Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Yoga for anxiety - truth, insight and wisdom

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga for anxiety - truth, insight and wisdom'-on my YouTube Channel.



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

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. 

Please be aware that these yoga practices may take you to an emotional edge that can be very painful if you suffer from severe anxiety. Just as with a physical edge, you should back off if the emotions get too intense.  I would strongly advise you to check with your medical practitioner before undertaking these yoga practices.

The intention behind this week's video is to know the truth of our fears and anxieties.  If we can recognise that some of our fears and anxieties are unfounded - they are just our ego's attempts to keep us safe - we can then let them go. Of course, to know and challenge the truth of fear and anxiety we need to have insight and wisdom. For this reason, this week, we are working with the upper chakras - the throat chakra for truth, the third eye chakra for insight and the crown chakra for wisdom.

We start the video by chanting 'om' to awaken the crown chakra.  We then work with the spinal energy series to bring energy up to the upper chakras before practicing poses specific to the upper chakras.

We include Eagle pose, symbol of power, intuition and wisdom.

We end the video with a 'walk through the chakras' to realise the wisdom that we already have.


Namaste,


Sunday, 27 November 2016

This week on 40plusandalliswell


Today's Meatless Monday is a Thanksgiving special. This nut roast makes a change from the usual nut roast as it is encased in filo pastry.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/meatless-monday-sweet-potato-and-nut.html

Here's my Pumpkin pie smoothie recipe, a creamy, smooth, guilt-free treat or Thanksgiving breakfast with all the flavours of Pumpkin pie.
Happy Thanksgiving! 
Please see my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/pumpkin-pie-smoothie.html

In the 40plusandalliswell garden and allotment we have been planning next year's growing. Why not take a look at what we are going to do next year-it might give you some inspiration! 
Happy planning! :) 
Please see my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/planning-next-years-organic-gardening.html

Yoga with a chair

Yoga with a chair is great if you have limited mobility.  Remember yogis say 'if you can breathe, you can do yoga'.  Try the following yoga videos on my YouTube Channel- 

Chair yoga - severe arthritis/elderly.  Part 1-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNOvbkqtSXE

Chair yoga - severe arthritis/elderly.  Part 2-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQbZDm4FlLc

In this blog post however, we are using the chair as a prop to help with balance, to bring the ground nearer than a block would and to help you relax.  

Try using a chair in the following yoga poses (Safety note - please make sure that your chair will not slip).

Downward Facing Dog using a chair (using a chair is a half way stage between having your hands on the mat and having your hands on a wall (see last week's 'Yoga with a Wall'
http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/yoga-with-wall.html)

Stand  with the chair seat facing you, your feet at hip distance and place your hands on the chair seat.  Breathe out walk your feet back and bring your head between your arms.   To come out of the pose, breathe in and walk your feet forward to come up. As a counter pose, interlace your fingers behind your back, breathe in and lift your arms up and back as you lift your chest.



Revolved Triangle (a chair brings the floor nearer than a mat in this challenging pose) - stand a little way from the chair (chair seat facing you) with your feet at hip distance.  Step your right foot forward so that it is under the chair and turn your back toes out.  Level up your hips by taking the right hip point back.  Place your left hand on the chair seat and your right hand on your right hip.  Breathe in and start to twist to the right, abdomen first then ribcage then shoulders.  If you have a good twist, take your right arm up and if you have no neck issues, look up at the right hand.  Breathe in, take your right hand to your right hip and come back to centre.  Place your right hand on the chair, breathe in and come up, step your feet together.  
Repeat second side.



Tree (a chair can help you with balance) -from standing facing the back of the chair,  take your weight into your left leg. Bring your fingertips to the back of the chair. Find a drishti, a gaze point then bring the sole of the right foot to cup the left ankle, to the left shin or reach down and bring the right foot to the left thigh (never place the right foot on the knee).  Press the right foot into the left leg and press back into the right foot with the left leg. Keep the tail bone lengthening down towards the mat. If you feel stable take one arm up and if possible both arms up, knowing you can return your fingertips to the chair if you start to feel unsteady. Hold for several breaths then release on a breath out.  



