Wednesday, 26 October 2016


Welcome to the new look Flexiladiesyoga blog!

Thank you for visiting this blog and congratulations on taking steps towards a regular yoga practice.

Yoga has helped me overcome my health problems and I hope that you will come to know some of the great benefits of yoga. Whatever your reasons for wanting to take up a yoga practice-health concerns, the need for relaxation in your life to relieve stress, the need to stretch and get more flexible to compliment sporting activities, I hope you will find what you need here. If you would like to know more about why I came to yoga there is an 'About Me' section on this blog.

Thank you 

Janet x 

A Flexiladies Halloween Kids' Yoga Adventure

We have met Gwendoline the witch before (Up Salute variation) - stand with your feet slightly apart, take your arms up and bring your hands together over your head to make the witch's hat.

Since you last met her Gwendoline has got a new cat, a playmate for Abigail who she has called Darkness (Cat pose) - come onto all fours, breathe in lift your head and chest, breathe out and arch your back like a Halloween cat.

Now Darkness could not settle with Gwendoline and Abigail in their cosy hovel.  He was bored - he wanted adventure, to be owed by a witch who cast evil spells but Gwendoline hardly ever cast any spells these days.  He decided to run away to find adventure.  One night in October when the wind was howling and Gwendoline and Abigail were fast asleep, Darkness tiptoed out of the hovel and made his way into the Forest of No Return (Tree pose) - stand with your feet slightly apart and take your weight into your left foot, bring the sole of your right foot to your left ankle, shin or thigh.  Breathe in and lift your arms to make your branches. Repeat second side.

It's pitch black - the only light was from a crescent moon (Crescent Moon Pose) - stand with your feet slightly apart.  Breathe in take your arms up, join your palms, breathe out lean to the right to make a crescent moon shape. Breathe in to come back to centre and repeat second side.  

What's that screeching sound? An Eagle comes swooping down from a nest high in the trees (Eagle pose) - take your right arm under the left and bend both elbows.  If your arms allow, take the left arm in front of the right and join the palms. To modify the arm position you can have the backs of the hands together with the right arm under the left, or simply have the elbows and palms together. Lift the elbows level with the shoulders and find a drishti, a gaze point.  Softly bend both knees and take your weight into your left foot.  Take your right foot to the outside of the left, or take the right foot to the outside of the left calf or tuck the right foot behind the left calf.  Repeat 2nd side. Quickly Darkness dives under a clump of ferns - phew that was close.

He decides to lie low here for a while but as he starts to settle he jumps up - a hedgehog is sharing this spot with him and his prickles are really sharp (Child's Pose) - sit with your bottom on your heels.  Bring your forehead to your mat and take your hands to your feet. Breathe in when you are ready to come up.  

Taking a step back he stumbles over a snake  (Cobra pose)- lie on your tummy with your forehead on the mat. Bring your hands by your shoulders and tuck your elbows in.  Breathe in and lift your head and chest.  Breathe out when you are ready to come down.  Darkness was lucky, he stumbled over a smooth snake which is non-venomous - it would have been very different if the snake was an adder. Can you hiss like a snake?

Tears in his eyes, he moves on but his ordeal is not over.  The silent wings of a tawny owl clip his ear - will he be eaten? (Warrior 3 variation) - stand with your feet slightly apart and stretch your arms wide.  Breathe our and lift your right leg as your hinge forward with your upper body. 

Once again Darkness is lucky - the owl swoops down and gathers up a frog in its talons (Frog) - stand with your feet slightly apart and turn your toes out, breathe out and bend your knees out so that you can bring your hands to the floor.  Can you croak like a frog?

Ah what is that tickly sensation on Darkness' back.  Don't panic Darkness its only a harmless spider (Dead bug pose). Can you pretend to be a spider on a ceiling? Lie on your back, knees bent and lift your hands and feet up - wriggle like a spider.  

