Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Welcome!


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 





Rebalance-Willpower

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Rebalance-Willpower'-on my YouTube Channel.



Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/disclaimer.html

It's mid-January and for many of us, those well intentioned changes we promised ourselves we would make this year, may be starting to slide.  Time to use our yoga practice to draw the strength and determination to continue to work towards making our intentions a reality.

The video this week therefore focuses on building internal strength to see through your intentions.  We could not do an asana practice to cultivate willpower without including the Warrior poses.  Think of the qualities of a warrior - strength, determination, an ability to see things through, willpower and yet a true warrior also acts from a place of compassion.

The poses this week may be a little challenging - remember to listen to your body and if the pose is too much for you, take a rest. Your breath is a good indicator  - if your breath becomes strained, come out of the pose.  It is important never to sacrifice the breath for a pose, you will lose all the benefits of that pose.

We finish the video with a meditation in which you visualise your dreams, your intentions as already happening.  

Namaste


Sunday, 15 January 2017

This week on 40plusandalliswell


This 'Tex-Mex Vegan Hot Dog' will bring a little sunshine to your January!
Recipe on my 'sister' blog - http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/meatless-monday-tex-mex-vegan-hot-dog.html

On my 'sister' blog I look at the benefits of sweet almond oil for winter skin and anti-aging-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/sweet-almond-oil-for-winter-skin.html

If you feel in need of a pick me up now we are half way through the winter, this juice may be just what you need.
Please see my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/sweet-almond-oil-for-winter-skin.html

And now for something a little different - the Tibetan rites

It's good sometimes to introduce something different into your practice - it makes your brain sit up and take notice and create new neural pathways in a process known as neuroplasticity.

The Tibetan rites are around 2,500 years old and have similarities with the more familiar yoga that originated in India. They are a series of five movements and the benefits are many.  They strengthen the vestibular system preventing age related dizziness and loss of balance.  They also relieve stress, stimulate digestion, improve core strength, strengthen and stretch the muscles.

Can't wait to try them?  Let's get going

Please note these Rites are best practiced in the morning.

Rite 1 - stand in the middle of your mat and stretch your arms out at shoulder height.  Turn in a clockwise direction 21 times.  Your gaze should be down your right arm to prevent dizziness. Breathe steadily. If you do start to feel dizzy stop.



Rite 2  - lie back on your mat with your legs outstretched, your arms by your sides, palms down on the mat. Breathe in and as you breathe out lift your head as you raise your legs, keeping the backs of your legs straight.  If you can, without bending your knees, bring your legs over your body.  Repeat 3-5 times. To finish hug your knees in and rock from side to side.



Rite 3 - kneel on your mat - you may pad your knees with a blanket or rolled up mat.  Place your hands on your outer thighs and tuck your toes. Breathe out, tuck your chin, breathe in, lift your chest and head as you slide your hands to the small of your back. You may release your head back if you are sure of your neck. Breathe in to come back to your start position. Repeat 3-5 times. To finish take a Child's pose.



Rite 4  - sit on the mat with your feet facing the short edge of your mat, your hands by your hips, fingers pointing forward.  Breathe in, breathe out and lift into reverse table top position, releasing your head back if you are sure of your neck.  Breathe in to lower, take a few breaths and repeat 3-5 times.  To finish sit up and roll your shoulders up by your ears then back and down.



Rite 5  -  come onto all fours, breathe out and lift into Downward Facing Dog - take your feet a couple of inches back.  Breathe in, come into Upward Facing Dog, breathe out to return to Downward Facing Dog and repeat 3-5 times. To finish take another Child's pose.

As you become more practiced at doing the rites you may wish to build up (SLOWLY) to complete sets of 21 repetitions for each rite.



Namaste,

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Starting a meditation practice - are you sitting comfortably?

If you want to start a meditation practice in 2017 but are concerned that you cannot sit comfortably to meditate, these poses may help.  The last thing you want when you are trying to meditate is your physical body to be a distraction.  Many of the postures used to meditate are not best comfortable, even the so-called 'Easy Pose'.  The problem is that in the west we are not used to sitting with open hips.  We sit on our sofas with our knees forward, at our desks and driving our cars.  In order to avoid backache also you need to be strong in your core.  Your shoulders need to back and down to keep your shushumna, central energy channel, open.
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Did you know that yoga asana practice was actually born out of a need to sit comfortably to meditate for hours on end?  Now I am not expecting you to meditate so long but if you can meditate a little several times a week, you will experience the benefits. 

The following sequence will help you prepare for meditation.  You will need a block or cushion and a belt.  

Supta padangusthasana - If you have lower back issues bend your left leg, otherwise press the back of your left leg into the mat. Take the strap around the ball of your right foot and holding the strap in both hands start to straighten the back of your leg.  Work with the breath with each inhale press through your right heel, with each exhale you may be able to draw your leg closer in.  Continue until you find your 'edge' - that place where you feel a stretch but not a strain. If your knee starts to bend, release your leg back a little.  Now hold both sides of the strap in your right hand and place your left hand on your left hip.  Breathe in and as you breathe out engage your core and take your leg out to the side and up.  If you cannot get your leg higher than your hip, bend your knee slightly.  To come out of the pose bend your right knee, breathe out, engage your core and draw your leg back to centre then down on the mat.  Repeat second side.  