Plough - Please note this pose is contraindicated if you have high blood pressure, heart problems, have neck issues or are menstruating (a chair is helpful if you have tight hamstrings)- lie in front of the chair with a folded blanket under your shoulders so that your neck and head are on the mat, not on the blanket.  This creates space for your neck.  Breathe in and as you breathe out, engage your core and take your legs up and over so that your feet come to the chair.  For extra comfort you may place a cushion on the chair.  Ideally, support your lower back with your hands.



Restorative Seated Forward Bend - sit with the chair seat facing you and your legs under the chair.  Place a cushion on the chair and bring your right cheek to the cushion and rest your arms on the chair seat.  Stay here for a few minutes then turn your head so that your left cheek is on the cushion.



You might also like the following videos on my YouTube Channel:-

Yoga to help relieve pain - Chair yoga 1 - power sequence to fight pain
http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/yoga-to-help-relieve-pain-chair-yoga-1.html
Yoga to help relieve pain - Chair yoga 2 - release tension, release pain
http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/yoga-to-help-relieve-pain-chair-yoga-2.html
Yoga to help relieve pain - Chair yoga 3 - releasing endorphins, nature's pain killers
http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/yoga-to-help-relieve-pain-chair-yoga-3.html


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

An Ayurveda Thanksgiving



Thanksgiving is celebrated in the autumn which in Ayurveda is the time when vata dosha is dominant.  Please see Ayurveda and Autumn-
https://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/ayurveda-and-autumn.html

In order to balance the cold, moving, drying qualities of autumn, we shoud be eating heavy, moist and warming foods.  Seek out seasonal ingredients too which not only taste better but are richer in nutrients.  The following Thanksgiving menu is ideal in that it includes all six tastes - sweet (pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes), sour (cranberries), salt (tofu turkey), pungent (ginger and cinnamon - which are also warming), bitter (Brussel sprouts), and astringent which makes for a more satisfying meal.


Thanksgiving menu


Tofu turkey

Tofu turkey recipe- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/meatless-monday-turkey-style-tofu-with.html) with sprouts, sweet potatoes and cranberry and apple chutney



Apple, Cranberry and Orange Chutney- no added sugar

'Apple, Cranberry and Orange Chutney- no added sugar' recipe-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/apple-cranberry-and-orange-chutney-no.html



Thanksgiving dessert-Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving dessert-Pumpkin Pie-recipe- 

https://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/vegan-thanksgiving-dessert-pumpkin-pie.html 



'Cheesecake' pumpkin pie

or 'Cheesecake' pumpkin pie-recipe- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/pumpkin-cheesecake-pie.html

Happy Thanksgiving!



Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Yoga for anxiety - detachment from fear

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga for anxiety - detachment from fear' on my YouTube Channel.



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

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. 


Please be aware that these yoga practices may take you to an emotional edge that can be very painful if you suffer from severe anxiety. Just as with a physical edge, you should back off if the emotions get too intense.  I would strongly advise you to check with your medical practitioner before undertaking these yoga practices.

Last week our intention was to cultivate the strength to be with our anxieties and fears.  This week we are cultivating detachment from our fears.  This means taking a 'step back' so that we do not get wrapped up in our anxieties.   If we can do this we can look at those anxieties as an observer and this will enable us to discern which of those anxieties are justified in that they keep you safe - 'if I step out into the road without looking, I will have an accident' and anxieties which are your ego going into overdrive - 'my daughter hasn't rung - there must be something wrong', 'I can't go to the party, everyone will look at the spot on my chin and think I am ugly', 'I must not touch door handles outside the house or I will get sick'.  You get the idea. 

We end the video with a loving kindness meditation as a way of wishing yourself well and wishing others well.

Next week we will practice being present to the truth to be able to challenge such thoughts.



