Meet Dr Ali Walker + her expert advice on practicing daily mindfulness & consciousness!
Ali is an author, social scientist & media presenter in the fields of sociology, social psychology, consciousness and mindfulness. Ali also has a weekly radio segment called ‘Conscious Living’ on Radio 2UE 954am.
My first visit to Ali’s website was a breathe of fresh air. Ali approaches mindfullness and human consciousness with both depth and simplicity. She provides you with this instant rush of inspiration and motivation to take charge of your happiness and wellbeing so therefore I just had to have her visit us here at BareVitality!!
So lets get to know more about Dr Ali Walker and what she has to share with us!
Name: Ali Walker
2) The 5 things that currently make you most happy:
1. Being with my family- my husband Al and my son Raph (and soon to be one more!);
2. A burst of inspired writing, when the words are free-flowing and I feel like my mind and the page are totally connected;
3. Creating the Conscious Living segment on 2UE radio on Sunday nights- I love everything about radio!;
4. Soulful conversations, big ideas and mind-blowing meditations;
5. Swimming anywhere, anytime makes me happy.
3) Where did your interest in mindfulness, consciousness and social psychology all start? What is the driving force behind what you do?
I have always had a passion for understanding culture & what we are all conditioned to do. I am fascinated by group behaviour and collective values. Why is it, for example, that most of us behave in the same way, and often adopt beliefs and behaviours at the same time?
When I was at uni I became obsessed with consciousness and mindfulness. I was so interested in these ideas that I did an external course in Integral Coaching, which was based on Jungian psychology. All of my learning started to intertwine and I eventually completed a PhD in collective consciousness, blending ideas about law and sociology with ideas about the mind and group behaviour.
The driving force behind what I do is the expansion of consciousness in individuals and groups. This means encouraging people to go within, to access their inner universe, and to live from that place. I’m so grateful to be sharing this work through different channels- I believe consciousness is the key to the changes we seek in the world.
4) What are the daily rituals you incorporate for your personal wellbeing?
There’s really no typical day- I have a 3 year-old and I’m pregnant. Some days I write, exercise, swim and eat healthy food all day. Other days, I am so exhausted that it takes everything I have to get through the day!
I rely heavily on my sleep because I don’t drink coffee or alcohol. I try to get 8-9 hours each day (not always easy or possible as my son often wakes between 5-6am!). I really think sleep is underrated…
One thing I do everyday is write and meditate. It clears my head, which can get VERY cluttered. I’m a bit of an over-analyser…
My husband is a chef and works late most nights. Some nights, after my son has gone to bed, I turn all the lights off and meditate for half an hour. This ritual works well for my lifestyle, and I find that it gives me a more restful sleep. My dreams are also incredibly vivid!
5) Your book ‘Get Conscious’ is all about discovering your inner genius, warrior and lover. Tell us more about the role of daily consciousness towards our health and wellbeing?
The most important thing we can all do for our health and wellbeing is to make decisions from our inner voice, rather than the external voice of ‘should.’ So often, we make choices that we think will look good and sound impressive to others but ultimately they don’t make our hearts sing. My book is all about discovering our archetypes -our personality patterns- and using those archetypes to make life choices. This gives us a sense of living on purpose.
Working with our archetypes is a daily practice. We need to imagine that we have many selves living within us that need to be heard and understood. This can be done through journalling and meditation. This inner work can transform your life.
I am excited to say that I am publishing the book with Hay House in 2016. It will be out in Spring next year.
6) Here over at the BareVitality community we are big believers in daily self love and nourishment. We would love if you could share one of your favourite simple mindfulness practices we could incorporate in our day to enhance our self love and acceptance.
My favourite daily practice is called focusing. It is based on the 1978 work of Eugene Gendlin, a psychotherapist from the University of Chicago. It’s a great way to start your meditation practice if your mind is particularly overactive.
Here are the steps:
1. Tune in to your body. If you have any discomfort, recurring thoughts, an overactive mind, or pain, focus on that.
2. Ask yourself, ‘Where do I feel this in my body?’
3. Identify the felt sense: what does it feel like exactly? It might be butterflies in your stomach, a vice on your neck, daggers in your back or cement pushing down on your chest. Try to be as clear as possible- the clearer the better. Let me give an example. You might be stressed because of all the admin piling up on your desk: tax, insurance, forms etc. You are exhausted but need to do it. This is a perfect time for focusing. What does the admin feel like in your body? Where do you notice the pressure? Once you locate it in your body, get clear on exactly what it looks and feels like.
4. Once you have clarity around its size, shape and colour, ask the sensation what it is like from its point of view. This is a big jump from our logical brain into our intuitive sense about our body, but allow the answer to work its way in. The daggers in your back might say that they are there to protect you because you have such high standards- the daggers are there to ‘keep your guard up.’ Often you will be surprised by the answers your body gives you.
5. The final step is to ask the sensation what it needs from you. It might be relaxation, less pressure, adjusting your standards, better time management, changes to a relationship, more self-love or self-care.
Try not to second-guess the process. Once you have a successful focusing process, you will find that you can use it everyday to check in with your body. It is a great way to start your meditation if you have a lot on your mind.
You can visit Ali over at her: