LOTS OF MONEY RAISED AT OUR YOGA PARTY : )

A HUGE BIG SMILEY THANK YOU to everyone who cooked, donated, photographed and joined in the ‘community’ yoga for our Yoga Party. We raised a whopping £492 for the Leicester based charity Hope Against Cancer.

For those that couldn’t attend, here’s a flavour of the evening…

Firstly, we did about an hour of yoga – mostly with chairs and then worked with a standing balance ‘Vrksasana’ (tree pose) both individually and as a group…

While we waited for the food to heat up Prof. Raghu Raghavan (Trustee of Hope Against Cancer) told us about the work of the charity – how it helps buy equipment, sponsors the work of PhD students and collaborates with other charities to do larger projects.

Then we ate a lovely feast of lasagne and salad (there was a choice of 4 different types and all were delicious)…

Afterwards we had a selection of homemade/grown desserts (of course I had to try them all)…

Finally we all kept our fingers crossed as the raffle was drawn… prizes included a photo shoot and print by Daniel McClean, vouchers for Cook, lots of wine, chocolates and candles. Everyone went home with a treat!

We all had such a good time that plans are already in motion to have another Yoga-Social in September…  a picnic at Rutland water. Keep an eye out in the newsletter for further information.

 

Yoga Party – 23rd June 2018 – in aid of Hope Against Cancer

YOGA PARTY IN AID OF HOPE AGAINST CANCER

Come along for a fun evening of gentle yoga, a meal and a raffle. This is a fabulous opportunity to meet properly the people who you practice yoga with. And you can bring your husband/wife/friends too! Everyone is welcome! We all have been touched by cancer – friends, relatives and fellow students…. so why not raise the roof and raise some funds at the same time with this summer evening event in Preston.

Hope Against Cancer is a local charity with a focus on clinical trials in Leicestershire and Rutland. Prof. Raghu Raghaven (Preston 6.00 class) is involved directly with this charity and will give us a bit more information about their work and how the money raised will be used. You can look at their website here.

SATURDAY 23rd JUNE 7 – 10pm at  PRESTON VILLAGE HALL

1 hour class of simple no-mat yoga including postures, breath work and moving meditation.

followed by lasagne and salad, then a sumptuous pudding table

raffle – tickets sold and prize draw on the night

 

How can you help?

Make a lasagne/salad/pudding. Grow some salad leaves;) Donate a raffle prize.

Come along and bring your friends!

You can pledge a contribution on the clipboard at registration or email me deb@do-yoga.co.uk

 

TICKETS £20 – LIMITED DUE TO NUMBER OF CHAIRS!

Available from classes 21st May onward

My Tirth Yatra Experience

Leicester has one of the largest concentrations of Hindu temples or mandirs outside India and on 25 March I joined the annual pilgrimage, Tirth Yatra, and walked some ten miles visiting many of these temples. I made lots of friends along the way and enjoyed the festival atmosphere as the Yatra coincided with Ram Navami, Lord Rama’s birthday. The mandirs are all very interesting and distinctive, some grand and other quite humble, but, on this auspicious day, all were a riot of colour, music and people jostling for a chance to rock the baby Rama’s cradle.

I would urge you to join me on next year’s Yatra or just drop in on one of the many mandirs at any time when you will be made to feel most welcome.

Tony, Preston class 6 – 7.30

MEDITATION FOR BEGINNERS – A MORNING WORKSHOP

Saturday 26th May 10 – 1 Ryhall Village Hall

Many people get frustrated with meditation or simply have no idea where to start. Meditation is meant to be enjoyable, relaxing and a powerful tool for our health. I have put together a morning of movement and stillness, noise and silence, laughter and peace so that I can pass on this hugely rewarding practice. No previous experience of yoga is necessary – just a mat and blanket.

So what exactly is meditation? Emptying your mind like emptying your kitchen bin??? Well it can have that effect – but in a more gentle manner – we are trying to sooth the mind and reduce the ‘background’ noise. Meditation gives our mind something to focus on, so it has an anchor to hold onto. Anchors may include saying a mantra, looking at an object, watching the breath or simple movements. An anchor also helps us be fully present and live in the moment – trying to stop thoughts of the past and future.

Holding onto these anchors helps quiet our minds and then we can get a glimpse of how the mind is working.  We can then get to see our worries, our obsessions and the busyness of the mind just like clouds floating in the sky. Potentially, we can choose to let these things go as we put some perspective onto the thoughts and see them as just that – thoughts.  In a sense we develop our own method of managing our thoughts. Instead of our thoughts controlling us we get some control over them!