By this time Darkness is in tears.  Through his tears he sees two yellow eyes, a fox (Downward Facing Dog) - come onto all fours.  Breathe in, tuck your toes, breathe out lift your hips high. 

Darkness runs through the forest, stumbling as he goes.  Around his head bat are flying (Baddha Konasana) - sit on a block or cushion, bring the soles of your feet together and bring them in towards you.  Flap your knees up and down like bat wings.  

Just then he hears a whoosh in the trees.  It can't be - it is!  Gwendolene coming to rescue him (Humble Warrior variation)- come to standing and step your left foot back, turning your left toes out.  Breathe in and bend your front knee, breathe out extend your arms out, palms together.  Point your fingers down and lower your head.  

Home again and cosy in his hovel with Gwendolene and Abigail, Darkness will never leave home again but maybe he will still find adventures that aren't quite so dangerous.

Happy Halloween!


You may also like 'Halloween Special - Kids yoga'- 

Monday, 24 October 2016

Yoga for anxiety - yin yoga sequence to create an awareness of thoughts and emotions

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga for anxiety - yin yoga sequence to create an awareness of thoughts and emotions ' on my YouTube Channel.

Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -

Please note-Please consult your doctor if you are having severe panic attacks or chronic anxiety - there is much a doctor can offer you that would complement your yoga practice such as Cognitive behaviour therapy or counselling which you could do alongside yoga. 

Yin yoga is complementary to the Hatha yoga you usually practice on this blog which is yang. Yin and yang come from Taoist thought of yin which is stable, unmoving and yang which is changing and moving.  Yang yoga focuses on the muscles whereas yin yoga involves longer holds (3-5 minutes) in order to move deeper into the connective tissue- ligaments, tendons and fascia. Yin yoga stretches and strengthens these tissues which may become shortened and weakened over time.  In order for this to happen the overlying muscles need to be relaxed and for this reason some yoga poses which do require muscle engagement are not suitable for yin yoga  - these include standing posses, arm balances and inversions. Yin yoga poses focus on the pelvis, hips and lower spine, areas where negative emotions are stored. To distinguish them from their yang equivalents they are given different names.  

In our fast paced, 24/7 society we may find yin yoga difficult because we are conditioned to be always doing, indeed it is often thought of as boring.  But it is also important to 'just be' noticing any sensations, any thoughts or emotions that arise.  When thoughts and emotions arise yin yoga give us an opportunity to 'take a step back' to observe them. If we practice doing this on the mat, eventually we will be able to do the same off the mat when anxious thoughts arise or fear which often triggers anxious thoughts.  This is also what we practice in meditation. Do not think that if you cannot empty your mind, you cannot meditate.  Minds are meant to think and thoughts will arise - just don't get caught up in them and they will pass by. In this week's yoga video we do several 'mini meditations' as we observe our thoughts and emotions while we hold the poses.

In yin yoga and in meditation eventually you will experience release from the thoughts and emotions that weigh you down. If you have chronic anxiety it is a good idea therefore to include them in your weekly yoga practice. 


Sunday, 23 October 2016

This week on 40plusandalliswell

This week's Meatless Monday is a 'Vegan cottage pie with pumpkin mash'. The pumpkin mash makes a lower calorie alternative to mash potato which is good for you and in season right now.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog-

It is blackberry time! Find out how these berries are so good for you and maybe try my delicious recipe for 'Blackberry, raspberry and apple cobbler'.
Blog post and recipe on my 'sister' blog-

For Breast Cancer Awareness Month please see my 'sister' blog's featured post- 'Love your breasts'-

In this blog post we find out how essential oils can help prevent colds and flu and also ease the miseries of colds and flu if we do succumb-.
Please see my 'sister' blog-

Balancing vata dosha for autumn anxiety

Autumn with its drying winds is dominated by the vata dosha.  This means we can become fatigued and anxious if we do not bring vata into balance especially if vata is our dominant dosha.  Earlier this year I did a series on the elements and within that series we practiced a sequence to balance vata dosha with the earth element which would be great to practice at this time of year. Please see 'Balancing vata dosha with the earth element' for the blog post and yoga video- 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Four prep poses for better balance

Standing balances are wonderfully calming for the mind and so great to practice if you suffer from anxiety but many of us find that we cannot stay in balance poses long enough to reap the benefits.  If you have a tendency to wobble and fall out of poses these four prep poses may help.

