Lets Explore… SEATED TWISTS

Twists are great ways to reduce tension in the back muscles and they also help to undo knots in our minds as well… (It’s the yoga magic!) Additional benefits include a wringing action in the soft tissues which squeeze out fluids and then upon release of the twist refill with fresh juices – FEELS GOOD!

Here in pictorial format, I thought I would show you the development of the seated twist from basic to advanced. YOU know where you are on this scale – look out for the key alignment of the spine in all these postures and then work on it yourself. I know I don’t have to tell you – but it is best to feel accomplished in the first posture before attempting the next stage.

If you are able to sit cross legged, this is the best start for a twist. Use your blocks to get comfortable in Sukasana (cross legged) and then place the hand on the opposite knee, breathe in and as you exhale twist the shoulders around and place the finger tips on the floor behind you. Stay for 3 – 5 breaths and then untwist on the inhale. Work both sides. Keep the spine aligned throughout. Cross the legs in the opposite direction now and repeat.

If cross legged is not comfortable then begin in Dandasana with the legs outstretched. (This is also stage 2 if you did work in the cross legged pose.) Cross one leg over the other and hug the knee into the torso with the opposite arm; breathe in, and as you exhale twist the shoulders around and place the fingers on the floor behind you. NB Keep the spine aligned CROWN OVER TAIL BONE it is so easy to lean back but this doesn’t help the twist. Also, if you find this causes lower back discomfort, you can sit on one block.

Keep working on stage 2 until the shoulders comfortably twist into alignment with the outstretched leg. There are a number of different variations with different arms. This is where most people spend time working ( 3-5 breaths for each side is enough in each practice). Gently encourage your spine to twist as you exhale. Keep the spine aligned throughout.

As the twist movement comes with ease, you can begin to bend the outstretched leg. Do the previous version first and then try the new leg position in a 2nd round. Take your time with these advancements – don’t force anything. Breathe and relax the body will stretch over time – and by time I mean months and years.

In the final stage (Ardha Matseyendrasana), the shoulders twist easily around enabling the arms to ‘bind’ underneath the upright knee. The example here shows the spine beautifully aligned and the head twisted around (not as relaxed as the rest of the posture seems though). It is the ease of the legs and arms which your are seeking – this yogi feels relaxed in the posture. A feeling of being in the posture rather than pushing to achieve it – which is what you want to aim for in your practice.

No matter what stage you are at – this is the right stage for you now. Don’t force anything. If you are unsure about what you’re doing – pay attention next time you are in class! Get in early and sit at the front, I regularly demonstrate postures at the beginning of when we practice and then get up and move around the room. If it suits you better, come along for a 1-2-1 in my yoga room, great gains can be made with a few moments spent in preparatory movements to open up a particularly tight area of your body – this can’t always happen in a class environment.

Happy Twisting – and remember spine upright and practice safely x

 

Make an ongoing commitment to your own health and wellbeing

Looking after your health is an ongoing process and we must always be increasing our commitment to it as we get older and become susceptible to more problems. Most of us take good health totally for granted – something we are given and don’t have to take care of. But as you are probably thinking, that’s a ridiculous notion. By turning a blind eye to our niggling back pain or continuous tension headaches we have more time for the ‘important’ things in our lives. But what good will all the money in the word do you when you develop a heart disease? And how will you look after your family then?

 

Are you actively involved in maintaining your own health? Come on, be honest, do you prioritise YOU? Sounds so obvious doesn’t it? But if you were to spend one week in my shoes – or reading my email – you would see just how many people put soooo much before their own health.

 

It is a convenient belief of many today that we can simply hand over our health to doctors, nurses, pills and potions and say “fix this please, it’s hurting me”. This is a further acknowledgement that we don’t want to be responsible for our own health and perpetuates the myth that illness and disease are something that happen to you – that they are somehow separate. However no disease happens by accident. Accidents happen by accident. Getting a heart disease is not an accident.

 

We are all actually in a state of wellness or un-wellness. It really is a case of shades of grey rather than a black and white situation. Illness and disease are not something ‘out there’ separate from you – something that you have no control over. Your body is a magnificent, self healing organism. Your immune system is very powerful and the self regenerating capacity of your body is simply fantastic.

 

Illness is only the last stage of a problem. Before anyone becomes ill, there are early warning signs that things are not quite right. These might include feeling tired more than usual, feeling lifeless, irritability, mental confusion, headaches or general aches and pains. All these should say to you “I need to rest more often and listen to my body more, to see what is at the bottom of this”. If these signs are ignored the body will not cope and ends up waving a red flag and saying ‘I’ve had enough and am going to break down’. The run down state is the cause of the problem (causing a weakened immunity system) and the disease that follows is the effect.

 

If you have the awareness to identify the problem before it gets out of hand and provide the body with the right conditions for it to get on with its own defense and healing, you will have saved yourself much suffering – and this is the goal of yoga.

