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
Nurturing yourself is time well spent – we feel so much better and can spread some of that happiness to our loved ones. Not nurturing ourselves brings the exact opposite…
“Many people have sacrificed themselves for others, thinking when they sacrifice themselves they are being a good person. Wrong! To sacrifice yourself can only come from thoughts of absolute lack, because it is saying, “There is not enough for everyone, so I will go without.” Those feelings do not feel good and will eventually lead to resentment. There is abundance for everybody and it is each person’s responsibility to summon their own desires. You cannot summon for another person because you cannot think and feel for another. Your job is You. When you make feeling good a priority, that magnificent frequency will radiate and touch everyone close to you.”
Taken from ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne
If you are looking to spend a bit of time on yourself, why not book in for a wonderful morning of yoga on October 19th? We will be at Tinwell Village Hall just outside Stamford for a 21/2 hour workshop based on the theme of Finding the Goddess Within which will be a combination of fitness, fun and reflection.
In the Summer term our beginners yoga classes will focus on our arms and shoulders. We have been moving through the body – starting from the ground up – working to strengthen, stretch and inform ourselves about all the different parts of our physical body.
In this final term we will loosen, strengthen and stretch out the arms and shoulders. Experiencing how movement (or lack of it) in the shoulders affects our hearts. We will play with Downward Doggy, Crow pose and the Universal Twist. And of course, give ourselves plenty of encouraging pats on the backs and hugs (very good move for the shoulders).
I’m not forgetting that we have 1 more body part to think about…. our heads. I’ll be teaching Ujjayi Breathing to calm the mind and ease the furrowed brows… an essential part of our practice 😉
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
I have been teaching Yoga since 1997 and qualified as a British Wheel of Yoga teacher in 2001. I have been lucky to study with a number of different teachers over the years and have had experience of a variety of Yoga Schools. My style of teaching is mainly influenced by the Viniyoga and Mantra Yoga traditions. I aim to deliver interesting and structured lessons that allow students to develop, grow and improve. Classes include: asanas (postures), pranayama (breath work), concentration, relaxation, and philosophy.
This year our yoga classes will revolve around the theme of OPPOSITES. This concept was used widely in yogic literature to help us understand ourselves and the world in which we live. Our first pair of opposites will be BIG and small. As always with Hatha yoga we begin with the physical body and using the body to explore ways of being big – like an Oak Tree or a Mountain and also being small – like a child, a bird or a seed. Moving from one to the other challenges our balance, and strengthens and stretches our muscles.
We’ll work with the breath, expanding the lungs with physical moves and breathing exercises – discussing the benefits of large breaths vs small breaths and taking time to feel what this experience is like for us. Throughout our work during the year there will be many ‘companion’ opposites – loud and quiet, easy and strained may well be other pairs as we develop our work with the breath.
There will be time spent on thoughtful reflection too – looking back at BIG life events and forward to BIG life goals. And then considering the smaller things in life too –
“Sometimes,” said Poo, “the smallest things take up the most space in your heart.”
(from Winnie the Poo by AA Milne)
I’m very much looking forward to exploring this concept and other OPPOSITES with you as the new year of yoga unfolds. Namaste xx
In this year’s Stretch & Relax classes we’ll be taking a tour around the body seeing how each part feels for us on a personal level and also how improvements with one area can often alleviate issues in others… We will begin with our FEET which form the foundation o f our standing postures and which we rely on for our mobility and independence as we get older.
Feet are actually quite fascinating once you get over the look of them. They consist of lots of tiny bones, with lots of tiny joints in between. When the joints in the feet aren’t as flexible as they could be the result is that the feet can’t operate as the ‘suspension’ mechanism of the body – so even walking (let alone running and jumping) can become problematic to joints further up the body (knees, hips and spine) as the foot is not taking the impact of the weight of the body as it steps/plods around. We will use a variety of means – movement, massage with a small ball and massage with our hands to help to get our feet more flexible. And do you know… that because of all the nerve endings in the souls of the feet working with the feet can be extremely relaxing and calming. A traditional yogic remedy for insomnia is self foot massage. We’ll spend some time working on proper alignment of the feet as this can help prevent and heal foot problems such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, and shin splints not to mention a variety of mis-alignments further up the body. Keeping the feet flexible and relaxed also helps circulation of fluids to this area which over time helps to keep the skin on the feet healthy. Poor skin health is what leads to the build up of bacteria, smells, verrucas, athletes’ foot etc
So before we pack our tootsies into the boots for winter let’s give them some TLC and – who knows you may notice that the pain in your neck goes as well 🙂
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.
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