NEW YOGA CLASSES WITH SARAH ROGERS

Yoga for All – St Gilbert’s Primary School, Stamford. PE9 2PP

Thursday 6.45-8.00pm

Yoga for All – Barn Hill Methodist Church, Stamford. PE9 2PP

Friday 9.30-11.00am

sarahyoga@talktalk.net

07751 884534

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.

Is Your Posture Getting On Your Nerves?

Did your know that your posture effects the alignment of the spine and this can have a knock-on effect on the nervous system?

As the nerves travel through the spine – down the central cavity and in between the vertebrae – it stands to reason that any misalignment due to injury or bad posture will have and effect on your body and mind.

nerves of the spine

When the body is in correct alignment there will be less tension and the nervous system will run smoothly, unimpeded as nature intended.

Below is a which indicates problems and their possible sources if nerves become pressured by the spine…

spinalchart

This is only meant to hi-light how important posture and alignment are in our lives – not for self diagnoses or to worry you.

Stretching out the spine in the 6 main directions, as we do in yoga, and awareness of good posture should enable all of us to move with grace and live without pain.

If you want to read more about what goes on inside you… try Spine Universe where you can watch their short video.

If you would like to work on your posture and gain a greater understanding of the spine and how to strengthen the muscles around it, why not come along to my workshop in Ryhall on Saturday 24th February? We will be looking at exercises to do just that – you can see more information here or contact me to see if there is a place.

 

Shakti Bandha Asanas

In the Stretch and Relax classes we are having a go at the Shakti Bandha Asana (energy block postures). These are exercises that help to improve the flow of energy within the body. They are useful for breaking down neuro-muscular knots especially in the pelvic region where energy tends to stagnate. The postures are very helpful for people with reduced vitality and/or a stiff back. They are useful to develop pelvic and core strength for all levels of fitness. They also improve the condition of the lungs, heart and endocrine system. It is not necessary to ‘force’ these movements, they can be done very gently to good effect – even sitting on a chair. So what every your age or level of fitness you can give your energy a boost by getting rid of any blocks with this sequence.

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.

Yoga For Tired Eyes

Have you been burning the candle at both ends? Got a cold and can’t sleep because of a stuffed up nose? Been putting in long hours at work due to customer demands or co-workers off sick?

Left untreated, tired eyes can lead to eye strain, headaches and a build-up of tension throughout your whole body. If you are going through a stressful life issue, tired eyes can hinder your thinking, making you feel lifeless and dull. As they say, your eyes are the window to your soul so it’s wise to take heed and do something about it.  Getting enough rest is crucial – try getting a couple of early nights – whatever it takes (cancel a party, use 2 or 3 propped up pillows). Simply ‘resting’ your eyes even if you can’t sleep still helps.

There are several yogic exercises that help to relax your eyes and bring more oxygen to them. Practice one or 2 of the following exercises 2 – 5 times during your day for both instant and long term relief.

Quick note – when you practice these exercises, keep your back straight and head still, relax your shoulders, breathe steadily and just move your eyes.

  1. Open your eyes wide, look from side to side 10 times, then up and down and then diagonally 10 times.
  2. Imagine you are staring at the face of a clock. Starting at 12 o’clock, slowly move your eyes from minute to minute along the clock until you return to 12 o’clock. Rest your eyes then repeat going in anti-clockwise direction.
  3. Look straight ahead, hold your thumb up about 30 cm in front of your face and focus at your thumb nail, then focus on something in the distance. Relax and repeat 5 – 10 times. Change hands and look at the other thumb.
  4. Close your eyes and press the tips of your fingers to the outer edges of your eyes. Gently massage this area using small circular motions. Relax and repeat 3 – 5 times.
  5. Close your eyes. Rub your palms vigorously together to warm them up and get the energy circulating quicker. Cup your hands over your closed eyes for 30 – 90 seconds. Stay focused on your breath and gradually release your hands.

So next time your eyes feel tired and you know you have being over doing it, take a rest and give these eye exercises a go.

When the going gets tough, the tough team up…

Without a doubt the easiest part of keeping fit is the decision to do it.  Beyond that some begin enthusiastically, some mean to but never get round to it and others find a friend to help motivate them.

Teamwork strengthens resolve and builds momentum by pooling struggles and raising spirits when it feels as if you’re not getting to where you want to be.  There are plenty of life coaches and wellness experts to testify a simple fact: there’s no better route to well-being than friendship. That’s beside the practical benefits of lift sharing, reminding each other and having a good old laugh!

