Spring Clean Home Practice

Spring is in the air… it’s time to spring into action!

At this time of year yogis often ‘cleanse’ their systems with a variety of practices. They can be physical asana, breathing practices or literally cleaning out the sinuses or digestive system with a special kriya or yoga cleansing method.

I’ve devised a simple sequence of asana for you to give it a try – a few stretches including the all important twisting movement which help the digestive system to ‘flow’.

Please note – always work within your own comfortable range of movements. Do not strain! If you have any blood pressure issues it is not advised to do a standing forward bend, try one of the modifications we have done in class instead.

Happy spring cleaning!

Sleep Tight!

how to sleep well

I’m always interested in improving my sleep. And I have to say that since reading this book I have slept like a log! At the time I didn’t feel that it was telling me anything that I didn’t already know – but some of it must have seeped into my subconscious as it has made quite a difference.

It’s a quick read (which is always a bonus) as there are a few chapters that you can skip (sleeping for new borns, kids etc). There’s also a great long list of things that make no difference to how you sleep which is also worth a bit of a glance.
Totally recommend it, buy it, read it and pass it on. Who couldn’t do with an extra half an hours sleep? Let’s make the world a better place.

Do Your Bit!

lift sharing  “YAY! OFF TO YOGA”

Would you like to share a lift to your yoga class? I would like to introduce ‘lift sharing’ as an option for students because we live in a rural environment and we always seem to have to get the car out just about everywhere we need to go! Is it time to think of the environment and try to share a lift to yoga with someone who lives near to you?

The benefits of lift sharing are – cost saving on fuel/wear and tear of your car, not having to drive after the relaxation at the end of the class every week, an extra bit of push to get to class every time.
The costs of lift sharing are – picking someone up you may not know well, going a little out of your way and thus taking a few minutes more, letting someone know if you can’t make the class.

It has been statistically proven that having a ‘buddy’ with any sport is very helpful in motivation. More people stick at their sport and attain their goals when they have a ‘buddy’ to help and support them. With this idea of lift sharing you are getting both a buddy and a driver – surely it must be worth a go?

If you are interested in participating in this scheme please email me here with your location and I will try to pair you up with another willing participant. There is no obligation to carry on if you give it a go and it doesn’t work – you can tell me and I will sort it out. But you never know it could be the start of something good!

Heal!

Heal is a documentary film about the connection between stress and illness. It shows how the mind and the body can affect each other when they are out of kilter. It is a very life affirming film. Many examples are used where giving the mind and body the right conditions/therapy has had tremendous healing power. It’s well worth a watch.

You can find the film on Netflix if you are a member or buy it on Youtube. Below is a trailer from youtube.

Summer Yoga Day 2019

“YOGA FOR A HAPPY HEART”

I hope you can join me for a wonderful day of yoga on Saturday the 22nd June – to celebrate World Yoga Day. Places will be limited, so please book by email as soon as possible.

22nd June 2019 – Exton Village Hall – 10am to 4pm – Cost £35

Programme

10.00  Welcome and introduction to the day

10.15 Meditation on the Heart

10.30 Yoga Postures – Opening the Heart-space

11.45 Coffee Break

12.00 Mudra and Pranayama for a Healthy Heart

12.30 Shared Vegetarian Lunch (Please bring a plate of food to share)

1.30 Relaxation – Yoga Nidra with focus at Anahata Chakra

2.00 Circle Yoga Postures

3.00 …When you don’t feel like being kind…

3.30 Joyful Chanting

3.50 Questions, further practice and close

 

Introduction to Yoga 2019

The Introduction to Yoga course in Exton will continue from March 4th with a further 6 sessions. After this the class will continue with the same themes as the Yoga class. The benefit of this is that if you have to miss your usual class one week you are welcome to make it up at one of the other venues – all I ask is that you let me know beforehand so that I know to expect you.