Sunday, 20 November 2016

This week on 40plusandalliswell


Meatless Monday this week is ''Soy 'meatballs' with leek and mushroom ragu and pasta''.
We have been harvesting leeks from the allotment and so I made this pasta sauce as a way of using them up. It is good to eat seasonal foods - the flavour and nutrition are better.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/meatless-monday-soy-meatballs-with-leek.html

This 'Apple, Cranberry and Orange Chutney' with no added sugar would make a great addition to your Thanksgiving meal.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/apple-cranberry-and-orange-chutney-no.html

It's Stir-up Sunday - traditionally the day when you make your Christmas cakes and puddings.
This year I have made a Chocolate fruit and nut Christmas Cake which has no added sugar and is gluten free.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/chocolate-fruit-and-nut-christmas-cake.html

Yoga with a wall


Using a wall can help you open up in a yoga pose, give you support, or help with balance.
  
Try these poses using a wall

Tadasana (a wall helps you find good posture) - stand with your back to a wall, the feet together with the outside edges of the feet parallel. Lift your kneecaps to engage your thigh muscles.  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.  Level your with the floor, the crown of your head reaching for the ceiling.  Relax your arms by your sides, your fingers gently curled.  For good alignment your head, shoulders and hips should be in contact with the wall For many of us, especially if we work with computers this may mean taking the head back.



Back Stretch (this is essentially Downward Facing Dog with a different relationship to gravity - ideal if semi-inversions are not for you and a lovely stretch for your back) - stand facing a wall with your feet at hip distance and your fingertips on the wall at navel height.  Keeping your feet at hip distance walk your feet back until you come to a flat back and your head is between your arms. Press your tailbone back.  To come out of the pose, breathe in and walk your feet forward to come upright.  As a counter pose, interlace your fingers behind your back, breathe in and lift your arms up and back as you lift your chest.



Wall Dolphin (this is essentially Dolphin with a different relationship to gravity - ideal if semi-inversions are not for you and a lovely stretch for your shoulders)- interlace your fingers and place your forearms on the wall with your elbows apart. Your elbows should be at shoulder height and feet hip distance. Breathe in and as you breathe out walk your feet back until your head is between your arms.  To come out breathe in and walk your feet forward. As a counter pose roll your shoulders up by your ears and back and down.  



Arm Clock - stand a little way from the wall with your right hip nearest the wall.  Take your right arm up the wall at the 12 o'clock position.  Keeping your hips forward and level, breathe in and as you breathe out take your arm to the 1 o'clock postion.  Repeat to the two o'clock position and three o'clock position.  To come out of the pose, breathe in and as you breathe out take your arm back to the 2 o'clock position and continue until you return to the 12o'clock position.  Lower your arm, turn your left hip to the wall and repeat taking your arm to the 11 o'clock, 10 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions.



Tree Pose (the wall helps you become confident in balances) - stand a little way from the wall with your left hip on the wall side. Take your weight into your left leg and place your left fingertips on the wall.  Slowly peel the right foot away.  Place the right foot against the left ankle, against your calf or reach down and place your right foot against your left inner thigh. Do not place your foot against your left knee.  Lift your left kneecap and press into your right foot with your left leg with the same force as you press the left leg with your right foot. Lengthen your tail bone down and lift up out of your hips.  Find a gaze point, a drishti and raise your right arm.  If you feel steady try raising your left arm. To come out breathe out and lower your right foot.  Repeat second side.  



Half Moon Balance (lightly resting your hips and shoulders on the wall creates a delicious opening in this pose) - start in standing with your back to the wall. Bring your hands to your hips and step your feet wide.  Inhale bring your arms to shoulder height, exhale bend your right knee. Bring your left hand onto your left hip and take your right hand to the mat or to a block (remember a block has 3 levels.  The block or your hand should be positioned 6-12 inches forward of your right little toe and slightly back.  Start to transfer your weight onto your right foot and slowly start to lift your left leg so that your hips and shoulders lightly rest on the wall.  Breathe in and raise your left arm.  Your gaze can be straight ahead or up at the left hand.  
To come out of the pose lower the left hand to the left hip and drop the back leg to the mat. Inhale come up, front knee bent, arms to shoulder height, exhale bring your hands to your heart, turn your feet to face forward.  Repeat second side. 