Be kind to yourself and your friend – well-ness is the most liberating gift you can give to yourself and your mate but it’s easy to be critical.  In the first stages of unpicking the bad habits and knitting together the good, it’s likely that there will be a few wobbles.  That’s the time when, as a friend, you can be vital in aiding them gently back to the path and support her towards their goals.

Stuck for something to give a friend this Christmas? Why not give the most wonderful thing you can – HEALTH – ask them to join you coming to your yoga class!

Stepping Off the Christmas Merry-Go-Round

 

With the count-down to Christmas now in full swing – juggling who’s going where, what to buy for so-and-so and fitting everyone in over the festive period – things get frantic for the body, mind and soul.

At these times our heads are jam packed with to-do lists and our bodies are tense holding onto every breath.  The build up of anxiety is everywhere – ahhhhhh Black Friday panic…..   Just when we need to relax and enjoy the season of goodwill to all men – we are more tired and worried than ever. Now is the perfect time for yoga…

YOGA? HOW CAN I FIND THE TIME FOR THAT?

But this is when we need it most – simply take a moment out, step off the Merry-Go-Round for one minute and read this mini-meditation-

Sit in any comfortable position…….

Breathe in and open up in the heart space, sit tall and beautiful.

Expand from the inside out, become more spacious  – open up to the breath.

Gently soften the eyes and feel your skin; feel the clothes touching your skin, feel the hair on your head, feel a smile on your face.

Feel beyond the skin to the Vijnanamaya Kosha – the astral or wisdom body – our aura that surrounds us.

Lean back a little and feel the support of the cosmos that surrounds you.

Breathe in and draw from the abundant well of air that we live in and lives in us.

Take heart that you are not some isolated thing battling single handedly against the world.

You are the world – and what will be will be.

Invite your breath to become smooth as silk and quiet as a whisper.

While here in this place now, feel gratitude to the earth for the sunshine and air we breathe.

Drink in each breath and be grateful for all that you have.

Be grateful for your challenges for they allow you to interact with the world and demonstrate your passions.

With this gratitude in your heart take your current experience and think of how they might be in the future.

Plant a seed for your future.

Invite the pace of your life to flow smoothly and easily, see yourself as you would like to be.

Breathe in peace, breath out love.

Let’s Explore… VAJRASANA

Sit in a kneeling position with the heals rolling outwards and your bottom in the hollow of your feet.

Place the hands on the knees, soften the gaze and breath gently through the nose.

Vajrasana is useful to stretch out the tops of the feet. There are many benefits gained in the pelvis and pelvic floor region to spending 5 minutes or so in this posture. It also engages the muscles of the core and back so that they become used to supporting an upright posture. In time this becomes an effortless position to sit in.

This is a great  posture for meditation because the spine is naturally straight. It is also increases the efficiency of digestion as the contents of the abdomen sit in an upright position allowing gravity to help.

Smile and repeat to yourself

“I am fully present in my body, in the light of consciousness”.

 

Often people find that the feet become cramped and the legs are tight when they first try Vajrasna. Sit for a few minutes to start with – don’t over do it – use a block or folded towel under your bottom. Practice, practice, practice.  Be patient with yourself and over time you will become used to the posture. There are many benefits to achieving a comfortable Vajrasana and several other postures begin in Vajrasana so it’s a very good thing to get used to it 😉

Growing Younger with Yoga

This book by Louise Wiggins is a very accessible book for anyone to pick up and use – in fact it would make a great gift for someone who was thinking about yoga but wasn’t convinced that the practice was for them.

It is such a wise book that I can’t help returning to it for inspiriation again and again…

“Yoga Teaches… We are as young as the spine is flexible. Old age begins when we allow the spine to stiffen.”

Besides many pages of postures and routines for arthritis, relaxation and bouncing back from illness, Louise includes plenty of testimonials from people 70- 80+ about how yoga really has given them a new lease of life. There are very compelling reasons for practicing a daily routine of yoga plus recipes and tips on healthy diet too.

“Biologists agree that our biological age potential is about 130! That means when we reach the age of 65, we are really only middle aged!

If we expect to remain active and strong as we age, we will. If we succumb to the belief that we grow frail and weak as we age, we will.  Our thoughts and beliefs hold great power over our biology and our growth.”

I thoroughly recommend it for you and for you to give as a gift to someone you love.