Our sessions will move a little faster this time, I will be introducing you to the Warrior postures which are very good for strengthening the legs. I’ll also be telling you the story behind these postures – an historic legend – so that you can see how the practice tries to bring together and into balance our minds and our physical body.

As before I will give out sheets to add into your folders – hopefully creating a good reference for you to begin a little bit of home practice.

Stretch & Relax Yoga – March 2019

This term we’ll continue our tour of body parts… having explored our FEET, LEGS and HIPS we now move onto the BACK.

We’ll be revisiting the structure of the spine and have a really great sequence of postures that will strengthen and stretch out the back – from the bottom to the top.

At the end of term I will give out the sequence in diagram form so that you can continue to practice at home – I think this sequence is one of the best things you can do to avoid a bad back! Great news for all that gardening that awaits us during this Spring Season.

Yoga classes March – April 2019

In the 90 minute Yoga classes we’ll continue the theme of ‘Opposites’.  Our next set of lessons drawing inspiration from the text of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras –

“sthira sukham asanam” (II:46)

Which is translated to mean ‘the posture is firm and soft’.

With these 2 things in mind we will look at a variety of postures including the Tiger, the Pigeon and a very deep backbend called the Melting Heart pose. Hopefully balancing the firmness and softness both on a physical and mental level. Challenging!

All of our posture work will help to strengthen and stretch our whole bodies so that we can enjoy stability and ease at all times in our lives.

Our focus in Pranayama will continue to develop Kapalbhati and the guided relaxations will aim to connect us all to the gentle and soft sides of our nature.

Kumbhaka

yoga stillness

In the yoga classes last term we explored the feelings of movement and stillness. There were complicated movements that really got our minds concentrating, simple flowing movements and then bringing the body to stillness – standing, seated and lying on the front and back of the body.  And we asked ourselves… can we ever be really still?

In the yogic teachings we are guided to bring the body to stillness to help bring the mind to stillness. Within the Pranayama (control of the breath) practice we observe the points at the ends of the inhale and exhale – where the tide of air changes direction. It is here that our body can be stiller, in this pause, which is called the Kumbhaka.

Try this simple practice – sitting in a comfortable position, breathe in and out through the nose, smooth 3 part breathing if you are familiar with it. Count 5 for the inhale and 5 for the exhale. Watch for the pauses at the end of the inhale and exhale (don’t feel as though you are holding the breath, just let the pauses feel like natural pauses). Practice for about 5 minutes. Watch for the spaces to arise, feeling the stillness in your body and your mind. If you feel dizzy at any time stop the practice. It should feel comfortable and relaxing.

If you have blood pressure issues it’s best to work under the guidance of a teacher rather than on your own with this kind of work.

 

Don’t Over Do It

Trying too hard

Are you trying too hard? Don’t fall into this trap in any area of your life… and especially in your yoga practice.  If you are applying too much effort (we call this rajasic in yoga) this will only exhaust you and detract from your enjoyment of whatever it is that you are doing.  If you let go of your expectation and simply focus on exploring and enjoying the feelings of the practice then your practice is worth the time spent on it. For example, if you want a toned tummy, find a variety of exercises that make you feel good at the time (abdominal breathing, Kapalbhati, plank post, Utkatasana) rather than just going with one an over doing it. Your tummy will come under control eventually and the journey that you make will be an enjoyable one with many other benefits.

This philosophy applies to life… enjoy what ever it is your doing without forcing things. If you have to force things there is a sense that it was not meant to be. In our yoga we want a practice that is comfortable – yes explore the edges, boundaries and challenge ourselves – but if it causes pain or our mind to be distracted then it’s not right for us at this time.

Any ‘posture’ is simply a guide. The benefits of a posture can be felt by a subtle, gentle variant as well as a strong variant. It could be argued the subtle movements are felt more greatly by the more experience yoga student and that the stronger moves are better for the beginner who has to feel with the whole body rather than the subtle energy. So the next time you are having a go at yoga – in class or at home – ask yourself “Am I trying too hard?”