Standing Twist -  stand with your right hip to the wall and the fingertips of both hands on the wall.  Breathe in and as you breathe out 'walk' your fingertips back as you twist from the abdomen, then the ribcage, then the shoulders. With each breath out you may find you can twist a little more.  Keep your hips facing forward.



Arthur's Seat (a wall supports your back leg in this pose for a good quadricep stretch) - come into a lunge with your back to the wall so that your shin is resting on the wall.  You should already feel this on the quadricep but if you feel you want to go deeper bring your hands to your front thigh.  To come out of the pose release your hands back down to the mat and release the back leg from the wall.  Repeat second side.



Legs up the Wall (in this pose a wall supports you to help you relax) - sit with your right hip to the wall, knees bent. Swivel so that your legs are up the wall and your body resting back on your mat, arms by your sides.  



You can also use the wall in this position to come into a variation of Keyhole stretch which is great if you struggle to hold your leg without straining your neck.  Place your right foot on your left thigh, foot flexed - the nearer your foot is to your groin, the more intense the pose. Bend your left knee taking your left foot to the wall.



Another pose you can do here is a variation of Diamond Pose by bending your knees to bring your feet to the wall then letting your knees release towards the wall so that the soles of your feet come together and your legs form a diamond shape.



Namaste,



Thursday, 17 November 2016

Yoga for an attitude of gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends who will be celebrating their blessings next Thursday.  We have so many blessings in our lives - our family and friends, our homes, our food etc it is good for us all to be grateful for them not just at Thanksgiving but every day of the year.

Our featured post 'It's Thanksgiving, be grateful' is on how yoga can help us open up to gratitude.  There is also a yoga video to help you cultivate gratitude.  Please see http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/the-year-was-1621.html

On the wellness blog, 40plusandalliswell you can read about the health benefits of being grateful.  Please see 'Glow with Gratitude' https://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/glow-with-gratitude.html

Try the following sequence to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

Tadasana with Anjali mudra - stand with the feet together with the outside edges of the feet parallel (for most of us this willl mean separating the heels). Lift your kneecaps to engage your thigh muscles.  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.  Bring your hands into prayer with your thumbs lightly pressing into your chest and either gently close your eyes or gaze at the floor. As you connect with your heart space think of three things that you are grateful for in this moment.  When you are ready take a breath in, breathe out bring your chin to your chest, breathe in bring your chin level with the floor and gently open your eyes. Come to the top of your mat, inhale take your arms out and up, exhale taking your hands out and down then to the mat, bending your knees if you need to.  Breathe in and as you breathe out step back to Downward Facing Dog. 



Pigeon variation - from Downward Facing Dog, inhale bring your right knee towards your right wrist, exhale drop your back knee.  Place a block under your right buttock if you need to. Level up your hips.  Lift through your chest and for a deeper opening of your heart space reach round with your left hand for your left foot.  Open your heart to recognise all life's blessings.  To come out of the pose, release your left foot, bring your left hand back to the mat and on an exhale step back to Downward Facing Dog.  Repeat second side then take a Child's Pose.



Crescent Moon Pose variation - when you are ready to continue inhale come onto all fours, exhale come to Downward Facing Dog.  From here inhale bring your right foot forward, exhale lower your back knee.  Interlace your fingers behind your back, inhale lift your chest take your arms up and back.  Breathe out release your hands to the mat, step back to Downward Facing Dog and repeat on the second side.  From second side, release your hands to the mat, lift your back knee and step your back foot forward.  Take hold of your elbows and slowly roll up.



Warrior 1 variation with Lotus Mudra - from the top of your mat step your left foot back, turn out your left toes and level up your hips.  Breathe out and bend your right knee. Take your hands into Lotus mudra with thumbs and little fingers touching and the other fingers spread and open.  Breathe in and take your hands up, give thanks to the universe for the blessings you have been given.  To come out of the pose exhale lower your hands to your hips, inhale step the back foot forward. Repeat second side.
  

