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
Come along for a fun evening of gentle yoga, a meal and a raffle. This is a fabulous opportunity to meet properly the people who you practice yoga with. And you can bring your husband/wife/friends too! Everyone is welcome! We all have been touched by cancer – friends, relatives and fellow students…. so why not raise the roof and raise some funds at the same time with this summer evening event in Preston.
Hope Against Cancer is a local charity with a focus on clinical trials in Leicestershire and Rutland. Prof. Raghu Raghaven (Preston 6.00 class) is involved directly with this charity and will give us a bit more information about their work and how the money raised will be used. You can look at their website here.
SATURDAY 23rd JUNE 7 – 10pm at PRESTON VILLAGE HALL
1 hour class of simple no-mat yoga including postures, breath work and moving meditation.
followed by lasagne and salad, then a sumptuous pudding table
raffle – tickets sold and prize draw on the night
How can you help?
Make a lasagne/salad/pudding. Grow some salad leaves;) Donate a raffle prize.
Come along and bring your friends!
You can pledge a contribution on the clipboard at registration or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
Following our theme Bringing About Balance we will be working with Mantra to still the mind and relaxations to calm the nervous system – all good for us after the busy period of Christmas and New Year. Our asana will focus on improving energy flow in the body with the Shakti Bandha series. We will also be revisiting, chanting and reflecting on the Yamas to see how they may influence balance in our lives.
This class is suitable for people with experience of yoga. There is no need to be super fit but an understanding of the holistic approach that yoga takes means that you would gain the most from time spent in this class.
Please contact me here if you would like further information about joining one of these groups.
Stuck for what to give to a loved one this Christmas? Think they might like to begin yoga???
For a limited period, I’m offering Gift Vouchers at 50% face value, (cost £18 – value £36) to be redeemed in January 2017 at my Beginners Yoga class. If you are interested – contact me here to find out more!
The discounted vouchers will be sent by email for you to print out. They will be available until 10th December 2016 and will be redeemable by bookings taken in advance from new students to Do Yoga classes.
Our mission in Yoga Fit this year is to get a strong core!!
Last term we worked with the plank and this term we’ll be moving on to a standing balance ‘Warrior lll’ which needs all the core strength we can muster.
In our usual lively approach we’ll work through all the parts of the body firstly warming up and then with strengthening and stretching postures. Using some jumping techniques which use a surprising amount of tummy strength we will keep ourselves on the go for pretty much the whole session, winding down in the last 10 minutes with a few restorative postures.
This term our theme of ‘FREEDOM’ will shift from the hips up to the spine. We’ll be working with a number of asana (postures) to free up the different areas of the spine and learning/feeling the difference this can make to how we feel and live our lives.
One of our main postures will be the bridge – which is often cited as the yoga answer to a back massage!
So – if you have a particularly stiff spine or have always wanted to be able to give yourself a back massage, why not sign up for a place and come along???
Classes are one hour long and held at Tinwell Village Hall on Mondays (7.15), Preston Village Hall on Tuesdays (8.00) and Ryhall Village Hall on Wednesdays (6.00).
This term in the Yoga and Meditation (90 minute classes in Preston and Ryhall) we’ll be continuing our strengthening of the hands and arms with a particular focus on the forearm area. To this end we’ll be playfully challenging ourselves with the forearm plank and the wonderful Dolphin Pose…
Our meditations will be inspired by our asana and we’ll continue our investigations into mudra, exploring some well used mudra and their benefits, connections and meanings.
Classes begin in Preston on 3rd November (Tuesday) and in Ryhall 4th November (Wednesday) and run for 6 weeks – if you haven’t booked in and would like to come along please contact me to see if there is a space.
Remove your socks and shoes if possible. Allow the feet to spread out on the floor or your mat, positioning them directly under your hip joints. Bring awareness into the soles of the feet and feel your weight sinking down evenly through the whole surface of the sole. If you feel unbalanced, bring awareness to each side of your foot in turn – leaning forwards, backwards and side to side. Come to stillness – an evenness of weight now descending through the soles of your feet. Feel the pelvis as a level bowl and the spine ascending as you take a deep inhalation bringing the awareness up to the crown of your head. As you slowly exhale feel the skin on your face soften, the shoulders relax down, the elbows bend slightly and the fingers gently curl. A soft but strong mountain.
2 Neck Exercises
After a few breaths in Tadasana, gently begin to scribe a small circle with the nose – no bigger than a tangerine. About 6 – 10 one way and they the same amount in the other direction. Come once again to stillness – feel the balance and symmetry of your posture for a few smooth, quiet breaths.
When you feel ready, on exhale take the right ear gently towards the right shoulder and press the left palm down towards the ground. Stay in this position, breathing smoothly and quietly for about 5 breaths. When ready, inhale and come back to Tadasana. Take a few breaths in the centre and then practice to the other side.
3 Shoulder Rolls
On inhale gently begin to roll the right shoulder up and then backwards, as you take it down exhale and bring it forwards to complete the circle. If there are any areas of tightness or sore spots, work smaller and gentler until it feels free and comfortable. Work about 10 repetitions. Rest in stillness for a moment or two and then work on the left side. This exercise can be repeated either working separate shoulders again or working them both together.
Now repeat your previous shoulder sequence, but this time take the shoulder in a forwards rotation.
4 Gentle Bridge
Come to lie on the back of the body, have the knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms by the sides. Check that your spine is in a straight line. Focus your awareness at your abdomen, watch the breath, inhaling feel the abdomen move upwards and exhaling watch the abdomen move down. This is abdominal breathing – a soothing and calming practice.
When you feel ready, allow the inhale to gently lift the buttocks and lower back off the floor, pressing down through the soles. As you exhale lower back down. Work gently, smoothly and slowly with the emphasis on bending the spine evenly – feeling each vertebrae lift off the floor and then placing each vertebrae back down. Don’t push up any further than feels comfortable and keep the movement smooth and linked to the breath at all times. Work about 5 – 8 repetitions then rest.
When you are ready hug the knees to the chest for 5 breaths. Rest the feet back down and go back to abdominal breathing for a few moments.
5 Supine Twist
Remaining in the bent knee position, bring the knees and feet close together. Take the arms out to the sides to form a T shape. As you exhale allow the knees to gently come down to the right side and rest in this twisted position for about 5 breaths. You can intensify the stretch by twisting the neck to the left if that feels comfortable. Return the knees and head to centre on an inhale and then exhale and practice on the opposite side.
You can repeat this set if it eased your tension. Twists are both relaxing and rejuvenating to the spine.
Rest and go back to abdominal breathing when you are finished twisting. 5 minutes of abdominal breathing would be good if you have the time. When you need to get up, roll onto your left side and pause for a few breaths before pushing up with the right hand to a seated position. Hopefully rested, tension free and ready to get on with your day!