyone to know about the benefits of working with the senses and the mind in the present moment. Go out and work with a transformational coach who will help you to be more present, go out and learn mindfulness techniques and make the most of every moment that is the opportunity to fulfill your potential as a human being in the world today.   Danny Donachie
October sees Claire Trinder made Yoga Manchester's student of month. Counting long distance running (52 miles!!) as a passion, Claire has practised yoga for almost 20 years. Enjoy Claire's story and leave any of your thoughts in the comments section below.  

Tell us a bit about yourself  Claire-Trinder-Running-Yoga

Originally from further south, I gradually migrated north-wards and ended up in Manchester 19 years ago as a student who stayed at uni a bit too long and has stayed in Manchester even longer! I started off in biochemistry and after getting my PhD in bioinformatics I worked mainly within the cancer research field and this eventually led me to Northern Ireland.  I loved living over there, it is a beautiful place and the people are so friendly, but I missed my family and friends too much and I returned to Manchester but continued to travel back for work. I have recently given all of that up and am now working in Information Security at HP. I have lived in and around Didsbury since my student years and live in West Didsbury with my husband and so much more than my best friend Rich. When not at home or at a yoga class I am usually out running around the roads or the hills. I love long distance running , especially if it is out and about in the countryside. I have done over 50 marathons and over 30 events that are longer than marathon distance, my longest event being 52miles.  

What are you currently listening to? Tell us about it

Music wise I have a slight obsession with Muse and if they are touring, I am there. They also hold a special place in my heart because Rich and I got together and got engaged at a Muse gigs - although he has since moved on in his music tastes! He is big into his music so I will generally yield to whatever he wants on in the house, but I also like a bit of Green Day and Foo Fighters - great for cleaning the house to. Radio wise, I am generally tuned into Radio 4;I like the plays, dramas and have a strange captivation by the shipping forecast, it all sounds so mysterious.  

What brought you to yoga and how long have you been practising?

I first started going to yoga when I was at Uni in a bid to do more exercise. The teacher, Louise, told me about a class she taught at the village hall on Sundays and I went along there every so often as well. I dipped in and out of it for a few years and find it a great complement to the running I do. I was delighted when the Sports Yoga sessions started and attended various different classes when I was in Northern Ireland but was very happy to return to the Yoga Manchester classes when I moved back here permanently. My practice has become a lot more forgiving and I enjoy exploring the spiritual as well as physical side. I enjoy the opportunity to step of the speeding treadmill of life and into my own space where my focus becomes purely internal and a time for self-awareness without criticism (I am working on the last part!).  I recently introduced my mum to yoga as she was recovering from a serious illness and it was great to see how that helped her.  

What is your yoga super power?

I have no yoga super power apart from perseverance and acceptance of where I am at. I have learnt to embrace the rest period at the end of a session instead of fighting my way through it and back into the multi-threaded life that we all seem to live nowadays. I love Trikonasana, there is something about the angles and the rigidity of it. I enjoy shoulder stand and being almost upside down, one day I hope I can experience that in headstand or handstand. There are a number of the seated postures that I use to help me after a long run or challenging event and nothing beats taking an extended time to relax into these postures in the comfort of my own living room (with perhaps a glass of wine to hand!)  

 If you could be a character in a well-known film, who would you be and why?

That’s a really difficult one and I had to think about this for ages before concluding that being Storm in X-Men would be awesome as I’d be able to control the elements like she does. I also thought about actually playing a character and figured that any movie where you have a good laugh would be fun to be part of and I was reminded of Cannonball Run from the 80s and all the outtakes they show at the end and how much fun that looked like. Something like Scary Movie (1, 2, 3 or wherever they are at now) also looks like a cracking laugh.  

Where in Manchester is heaven?

Home will always be heaven to me, my parents’ home and my home in Manchester, especially my bed AND my garden. Having only just got myself a small patch of garden area, I am enjoying seeing how the plants grow and change on a daily basis. I love Greens in West Didsbury for food, Reserve for wine and also really like the chilled out vibe in Mary and Archies on Burton Road. I don’t tend to stray far from my house!  

If you could go back in time to see something or change something, what would it be?

That’s another tricky one! I don’t think it is possible to go back in time and do one single thing that would make our current world a nicer place to be, but I would love to go back and meet my Mum’s dad who sadly died before I was born. And just take a peek round my parents’ lives when they were younger!