Tadasana - stand with the feet together with the outside edges of the feet parallel (for most of us this will mean separating the heels). Lift your insteps (if you can lift your middle three toes, this will help). Lift your kneecaps to engage your thigh muscles and give you the strong foundation.  Lengthen your tail bone down towards the floor to create space in the spine, lift your chest and roll your shoulder blades back and down.  Your chin should be level with the floor, the crown of your head reaching for the ceiling.  Your arms should be relaxed by your sides, your fingers gently curled. Try to find the point where you feel your weight is spread evenly through all four corners of your feet - the little toe side, big toe side, inner heel and outer heel.

How does this help? This pose increases your awareness of your centre of gravity which is important as the centre of gravity changes as you move into standing balances.

Challenging Pose - stand with your feet slightly apart.  Take your weight into your left foot, lift your right foot an inch or two off the floor and take your arms out.  This is the easy part.  Now close your eyes and see if you can remain balanced.  

How does this help? This feels a 'safe' balance - all you have to do if you feel unsteady is put your foot back to the floor.  It also demonstrates the importance of drishti, gaze point.  

Awkward Pose - stand with your feet slightly apart and take your arms forward at shoulder height.  Breathe in bend your knees, breathe out, engage your core and lift onto the balls of your feet.  Hold for a breath or two then breathe in lower your heels, straighten your legs, breathe out lower your arms.

How does this help? This pose strengthens the legs which is important for standing balances. It also helps strengthen the core which will help you hold standing balances.

Warrior 2 stand in the middle of your mat with your hands on your hips and take your feet as wide as is comfortable.  Turn your right leg to the right and the toes of the left foot in 45 degrees, lining up the heel of the front foot with the instep of the back foot (men) or heel with heel (women).  As much as possible have the hips level with the front of the mat but do not force the back hip point back because this will strain the SI joint. Inhale, stretch your arms out at shoulder height, lift your chest, exhale bend your right knee, turn to look down the fingers of your right hand.  Hold and breathe - see if you can hold through any intense sensations (any pain however, let go). To come out of the pose, inhale straighten the right knee, exhale hands to heart, turn your feet to face forward.  Repeat second side.

How does this help?  Warrior 2 helps with focus and concentration.  It increases body awareness which is useful in standing balances and strengthens the legs.  

You might also like-
'Yoga for seniors - improving your balance'-

Please see also- 'Yoga for anxiety- An introduction and yoga video' - and 'Yoga for anxiety- Starting to calm the mind'-

Janet x

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Yoga for anxiety - starting to calm the mind

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga for anxiety - starting to calm the mind' on my YouTube Channel.

Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -

Last week we worked on releasing physical tension.  This week we start to calm the mind by drawing energy down from the upper dantien (energy centre in the head) to the lower dantien located in the lower abdomen.  So many of us 'live in our heads' so that excess energy accumulates here leading to anxiety.  Our grounding practice draws energy down to our lower energy centre.  Here is located the gut which is often referred to as the body's 'second brain'.  There is good reason for this - here 90% of the body's serontin is produced which is the body's mood balancing hormone.  

As well as bringing energy down a grounding practice also connects us to the earth which has the effect of making us feel connected to something bigger than ourselves which has a calming effect.  Another way you can do this is to spend a few minutes standing on the grass without shoes and socks.  

We end this week's video with a meditation counting the breath.  Meditation is proven to reduce anxiety so if you do suffer from chronic anxiety try to meditate daily.