Some people see meditation like sitting at the shore of the ocean of your mind and just watching the waves come and go. We’re not pushing our thoughts away, or judging them but simply watching these thoughts as we’d watch the waves while sitting on the beach. And whilst on the beach watching each wave there’s also a sense of connection to something bigger, something that helps you put some perspective onto the thoughts.

But what if I can’t sit still? Or simply don’t have 5 minutes a day to practice? Don’t worry, meditation is not supposed to be something that is added to your to-do list. Fidgetty people are actually the ones who can benefit the most from meditation, as it helps you to r-e-l-a-x. You can meditate walking or gently moving the body in different ways as well as the traditional statue-like state. That said, being still in the body does help to be still in the mind, but this will come with practice and patience.  There are many well respected studies that show how beneficial meditation is for stress reduction, productivity improvement and easing insomnia. You can read more about this here

On this MEDITATION FOR BEGINNERS workshop you will take a light hearted tour around the important aspects of meditation and explore several different methods. It is experiential (you will do things) as well as being a little theoretical, giving you some background information which will hopefully inspire and fire you up to make time for meditation in your life.

Please book your place in class or email me via the Contact Us page.

Live each moment as a moment of pure joy!

The Radiance Sutras are a wonderful set of verses which help us to stop and appreciate the present moment. They are translated from an ancient text and give us  112 ‘yuktis’, or yoga meditation practices, for opening to the divine mystery within everyday experiences… here is yukti 51…

Wherever, whenever you feel carried away,

Rejoicing in every breath,

There, there is your meditation hall.

Cherish these times of absorption-

Rocking the baby in the silence of the night,

Pouring water into a crystal glass,

Tending the logs in a crackling fire,

Sharing a meal with a circle of friends,

Embrace these pleasures and know,

“This is my true body.”

 

Nowhere is more holy than this.

Right here is the sacred pilgrimage.

Live in alertness for such a moment, my beloved,

As if it were your one meeting with the Creator.

(Taken from The Radiance Sutras by Lorin Roche)

Is it time to find yourself a yoga buddy?

I know, it sounds a bit American, but it’s so true – a yoga or fitness buddy is a valuable resource to keep you motivated and save you money. We’ve all experienced the initial enthusiasm of a new sport or New Years’ Resolution, but as it wears off people often find that they give up despite the fact that the new routine is really doing good things. Research shows that having a fitness buddy in fact helps to keep you on track and motivated. The same is true with a yoga buddy, there are so many advantages that you’d be mad not to go out and find yourself one right now! Here are just 5 ways that they can help you…and you can help them…

1 – Safety in numbers! It sounds silly, but even as grown-ups, if you are starting a new class, you can feel a bit intimidated by the other class members who have been coming a while and know the ropes. Bringing along a pal is a great way to overcome this sense of intimidation.

2 – Ensure that you turn up! We all have those days when we just want to crash on the sofa… If someone is relying on you to help them then you have to find the energy. And you know that you’ll feel better yourself too.

3 – Share lifts! A great way to save money, especially in our area where we often have to drive for 15-20 minutes.

4 – It’s more fun! By creating shared moments you will develop your friendship and have more fun along the way particularly when you travel together and can review the highs and lows on the way home!

5 – You can make your yoga a social event! Why not have a drink or meal afterwards once a month as a reward for sticking at it? What about a yoga day? Or a yoga holiday? Look out for workshops where you could go along with your buddy and have a new experience, delving a little deeper but still with the comfort of knowing your buddy is there with you.

The Blooming of a Lotus

In the yoga classes this term we are working with the Thich Nhat Hanh book “The Blooming of a Lotus”. This book guides us through simple techniques of meditation to help focus on the ‘now’.  If you want to get your own copy, we are starting at the very beginning and working through the first and second exercises from chapter 1.

Here is a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh from the beginning of chaper 1 –

“In the Anapanasai Sutta, the Buddha teaches mindfulness of breathing as a guided meditation. There are sixteen exercises divided into four parts. The first part is using the breath to be mindful of the body. The second is using the breath to be mindful of the feelings. The third is breathing to be mindful of the mind. The fourth is breathing to be mindful of the objects of the mind. In this book all four of these areas or fields of mindfulness are covered. The exercises on mindfulness of the body are the most basic practice and can be used at any time as an introduction to exercises for looking deeply and transforming. They help us become accustomed to breathing consciously and to use the breathing to unite the body and mind.”

