The focus for our yoga practice this year will be the Elements –
Earth, Fire & Wind
There are actually 5 elements that we experience in all matter and in our bodies – the three above plus Water and Ether – we will save these for next year.
Up to Christmas we’ll have a think about the Earth Element – how it affects our yoga practice and our life in general. Firstly thinking about the earth as a solid and stable base, with a physical practice strengthening the legs, hips and core. We’ll use lunges, wide legged poses and make our bodies into triangles – wide at the base and narrow at the top like the mountains we see naturally occurring (well not in Rutland! but you know what I mean!). We’ll send our thoughts out to the 4 different directions improving our sense of place and connection. We will use the affect of gravity – lifting parts of our body in different ways to challenge the muscles and gain strength.
And we’ll consider how we can apply these stable poses when we feel adrift in our lives – as if someone has turned off gravity and things have gone haywire… We will come to stillness next to the Earth – our ‘Bedrock’, listening quietly for our heartbeat and reflect at how simple ‘Down to Earth’ things can bring us much joy and clarity.
After the half term we’ll apply the strength gained to test our Balance and try out some fancy footwork to enable us to be nimble and tread lightly on our Planet in all our efforts and endeavours.
Our Pranayama will work with the Stepped breath improving the capacity of our lungs and developing subtlety. Working in the 2nd half term towards Savitri Pranayama – the Square breath.
After a very enjoyable break I’m really looking forward to seeing you and getting stuck in with our yoga practice together. See you next week, Deb
In the summer term (June/July 2019) our yoga classes will nourish the mind and body looking at the concepts of UP & DOWN. Spending time bringing our focus to the souls of the feet and the crown of the head (please bring a block if you have one).
We will work between Up Dog and Down Dog to strengthen the core, shoulders and help the flexibility in the spine. There will be the option to work with the Cow pose for those not quite ready for the intensity of Up Dog.
It will be a term of bringing together many of the threads we have been working with all year – how opposites can help each other and by offering a true perspective on all that life offers us. Yoga is all about cultivating a mindset that objectively sees where it’s at and actively seeks a broader appreciation of situations. Thinking the opposite can really aid this.
We will continue to work with the ups and downs in our Sun Salutations – finding a suitable practice that suits each of us as an individual – but appreciating where we are and where we need to put in some work 😉 We will learn about the idea of ‘Abhyasa’ – PRACTICE!
Our year culminates with the ‘King of Asanas’ – the headstand – a truly upside down situation! No, we won’t be practicing it in class but I will introduce the benefits of the posture and we can work with a variety of preparatory exercises, which I hope will give you a flavour of the effects of the full pose.
Chakras are energy centers… ancient yogis developed a concept of energy pathways running all around the body – rather than our energy just radomly ‘fuzzing’ about inside us. This is similar to the system of meridians used in Chinese medicine, reflexology and acupuncture.
One of the main energy pathways (nadis) is along the spine. Where pathways cross the spine, the energy is said to become greater and move in a circular motion hence the name ‘Chakra’, which means wheel in Sanskrit.
You can find more out about the Chakras on the following websites
Did you know that you can relieve pain in the back, neck and shoulders by looking after your feet? In fact, by giving your feet just a little attention your whole body can feel a lot better.
Yoga can sooth the feet, strengthen them and ease foot pain besides improving circulation, reducing swelling and smelling!! Thought that would get your attention! We tend to dislike and ignore our feet – plodding round on them all day, crammed into tight fitting boots and shoes. The only time we think about them is when the summer first comes around and we have to get them sandal-fit or when they cause us trouble. The result of this is that 7 in 10 of us will suffer from foot problems as we age – most of which are entirely preventable.
Problems that occur with our feet include –
Bunions – a bony deformity of the joint at the base of the big toe. The medical name is hallux valgus. The main sign of a bunion is the big toe pointing towards the other toes on the same foot, which may force the foot bone attached to it (the first metatarsal) to stick outwards.
Hammer Toe – a bending deformity of one or both joints of the second, third, fourth or fifth (little) toes. This abnormal bending can put pressure on the toe when wearing shoes, causing problems to develop. Hammertoes usually start out as mild deformities and get progressively worse over time.
Tendinitis – an inflammation or irritation of a tendon, a thick cord that attaches bone to muscle.
Plantar fascitis – pain in the heel and bottom of the foot. The pain is usually most severe with the first steps of the day or following a period of rest.
Whilst some may see these as niggling minor ailments, foot problems can alter the foot’s structure and trigger pain elsewhere in the body. If your feet show any signs of pain or discomfort it’s most important to treat it as early as possible or EVEN BETTER prevent them from happening in the first place.
Yoga is great for prevention and can be used to correct some foot ailments. If you habitually place more weight on one foot than the other this will throw the knee joints, hip joints and spine out of alignment causing problems and pain at some point in the future.
Yoga treats the feet as the foundation of all standing postures. Keeping the joints structurally aligned over the feet ensures that the weight distribution is correct. Stretching the feet and taking them through their full range of motion keeps a healthy circulation which in turn helps to reduce inflammation and swelling. Yoga gives the feet a far better workout than any other form of exercise as we work bare foot – it’s a great set of tools for awakening and enlivening our feet.
In this workshop we’ll be bringing the focus to our feet – using them for balance, building strength, getting creative and super flexy! Be prepared to work in bare feet, as this is the best way to see and feel what is going on.
We’ll be working with a short routine that you can practice at home (a take away sheet will be provided). The more you can do yourself to keep your feet healthy, the better – little and often is the key.
To end the first section we’ll work with Viparita Karani ( Legs up the Wall pose) which helps to relax the feet (and the person as well!!).