 

After all modern medicine helps the body to heal – the doctors, nurses and drugs do not actually heal the body for us. It is our cells which have to regenerate and mend the affected part. Take a broken leg for example. Once the bone is set back in the correct place, it is the body that does the job of mending. With rest, good food and a calm mental attitude this will take less time. It is more difficult to imagine how the body ‘rebuilds’ itself with other illness such as pneumonia or high blood pressure – but it does.

 

Convinced? Take a long look in the mirror, look at your eyes, skin tone, tongue. Do you look good? Feel alive? A healthy lifestyle with fresh food and daily yoga goes a very long way to improve your health and wellbeing. All it takes is for you to commit.

Inspirational Poetry for Meditation over the Sunny Summer months…

Why not steal five or ten minutes over the summer to simply sit and read a poem?

You could even read it on a visit to a beautiful place – some local suggestions – Rutland Water, Launde Abbey or Burghley Park…

You fill my soul with sunshine 

You fill my soul with sunshine
my heart with tender care.
You fill my world with happiness
knowing that you are always there

Every waking hour
is filled with your love
that I feel I’ve been blessed
with an angel from above

There are no words enough
to express the way I feel
knowing that this heart
will never feel no ill.

This old world may go on,
being crazier every day.
However, I have the inner warmth of knowing
you fill my soul with sunshine each and every day.

David Harris

A Gleam Of Sunshine – Poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This is the place. Stand still, my steed,
Let me review the scene,
And summon from the shadowy Past
The forms that once have been.

The Past and Present here unite
Beneath Time’s flowing tide,
Like footprints hidden by a brook,
But seen on either side.

Here runs the highway to the town;
There the green lane descends,
Through which I walked to church with thee,
O gentlest of my friends!

The shadow of the linden-trees
Lay moving on the grass;
Between them and the moving boughs,
A shadow, thou didst pass.

Thy dress was like the lilies,
And thy heart as pure as they:
One of God’s holy messengers
Did walk with me that day.

I saw the branches of the trees
Bend down thy touch to meet,
The clover-blossoms in the grass
Rise up to kiss thy feet,

“Sleep, sleep to-day, tormenting cares,
Of earth and folly born!”
Solemnly sang the village choir
On that sweet Sabbath morn.

Through the closed blinds the golden sun
Poured in a dusty beam,
Like the celestial ladder seen
By Jacob in his dream.

And ever and anon, the wind,
Sweet-scented with the hay,
Turned o’er the hymn-book’s fluttering leaves
That on the window lay.

Long was the good man’s sermon,
Yet it seemed not so to me;
For he spake of Ruth the beautiful,
And still I thought of thee.

Long was the prayer he uttered,
Yet it seemed not so to me;
For in my heart I prayed with him,
And still I thought of thee.

But now, alas! the place seems changed;
Thou art no longer here:
Part of the sunshine of the scene
With thee did disappear.

Though thoughts, deep-rooted in my heart,
Like pine-trees dark and high,
Subdue the light of noon, and breathe
A low and ceaseless sigh;

This memory brightens o’er the past,
As when the sun, concealed
Behind some cloud that near us hangs
Shines on a distant field.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

I Will Be Your Sun

 

You carry a whole world with you.
A planet rests upon your shoulders.
You may not see it, but I do.

There is a Universe Within that you carry wherever you go.
Ecosystems of passion and romance. Warring nations of worry and fear.
A billion living ideas, stories and experiences that make up a whole history named You.

Wherever you go, I promise to be your sun.

It’s not that your life revolves around me.
Think of it like this:
Whenever you come to me,

I will do my best to be quiet and still
and shine nothing but kindness and light upon you.

 

Dave Ursillo

Carol goes for The Big Sleep Out

carol-jules-lee-ready-for-the-big-sleepout

LOCAL SOLICITOR SLEEPING ROUGH TO SUPPORT and HIGHLIGHT HOMELESS CHARITY

On the night of December 2nd my husband, Jules, and I together with one of our sons, will be sleeping in a cardboard box, outside, whatever the cold winter weather. No, we won’t have become homeless ourselves by that date (fortunately) but we will be joining with hundreds of others for the 2016 Big Sleepout, organised by Trinity Homeless Projects. Trinity provides day services, housing, coaching, training, work placements and support to move-on. This year they will house 275 people, all with no government funding.

Whenever we visit any city or town, we are always astounded and saddened by how many (mostly young ) people are sleeping on the streets.  The facts that we are fortunate enough to have never experienced the horrors of this and  we make our living largely from the housing market, made us wish to do something to help highlight awareness of this problem and to help raise funds towards the wonderful and practical work carried out by Trinity Homeless Projects. Sleeping outside in the freezing cold in a cardboard box isn’t likely to be a pleasant experience but we know that we shall be experiencing only a fraction of what so many people in our country experience every night. We shall be safe and shall know  that we have hundreds of people around us. Most of all, we know that we shall be  there out of choice. I can’t even begin to imagine how it must feel being vulnerable, painfully alone, and with no other option. I don’t think any of us could truly imagine it, unless we actually experienced it for real. That is why we are  so passionate about combating homelessness and supporting the  work of  Trinity.