Friendship Mudra

This mudra is from the card set by Gertrud Hirschi – a wonderful gift for a loved one (or even yourself).

Mudras redirect the energy lines which flow around, through and outwards from our body. By placing the fingers (and sometimes other body parts) in different ways we send the energy to parts that we feel need it. With the friendship mudra the thumbs tips are connected over to the base of the little fingers, ring finger and middle finger are curled on top of the thumbs and the forefinger tips connect with the little fingers hooked together.

This shaping redirects the energy lines to the heart, lungs and kidneys.

Gertrud says –

‘Good friendships make life pleasanter, more enjoyable – and longer. There are the spice of one’s life. With this mudra you not only do your friends good, but also yourself, because everything with you send out with it comes back to your own benefit.  In your imagination you send your friends and family a loving and cheering smile. Wait and see how the recipients return the gesture!’

May a thousand hands carry you,

A thousand kisses touch you,

A thousand hearts reach out to you,

And millions of stars shine upon you.

Yoga Hangover Rescue

We all overindulge from time to time – at Christmas especially we tend to get into the ‘swing’ of things and let our hair down. Also, at this time we can be enticed to try something other than our usual tipple – but then it’s more difficult to notice the effects until it’s too late.

While the best way ever to relieve a hangover is to not get one in the first place – if you halo does slip then yoga practices can come to the rescue.  Take it slowly and be fairly deliberate with each pose – even if it is a rest – as that’s what your body needs.

Kneeling – Vajrasana

Settle yourself (use a blanket under the shins and/or blocks under your bottom to enable you to sit here comfortably). Watch the breath for 10 x in and out.

Recite your favourite mantra, ‘OM’ or “I try to find the right balance in all things” (a mantra for moderation – better late than never!) 10 times.

Gentle Marjariasana

  

Work very gently to mobilise the spine. Follow the breath sinking the tummy down into the inhale and then as you exhale lift the tummy and lower the head. All movement should be slow and deliberate. This exercise will help to ‘breathe’ the body increasing the exhale process and getting rid of toxins and relaxing the muscles of the neck and back. Practice up to 10 times.  If this exercise doesn’t feel right for your tummy or head tough, skip this and the down dog and go to straight to the Staff pose.

Down Dog

Headstand and handstand are the classic cure for headaches. However, if you have never done one before now is not the time to experiment. To do either of those postures takes many years to build up the correct strength in the whole body – and actually, you can get most of the benefits by doing the Down Dog. The way these postures help is to increase the blood flow to the head and neck areas (blood that has increased oxygen from the exercise before).  So if, after the Marjariasana you are feeling OK, from a neutral position (hands and knees with the back neither up or down), take a breath in and on the out breath push your bottom back and up to make a triangle position. Keep your head sandwiched between your upper arms. Breath smoothly and slowly about 5 times and then lower down to hands and knees and then to kneeling.

Staff pose

Settle the body once more. Take 10 smooth breaths in staff pose, ensure the shoulders are over the hips, shoulders are relaxed and crown of the head facing up towards the ceiling.

Seated Spinal Twist

Twists have the effect of ‘wringing’ out the fluids in your abdominal area and are a great way to get toxins moving out.

From the Staff pose, cross one foot over the other leg. Hug the knee into the chest with the opposite arm and breathe in deeply. As you exhale twist the body around and place the free hand on the floor behind you. You can turn your head around too depending if this feels comfortable for you head and neck.  Stay in the pose for around 5 deliberate breaths and then unwind on the inhale. Sit in the Staff pose for 5 breaths before taking the twist on the other side.

Complete the sequence with 10 breaths in the Staff pose.

Long term…

When you practice yoga regularly you become closely tuned in to your body and are more able to read the signs of when enough is enough. Your tolerance to alcohol may actually lower due to the purification aspects of the practices. Yoga affects us in many different ways – some you appreciate and come to expect straight away but others you just don’t see coming and can be amazing. Do let me know if this sequence works for you.

Yes, You Can Start Yoga In Your 70’s!

I first took up yoga when I was 73!!

I found the stretch and relax class at Preston Village Hall (Tuesdays 7 – 8) perfect for me – not too much strenuous exercise.

The breathing and gentle exercises helped with my sleeping and relaxation at the same time as strengthening my muscles and bones.

My aching fingers and wrists have vanished!!! I can’t believe it!!!

Margaret, Uppingham