Sunday, 19 February 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 





This week on 40plusandalliswell


This recipe reminds me of the bread pizzas my uncle from Sicily used to make.
There is nothing like freshly baked bread and paired with a 'meatball' topping, well it's a marriage made in heaven! Just right for sharing on Valentine's Day.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog - http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/meatless-monday-vegan-sharing-meatball.html

It's Valentine's Day and the last thing you want is cracked, dried or chapped lips but the weather seems to be determined to make sure this is exactly what you will have. Winter sun, cold, drying winds make for less than perfect lips but it needn't be like this.
Please see my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/kissable-lips.html

It's Kindness week so you might want to practice this 'Loving kindness meditation' on my YouTube Channel-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxLGd5wPHYU

The gut flora can influence the way we store fat, our blood sugar levels and how we respond to leptin and ghrelin which control appetite. In this blog post we look at how we can diversify our gut flora to help us reach our healthy weight.
Please see my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/whats-stopping-you-reaching-your_19.html

Mudras to help reduce stress

Earlier this week we talked about the detrimental effects stress has on the brain.  Please see 'Yoga for the brain-Part 1-Stress'

Mudras are hand gestures that act as energy locks that can cause subtle changes in your body and mind.  Try the following mudras to help reduce stress in your life.

Tse mudra  - to do Tse mudra fold your thumb into your palm and then fold your fingers over your thumb.  


This mudra is good to practice if stress is a result of feelings of fear or failure.  Other benefits - it increases alertness and intuition.


Hakini mudra - to do Hakini mudra join the fingertips together. 


This mudra calms the mind so that you can think more clearly and make more considered responses to challenging situations.

Namaste,


Thursday, 16 February 2017

Yoga for the brain -Part 1- Stress

Stress negatively affects your brain in several ways.  Firstly cortisol, one of the hormones released in response to stress, generates free radicals which damage or kill brain cells in a part of the brain called the hippocampus which is to do with memory. These free radical also lead to the brain aging. Formation of new brain cells is also inhibited by stress. Add to that depression and anxiety which are linked to chronic stress and you realise that it is really important to get on top of stress.

This forward bending sequence will help - it calms your mind and takes your focus in.  It also brings blood to your brain which is calming for your brain.  You will need two blocks or equivalent

You will need two blocks or equivalent.

To start - warm up your spine and hamstrings with the following poses

Supta padangusthasana - lie on your mat and draw your right knee in towards your chest. 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.  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.



Cat/Cow - come onto all fours.  Breathe in and lift your head and chest, breathe out tuck your chin and arch your back.  Continue working with your breath.  

Half Monkey God - come back to all fours and bring your right foot between your hands. Breathe out and walk your hands back as your toes lift .  Continue until the back of your leg is straight then bow to your front leg. Hold for 5 breaths the walk your hands forward again as you bend your knee, lower your toes and lift your head.  Return to all fours and repeat second side.




Downward Facing Dog to Standing Forward Bend - from all fours, tuck your toes, breathe out and lift your hips. Hold for 5 breaths then walk your feet forward until your shoulders come over your hands.  Have your feet at hip distance, outside edges parallel.  Work towards straightening your legs placing your fingertips on the mat or on a block (remember a block has 3 levels) if you need the ground to be nearer. If you have high blood pressure or heart issues do not have your head lower than your heart otherwise release the crown of your head down.   To come out of the pose take a deep breath in and slowly roll up.  Come to the top of your mat.



Intense side stretch -  step your left foot back, straighten your legs and level up your hips to the short edge of the mat.  Take your hands into Reverse Namaste by placing your hands behind your back, palms together fingers pointing down then reverse so that your fingers point up.  To modify keep your fingers pointing down or you may hold your elbows.  Breathe in, lift your chest, breathe out come into a flat back position, pressing your left hip forward if it starts to move back.  Stay here if you have high blood pressure or heart issues or if not take a breath in and as your breathe out release the crown of your head down.  To come out of the pose breathe in, slowly come up, breathe out release your hands to your hips, bend your front knee, breathe in, step your feet together.  Repeat second side then roll your shoulders up by your ears then back and down.

alternative hand positions for intense side stretch

Wide leg standing forward bend- stand in the middle of your mat, hands on hips and step your feet wide, outside edges parallel. Inhale lift your chest, squeeze your elbows together. Breathe out come into a flat back position and release your fingertips to the mat or to a block. Stay here if you have high blood pressure or heart issues otherwise breathe in and as you breathe out release the crown of your head down.  Come to seated on your mat with your legs outstretched (sit on a block if your lower back is rounding) .



