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 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.
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
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.
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.
Continuing with our theme this year of Systems of the Body, we are working this term with a focus on the musuclar system. We’ll look at how the muscles work with the bones of the body to give us our shape and movement.
I recommend THE MUSCLE BOOK by Paul Blakey which gives you a useful self-help guide to your own body with some pressure/massage points for when we get the inevitable aches and pains.
We’ll be working with the Downward Facing Dog and the Holy Fig Tree amongst other postures to focus on the largest muscle of the body (Gluteus Maximus). Seeing and feeling how this muscle works, what it does to hold us upright and how yoga helps to get and keep this muscle fit.
Our relaxation exercises will give the opportunity to see how effective relaxation is at the muscular level and we’ll also be thinking how our mind works to help the muscles and sometimes override the impulsive nature of our muscles.
Throughout this year our work will be focused upon finding Balance in our lives. This term we’ll revisit the concept of the Pancha Koshas or 5 Sheaths, reminding ourselves that as ‘human beings’ we are not just made up of a body and a mind – often at odds with each other. The yogic view is that we exist on 5 plains – even more scope to be out of kilter I’m afraid. Once the principle is understood, we will have time to reflect about how these Koshas are working within ourselves. Are we out of balance in a particular one?
The Pancha Koshas are
the anna-maya-atma or the “Self (atma) made of Food”
the prana-maya-atma or “the Self made of Vital Breath (prana)”
the mana-maya-atma or “the Self made of Mind (manas)”
the vijnana-maya-atma or “the Self made of Consciousness or intellect (vijnana)”
the ananda-maya-atma or “the Self made of Bliss (ananda)”, where one attains to Brahman
Our asana will be varied and demanding (if you wish), with movement and static posture work included. The Pranayama will consist of Nadi Shodhana, implementing the counted breathing from last term to the practice of balancing the left and right nostril breathing.
As and when you get your mala beads bring them into class and we can begin to learn the technique in preparation for our mantra work after Christmas.
If you find you are carrying tension in your neck, shoulders and upper back after all the frenzied activities of Christmas and the New Year, why not give yourself a treat and try out yoga???
In my relaxed classes this term, we’ll be stretching out the shoulders and whittling the waists with some floor exercises…
and seated postures…
The term begins on 4th January and runs up to 12th February. No experience is necessary – you will just need to bring a smile, yoga mat and blanket with you. Please contact me here if you would like to book a place.