If you are able to support us in these efforts, our Just Giving web-link page and the link to details of the event are below. A  massive thank you in advance and thank you to all those who have already contributed and supported us. Every contribution, every penny, helps and will be put to good practical use.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.



https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/LeeWhitmore

http://www.wearetrinity.org.uk/the-big-sleepout/


With kind regards,

Carol Lee
Senior Consultant Solicitor and Notary Public
Member of the Law Society Property Section

Setfords Solicitors
clee@setfords.co.uk
Direct line: 01572 453101

Izzie Miccolis (Secretary to Carol Lee): 01572 490270

Sarah Pembleton (Residential Conveyancing Manager for Carol Lee):  01664 491412

Fax: 01483 300487

Meeting rooms at Uppingham and Oakham

Setfords Solicitors

Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich

Image result for cheese and red pepper sandwich

So simple and yet so delicious – take a red pepper and an onion, chop up and either roast or stir fry. Slice your bread (I used a French stick), spread with cream cheese or humous. Load up with your hot pepper and onion mix and enjoy.

Simply perfect for a cold winters day lunch.

 

How to do a good OM

Sit comfortably with your back straight.  Lift the ribcage and elongate the spine.

Breath quietly and calmly for a few breaths.

Take a lovely, long deep inhale – expand you ribcage out to the sides of the room.

On the exhalation begin chanting OM – there are 4 distinct parts –

ah

oh

mmm

silence

Pause.

Inhale and exhale.

Chant twice more.  (3 oms a day help you work, rest and play!)

Why do this???

Chanting OM helps you to elongate the breath – this has many benefits including fully oxygenating the tissues of the body and gentle massaging of the heart by the diaphragm.

The sound vibrations help to calm the nervous system.

The single focus helps to clear the mind of daily clutter.

Try it, you might like it!

Summer Reading Guide

Here is a selection of books that have inspired and informed my teaching this year.

Each of them would make a super present (to yourself) – second hand copies are usually available on Amazon so check those out and take one on holiday with you for a super blissful time!

Learn to Relax – Mike George

This is a gem of a book with marvellous suggestions for practice.  It is beautifully illustrated and will make a super present or coffee table book to dip in and out of. Excellent for reading on a plane or beach.

The Radiance Sutras – Lorin Roche

This wonderful book is full of luscious verses to inspire meditation practice. It takes you through a series of ‘banters’ which are conversations about how the breath works and how to find deep peace within. The second sections is a series of explanations about the meanings of Sanskrit terms and meditations to reflect upon them. A truly inspirational book of great value and meaning for those interested in seeking peace within.

Mudras; yoga in your hands – Gertrud Hirschi

This book offers a comprehensive guide to mudras (seals of energy). We have practiced many throughout the year and you will be able to extend and develop your knowledge with this guide. Mudras are a way to deepen meditation and asana practice bringing you truly and deeply in touch with your self and energy.

Working on our soft side…

ardha chandrasana

This term in the Yoga Fit classes we’ll be working with one of the moon postures (Ardha Chandrasana). Our flow will be a kneeling selection of postures and we’ll work up to the classical vinyasa called the Moon Sequence. This type of asana is very good for the hips, shoulders and is very helpful for our respiratory system. From a psychological view point the postures are great for building confidence – as we show our ‘soft side’, getting used to revealing the more vulnerable areas of our body. The moon is the symbol of femininity and this pose helps us to get in touch with all things feminine.

Yoga is about balance – with the longest day on it’s way we can feel a bit out of kilter – or perhaps a sense of trying to fit too much into each day. The nights are short and this may mean we don’t get enough rest… Our practice of the Moon Sequence is a way of redressing this balance.

Classes take place at Tinwell Village Hall 6 – 7 on Monday evenings from June 6th – July 18th. If you would like to come along please contact me to see if there is space available.

Saturday Yoga Workshop

yoga for computer users

May 14th 10 – 12

Preston Village Hall

Yoga for Computer Users

Cost £10

Following on from the success of my Chair Yoga Challenge, I have developed a workshop to help all who spend hours at their desk working on a computer. Beginning with a fun look at our posture and how the skeletal structure works we’ll then use chairs to create some old and new yoga postures that can help to alleviate fatigue and build strength in muscles that can become lazy due to sitting for long periods.  This will be an informative morning engaging the brain and the body. All students will leave with a handy guide to remind them to practice a little bit each day.

Limited places availabe – Please book early to avoid disappointment

BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE

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