Here comes the Sun.....
I can't believe it's April already! The sun is (kind of) out and the veggie's are in the flower beds. It's nice to be out and about in nature. The lighter mornings and evenings make the day feel longer so it's a great time to up the practice or make the slightly later 6.30 and 7.30pm classes :)
When you're out and about, turn off the mobile phone and the headphones for 5 minutes and take in your environment. Listen to the sounds, see the sights - be aware. Sometimes that's as much of a yoga practice as a session on your mat.
Walking with awareness is like a meditation. But awareness is the key. Listen to the birds and smell the flowers. Pay attention to your breath. How do your feet feel on the ground. Maybe stand still for a moment and breathe in and out a few times. Feeling better already?
Enjoy the Summer.
Love and Light
Happy Weekend Yogis!
Hope January is being kind and you are keeping warm during the cold spell.
I'm often asked "How can I develop my practice?", especially at this time of year. So here are a few tips which I feel may help in creating a home practice which in turn will develop your practice, asanas and general wellbeing.
1) Where do I do it?
Find a space that is as quiet as possible. In the summer that may be in a park, but at this time of year, think about a space at home that has the least traffic
2) How long?
Don't say to yourself I will practice for an hour - say to yourself 15-20 mins, then see how you feel once you are on the mat and moving. Often by saying we will practice for an hour, we find an excuse as we no longer want to commit to that length of time.
3) What do I do?
How does your body feel? Is the back stiff? The hamstrings shrunk? Shoulders tight? What asanas (postures) will help? In my classes, I make sure I reference, during practice, the benefits that at least 3 of the postures I am teaching will bring you eg "Garudasana (Eagle pose) - brings focus and opens the shoulders, etc." Alternatively, practice 2 or 3 postures that you enjoy or want to develop and see where it takes you. One session, you may feel that you want to sit and meditate, so do that.
Whatever and whenever you decide to practice, most importantly, listen to your body - it really is your greatest teacher.
At the end of every break or holiday, I find my inner 17 year old self singing the Soul II Soul lyric "Back to Life, Back to Reality"........
For most of us, the next few days see a return to our daily patterns and routines. Many of us may have set New Year Resolutions. Before I began teaching, we decided, in our house, to set ourselves promises, rather than resolutions, purely because we felt that we never stuck to a resolution. Why? I'm never quite sure, but I'm guessing they felt a little imposed or we really weren't that comitted to it in the first place and promising felt a little more nicer?
During my studies, I came across Sankalpas, especially in the practice of Yoga Nidras. Sankalpas are akin to resolutions but can be a vow, intention, resolve or desire to do or be, coming from deep within the heart and mind. There is an allowing of the heart and mind to speak, connecting us to the universal consciousness. It's more than achieving a goal for yourself as it doesn't come from the ego.
Yoga practice often enables the sankalpa to come to the surface and is then used during a yoga nidra, when the mind is most relaxed and the sankalpa can imprinted on the subconciousness. They can remain the same or you may find they develop and evolve over a period of time - maybe alongside your practice.
In setting a sankalpa, move away from I will or I want statements towards I am statements; Swami Saraswati gives excellent teachings on these in his Yoga Nidra book, which I will bring it along to class.
So with all this in mind, I wish you a very happy and healthy 2017.
#setyoursankalpas #2017sankalpa :)
Love and Light
Does a chocolate orange count as one of your five a day? The normally relatively clean eating is out the window - and that's ok. The pattern of my yoga practice is disjointed and that's ok too. Yoga isn't only practiced on a mat........
But what happens when Harry Potter and a mince pie is more alluring than asanas and meditation. For me, I take my yoga off the mat. My dog walk becomes a meditative session in nature and a chance to focus on my breath. Practice is shorter - maybe only ten mins to begin with and one or two asanas. The practice length will grow and a meditative savansana will return (not everyone can find a quiet space in which to during the holidays!). There is much to be learnt about movement by slowing down and focussing on those two aforementioned asanas. And once we begin like this, does the mince pie still look as tempting? Or has the breath, the asana, the (relatively) quietening begun to have its effect on the body and mind?
"Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame."
Enjoy your holidays, be kind to yourselves and respectful of your bodies.
Classes begin on Thursday, 5th January 2017 with a special masterclass "Oh My Days.... I haven't moved for 2 weeks" on Saturday, 7th January 2017.
So, what have we been up to in the last couple of weeks.
I've been beginning the start of a Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga practice - Thanks to Brian, Angie and all at Blue Chip - have a look at my facebook page for the video :)
Trying something new always conjours up feelings in the body and mind - trepidation, excitement, love and the big one, fear! I once read that we learn as much from falling out of a pose as we do from practicing a pose - and I totally agree with that!
I've also been administrating for our Inner Yoga teachers Lesley Charters on our Year 1 course, and Pauline Sawyer and Bridget Whitehead on our Year 2 course. At Inner Yoga our teaching training is a 500 hour, 3 year course. For more information on Inner Yoga, have a look at our website www.inneryoga.org.uk
Enjoy the supermoon tonight! Over the next few weeks I'll be working on content for the site, so let me know if there's anything you'd be interested in hearing about.