Janu sirsasana - bend your left knee in towards your chest  then release it out to the side. Support your knee with a block if it doesn't release to the ground.  Twist slightly to the right so that your breast bone lines up with your extended right leg.  Breathe in stretch your arms up, breathe out fold over your extended leg, releasing your arms to either side of your extended leg and bringing your forehead to a block.  Stay here for 5-10 breaths, then breathe in to come up slowly.  Come back to legs extended then repeat second side.



Seated Forward Bend - sit with your legs outstretched, a block between your legs.  Breathe in stretch your arms up, breathe out fold over your legs bringing your arms down either side of your legs and your head to the block. Stay here for 5-10 breaths, then breathe in to come up slowly.  Rest back in savasana for a few minutes.



Namaste,


















Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Yoga to rebalance- giving and receiving love


Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga to rebalance- giving and receiving love'-on my YouTube Channel.



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

I didn't intend to do this video this week but since it is Valentine's Day, it seemed right to bring this forward.  

It is equally important to give and receive love.  As a society we are conditioned to give not receive but if you continually give of your love but do not receive any back, like a flower that the sun does not smile on, that love will wither. 

There can also be an underlying sense of 'I am not worthy to receive love' but allowing yourself to receive love is important to nourish your soul. When someone is reaching out to you with love, compassion and caring, it can also be hurtful to them not to receive. 

The intention behind this week's video is to open our hearts to love and reach out to receive love. This may entail getting rid of some emotional baggage, stored in our hips that is getting in the way of our receiving love.   

A note about the Camel pose variation - if you do not feel confident to remove both hands from the blocks, alternate hands so that you always have one hand on the block. 

In this week's meditation we will be working with the breath to give and receive love.

Namaste,



Sunday, 12 February 2017

This week on 40plusandalliswell


Valentine's day is coming soon, and whether your partner is vegan or not, this dish will be enjoyed by you both. 
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/meatless-monday-valentines-day-special.html

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I often blame inflammation for all sorts of ills but weight gain? Even here inflammation has a part to play. 
Read more about inflammation on my 'sister' blog and what you can do about it- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/whats-stopping-you-reaching-your_10.html
This blog post was included in the online paper 'PMT Chronicle & PFC Journal'

These choc chip nice cream sandwiches would make a great Valentine's Day dessert - you can even do some of the prep ahead of time! The choc chip cookie is filled with choc nice cream - with no added sugar, gluten and dairy free yet delicious, this dessert is almost magic! 
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/valentines-day-special-choc-chip-nice.html

With a little help from a friend - Bow pose assist


Having a friend to help you with some poses can help you move deeper into those poses, feel supported, help you trust others and bring a sense of fun into your yoga practice.  With Valentine's Day coming up, it is the ideal time to introduce your partner to yoga - it can strengthen the bonds between you.  

It is also important when practicing partner yoga to keep talking to each other so that you can make any adjustments you need to feel comfortable in the pose - this has the benefit of increasing your communication skills.

This week our partner is helping us EASE into Bow pose. It is really important that you indicate to your partner when you have reached your edge - that place where you can feel the stretch but it feels good.  It is also important that your partner takes steps to protect his/her lower back.  

Lie on your tummy, your forehead on the mat.  Bend both knees and reach round for the outsides of your feet, your ankles, or shins.  If you need a belt, your partner can help you place it around your ankles.  

Your partner stands behind you with his/her feet wider than hips, outside edges parallel. He/she then bends the knees and holds your ankles (in effect a squat).  He/she lifts your feet slowly up and back as you take a breath in- you should talk to you partner as he/she does this.  It should feel really good.  Breathe out and have your partner slowly lower you down. Take a Child's pose then swap roles so that you assist your partner into Bow pose.  

Bow pose is a great pose for improving posture because it opens the chest and shoulders.  It also opens the front of the hips and thigh muscles which are often tight if we work at a desk. It stimulates digestion and elimination.

You may also like:-

With a little help from a friend - Bow pose

With a little help from a friend - Seated twist / Forward bend and backbend