Keyhole stretch - lie with your knees bent, block under your head and bring your left foot onto your right thigh with your foot flexed.  The nearer your foot is to your groin, the more intense this pose will be.  Reach through the gap made by your left leg and hold the back of your right thigh if you have knee issues or right shin if you can reach comfortably..  You could also use a belt.  To avoid neck strain, place a block or cushion under your head. Hold and breathe then breathe out to release the pose from your body.  Make your way to all fours.



Cat/Cow - breathe in and lift your head and chest, breathe out tuck your chin and arch your back and continue working with your breath.  After several moves make your way to lying on your belly.



Sphinx Plank - from a prone position tuck your right toes and press your right heel back to lengthen your spine. Repeat with the left foot then stretch the arms forward.  Breathe in slide your elbows under your shoulders.  Tuck your toes and as you breathe out, draw your navel back to your spine and lift, pressing your heels back.  Hold for a breath or two then move into Extended Child's Pose.



Extended Child's Pose - sit back on your heels, big toes touching, knees wide. Walk your hands forward bringing your forehead down onto the mat or block.  Press your tail bone back and stretch forward from hips to armpits, from armpits down to your fingertips.  When you are ready breathe in and come to all fours.   



High lunge - from all fours, breathe out lift your hips into Downward Facing Dog.  Breathe in and step your right foot forward between your hands.  Keep your back heel lifted, inhale and lift your arms up.  Work your back leg strongly.  To come out, breathe out take your hands down, step back to Downward Facing Dog.  Repeat second side then walk your feet forward and slowly come up.  



Tree variation - take your weight into your left foot, softly bend both knees and reach down to bring your right foot into your left groin (if you have knee issues, bring your right foot onto your left ankle, left shin or reach down and bring your right foot to your left thigh).  If balance is an issue take your left hand to a wall otherwise find a drishti, gaze spot to help with balance. Breathe in and reach your arms up.  Hold for a few breaths then breathe out to release. Repeat second side.



Boat Pose  - come down onto the mat and sit with your knees bent.  Breathe in and as you breathe out, bring your shins level with the ceiling, while lifting your chest. Either hold onto the back of your thighs or stretch your arms forward.  Hold for a few breaths, drawing your navel back to your spine. Breathe out to lower.




Baddha konasana with forward fold - sit on your block and bring the soles of your feet together and close into your body.  Hold onto your feet, take your elbows into your knee creases and hinge forward.  Release the crown of your head down ad take 5 breaths.  



You are now ready to sit Easy Pose to meditate - sit with your legs crossed so that your feet are below your knees.  If your knees are higher than your hips, sit on a cushion or block.  Make sure you are on your sit bones - remove any excess off to the side.  Sit tall with your shoulders back.



You might also like 'Easy Pose - not so easy' -http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/easy-pose-not-so-easy.html and
'Meditation - ancient help for  21st century stress'-
http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/meditation-ancient-help-for-21st.html


Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Rebalance - love your liver

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Rebalance-Love your liver'-on my YouTube Channel.




Please read the disclaimer on the blog before following these videos -http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/disclaimer.html

Your liver may have been working very hard over the festive season when our normal diet can be forgotten and we may drink alcohol.  Foods containing saturated fats or worse, transfats can increase your cholesterol which makes for an unhappy liver. 

Keeping your liver happy is important because the liver works hard for you - it has many functions in your body which include detoxification, controlling the levels of fats, amino acids and glucose in your blood, breaking down hormones, making enzymes and proteins which are involved in blood clotting etc  - see 'About the liver'- British Liver Trust https://www.britishlivertrust.org.uk/liver-information/ for more.  On the wellness blog, 40plusandalliswell we are looking at ways in which you can pamper your liver- please see 'Pamper your liver' http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/pamper-your-liver.html  

We can also use our yoga practice to benefit the health of the liver.  The liver is located on the right side just below your ribcage.  In this week's yoga video we will be working on the liver meridian as well as stimulating the liver area directly.  The liver meridian runs from the inside of the big toe, over the top of the foot, up the inside of the leg then across the abdomen, up the side of the ribcage.  Our practice therefore focuses on inner thigh and groin openers, with a lateral stretch, back bend and twist included to stimulate the liver directly.  Working on the liver meridian frees any blockages in the liver meridian ensuring optimum wellbeing of the liver.

The meditation at the end of the video focuses on releasing any physical or mental toxins that have built up in your body as a result of the liver not working at an optimum level.

Please note if you suspect that you have a liver problem please see you medical practitioner - the video is not intended as a cure for liver disease but for maintaining optimum health of the liver.


Sunday, 8 January 2017

This week on 40plusandalliswell


This week for our Meatless Monday we are whisking ourselves off to warmer climes and making empanadas which hail from Latin American countries. They are often sold as a street food.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/meatless-monday-argentinian-style.html

Your liver may have been working very hard over the festive season when our normal diet can be forgotten and we may drink alcohol. 
Read on my 'sister' blog about how to make your liver happy-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/pamper-your-liver.html

If you indulged in sugar-rich desserts over the festive season, you may find that even though you have returned to normal eating, you crave sugary foods. 
On my 'sister' blog we look at how you can 'kill' these cravings- 
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/kill-sugar-cravings.html