Camel variation - come to the top of your mat, inhale take your arms out and up, exhale taking your hands out and down then to the mat, bending your knees if you need to.  Breathe in and as you breathe out step back to Downward Facing Dog. Inhale drop your knees and come to kneeling, folding your mat over to pad your knees if your knees are delicate.  Bring your right foot forward, inhale and raise your right arm as you curl back and reach back for your left heel.  To modify tuck your left toes to raise your heel or take your left hand into the small of your back and curl back.  Open your heart space to life's blessings. Repeat second side then take a Child's Pose.



Rest in Savasana

Peace and blessings





Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Yoga for anxiety - strength to be with your fears

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga for anxiety - strength to be with your fears' on my YouTube Channel.



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

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. 

Please be aware that these yoga practices may take you to an emotional edge that can be very painful if you suffer from severe anxiety. Just as with a physical edge, you should back off if the emotions get too intense.  I would strongly advise you to check with your medical practitioner before undertaking these yoga practices.

Last week we focused on developing awareness of our fears and how they affect our minds and bodies.  We said that the sooner we become aware of fears arising in our bodies, the sooner we can deal with them - this can prevent the scenario where we become frantic with our fears or even have a panic attack.  

This week we are developing strength to be with our fears as a further stage in dealing with them.  There can be no doubt it can take courage to be with our emotions at times and no pose speaks of courage like the Warrior poses. For that reason I have included the Dancing Warrior sequence.  This includes Warrior 2 in which you can think of the back arm as representing the past and all the anxieties from the past that you want to let go of so that you can look to the future, represented by the front arm, without anxiety.  

We end the video with a meditation that will help you feel stronger in order to face your fears.

Namaste,


Sunday, 13 November 2016

This week on 40plusandalliswell


Today's Meatless Monday recipe on the blog is an Indian Rice Bowl-quick to make,healthy and delicious this makes great lunch. 
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/meatless-monday-indian-rice-bowl.html

If you are looking to shed a few pounds before Christmas this blog post on resistant starch may help.
Please see my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/weight-loss-help-resistant-starch.html

Don't miss the amazing benefits of oil pulling.
Read more on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/oil-pulling.html

Yoga with a strap

A yoga strap is essential to your yoga practice.  It can help you get a delicious stretch, help you move deeper into a pose or it can be used to lengthen your arm, if like me you cannot reach in some poses.  A yoga strap can also help your body open gradually and helps you keep good alignment.  Below are some of the poses where a strap is useful.

Supta padangusthasana (using your strap extends your arm so that you do not strain your neck and shoulder) - 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.


Shoulder stretches (using your belt gives you a delicious stretch in these shoulder openers)  - sit in Easy pose or back on your heels.  Fold your strap in two and take hold of the ends. Inhale stretch your arms up, exhale lower. Repeat twice more.  Then opening  the belt up take your hands wider.  Inhale take your arms up, exhale take the belt down behind your back.  Inhale lift your arms back up, exhale lower to your start position.  Repeat twice more. Still with your arms wide, inhale take your arms up, exhale lower your left arm down to the left, sliding your hand down the belt to open up the right side of your body.  Inhale take your arms up, exhale repeat to the other side to open the left side of your body.  Repeat twice more.



Bow pose (a yoga strap helps you reach your feet until your spinal flexibility increases) - lie on your tummy with your arms by your sides, bend your knees.  Take hold of your feet or ankles or take a belt around your feet and hold that.  Inhale press your feet up and back to lift your head and chest from the mat.  Breathe out to lower.  Repeat then take a Child's pose to uncurl your spine. 



Cow Face Arms -in a standing or seated position, with the strap over your right shoulder, breathe in raise your right arm, breathe out take your right hand down your back.  Breathe in extend your left arm forward, breathe out externally rotate your left arm up your back.  If your hands do not meet take hold of the strap with your hands and creep your fingers towards one another.  Do not pull on the strap which will drive your hands further apart. Release when you are ready and roll your shoulders up by your ears and back and down to release your shoulders.  Repeat second side.