Following a short coffee break, we’ll develop a stronger routine to help build strength in the ankles, legs and feet. This work aids good alignment of the lower body which in turn will help to prevent back problems. Finally we’ll conclude with a relaxation exercise to sooth the feet, body and mind.
As space is limited, early booking is recommended. You can book your place by emailing me here.
Partner yoga allows you to gain a another dimension to the usual yoga practice. It’s way more fun and far easier! And a great way to start yoga.
If you want to get the maximum out of yoga with the minimum effort – then try partner yoga. By using each other for heat, motivation, anatomy analysis, and not to mention physical support, every aspect of the yoga class benefits. Getting stronger, relaxing deeper, releasing tension mentally and physically, letting go and opening onto another level.
In this new workshop we’ll warm up by sitting back to back with a partner. In an instant you’ll be asking yourself why you haven’t tried this before. The heat from the other persons back warms you with no effort at all. The spine feels better already – back ache? What back ache? And then we begin to move – very gently – communicating at all times with our partner (remember you can’t see them). And so the class goes on, twisting, balancing, watching, supporting, encouraging, learning all done in the spirit of fun and investigation.
We’ll spend the first hour with gentle poses easing tension from the body with the focus on the back, neck and shoulders. Afterwards taking a relaxation exercise based on the Buddhist Metta Meditation (sending our thoughts out to those we love, don’t mind and finally don’t really like). Seeing the benefits of sharing our practice with a partner helps our comprehension that we are not alone, we are all in ‘it’ together and this is felt on many levels.
Following a short coffee + biscuit break we’ll begin to work developing more supported standing and balancing postures. Focusing on the alignment of the body and where support can be used. We’ll then take a breathing practice helping to balance our energy before reclining into Shavasana, relaxation, in a practice that will imbue a sense of deep peace and connection with all humanity.
You can come with a partner or find one at the workshop. You’ll have the option of working alone at any time if you prefer. The workshop is designed as a gentle, heart opening practice and will leave you feeling stretched, relaxed, deeply nourished and truly a part of one world!
As space is limited, early booking is recommended. You can book your place by emailing me here.
Due to the severe weather conditions and the forecast of more snow, I’ve decided to cancel the classes today at Preston and tomorrow at Ryhall (27th and 28th February 2018).
Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause or perhaps it’s a relief to you??? Let me know!
Keep warm, be patient and stay safe! (We all know that our roads and transport systems only need an inch of snow or a few leaves for hold ups to occur.) You may find that one of our deep breathing practices or a mantra may help if you find yourself in a stressful situation.
BACK TO NORMAL NEXT WEEK – LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU THEN
In keeping with our theme of the heart we will work opening the heart space with the Bow pose (Dhanurasana). This is an excellent posture for improving the digestion and so we’ll also be thinking about food – our love of food. There will be some time spent considering our relationship with food, how we eat our food and we will start with the benefits of detoxifying and purifying our bodies – which one of the first steps on the path of yoga.
Our focus for this year will be Anahata – the heart chakra. Anahata colours our life with love, compassion and beauty. Through our yoga pracite we’ll fill our hearts with love and generosity – give ourselves the time and space we deserve to feel loved and give love with joy and radiance.
In our asana this term we’ll be opening the chest area with back bends and twists, creating space to breath and for the heart to beat. Following a warm up we’ll steadily increase the complexity, strength and duration of postures to ensure that a gradual opening of the body is achieved.
We’ll be working with Mudra and Bandha for relaxation and the relief of stress and anxiety. Our aim will be to develop compassion for ourselves, those around us and the wider world. Many of the readings and practices will come from the Radiance Sutras by Lorin Roche – you may like to get your own copy for inspiration of your home practice, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
In our Stretch & Relax classes this year we’ll be going back to basics to remind ourselves of how yoga can help us to live a happier life free from suffering – often this means tackling minor ailments that we simply put up with. Things like tension headaches, back pain, joint pain and constipation. All of these reduce our quality and enjoyment of life – so why put up with it? Let’s get our mojo back, find our Joie de Vivre (painting above is of that title by Pablo Picasso)
We will begin with the Anti Rheumatic/Arthritic group of exercises. Arthritis is a term covering a wide range of conditions and diseases of the joints. Joints become painful, swell and the enforced lack of use means that the muscles around the joint then weaken. Osteoarthritis is the most common and affects many people as they get older. There are around 100 other forms which can be caused by injury, obesity, stress or be hereditary. The yogic anti arthritic range is extremely beneficial both to prevent and reverse the condition. When joints become stiff and painful this results in the poor flow of fluids and energy around the body. The result is often not just localised problems but the whole body can feel below par. This group of exercises therefore works on the whole being and can have a very meditative, calming and uplifting effect.
You can follow the exercises in the yoga handbook Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha – it is called Pawanmuktasana Part 1. PMA1 for short!
My new timetable will begin on September 4th – get yourself sorted and book your place now!
From September I will be making a few alterations to the timetable…. The number of classes I teach will be reduced from 7 to 6 as I would like to offer more workshops for students and explore alternative styles of yoga, meditation and nutritional therapy for myself.
There will be more of the 90 minute classes on offer as this is the norm for traditional yoga. Historically yoga has been taught in 90 minute sessions to allow sufficient time for posture work, (strengthen the body), breathwork (calms and purifies the body and mind) and relaxation or meditation (for optimum relaxation and healing). 90 minutes works with the body’s natural time cycles often called the Ultradian rhythm. Ultradian rhythms are actually quite fascinating – by learning more about your own rhythm you can optimise your efficiency and enjoyment of your days, see this website for moreinformation.
Please have a look at the new timetable and class descriptions hereand book in asap for September. Current class members will have priority until Friday 21st July, after which I will be taking bookings from new students. Please do let me know, even if you are carrying on with your old class, as space is limited and I wouldn’t want to disappoint anyone.