Bound Side Angle (using the belt in this pose helps you keep good alignment.  If you strain to get your hands to meet, there is a good chance that your body will come forward ) - step your feet wide, take a strap in your left hand and turn the whole of the right leg to the right, toes of the left foot turning in about 45 degrees. Ladies should line up front and back heels, men front heel to back instep. Bring your hands to prayer position.  Inhale stretch your arms out at shoulder height, exhale bend your front knee.  Post your right hand under the right leg and take your left arm with the belt behind your back.  If your hands do not meet, hold onto the strap.  To come out of the pose inhale release your right hand, bring your arms to shoulder height, exhale turn your feet to face forward, bring your hands to your heart. Repeat on the second side.



Extended Big Toe Balance (a strap in this pose extends your arm)- make a loop in your strap and take it around the ball of your right foot.  Find a drishti, a gaze point straight ahead. Inhale, bend your right knee adjusting your hand position on the strap, breathe out engage your core and stretch your right leg forward, letting the strap out accordingly. Take a breath in and as you breathe out, engage your core and take your leg out to the right.  Inhale bring your leg back to centre, exhale release your leg down.  Repeat on the second side.



Boat variation (using a strap helps give you greater stability in this pose.  It also helps you get the lift in your chest) - sit with your knees bent and place a strap around the balls of your feet, holding onto the strap with both hands. Breathe in and as you breathe out rock back on your sit bones and lift your shins parallel with the ceiling as you pull on the strap to lift your chest. If you wish on your next exhale engage your core and straighten your legs.  Breathe in to release the pose.



Janu sirsasana (Head to knee forward bend) a strap will help your increase your flexibility in this pose. - sit on a block with your legs outstretched.  Bend your right knee and place the sole of your right foot against your left thigh. Twist to the left so that your breast bone lines up with your outstretched left leg.  Hinging from the groin fold forward easing back if you are straining in the pose. Either bring your hands to either side of your straight leg, the sides of your foot or take hold of a strap placed around the ball of your left foot. With each inhale lengthen through the crown of your head and with the exhale you may find that you can move deeper into the pose but do not strain.   Breathe in to come up slowly and release. Repeat on the second side.






Seated forward bend - take a strap around the balls of both feet and hold the belt in both hands.  Breathe in pull on the strap to lift through the spine, breathe out hinge forward from the groin adjusting your hand position on the belt.   With each inhale lengthen through the crown of your head and with the exhale you may find that you can move deeper into the pose but do not strain.   Breathe in to come up slowly and release.



Supta Baddha Konasana (a strap helps you position your feet close to your pelvis)- sit with your legs outstretched then bending your knees bring the soles of your feet together.  Take a strap around your sacrum, over your inner thighs and around your feet.  Lie back on your mat and adjust the strap if you need to.  Place cushions under your outer thighs to protect your SI joint.  To come out of the pose take hold of the outsides of your leg, bring your knees together, feet to the mat, roll onto your right side and come up.






Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Hedgehog help


As yogis we want all beings to be happy and well.  We can all do our bit whether it is feeding the birds, planting a few bee friendly plants, reporting animal sightings to help the fight against fracking etc.

I have recently become concerned about hedgehogs.  One night I went out to the bin with some rubbish and heard a yelping from under my hedge.  Thinking some creature was in distress, I got a torch and went to help.  My torch light fell on a pair of mating hedgehogs.

Hedgehog numbers have dramatically fallen over the last decades partly due to changes in agriculture which has reduced the number of hedgerows (hopefully not due to well-meaning people shining torches on them while they are mating!).  But you can help!!! 

These endearing creatures need somewhere somewhere safe to hibernate over the winter - a hogilo, hedgehog home is ideal.  All kinds of designs are available - mine is of basketweave which I have covered with twigs and leaves to provide insulation.  I have also lined the floor of the hogilo with leaves to make it more comfortable.  Place your hogilo in a sheltered position (mine is wedged under a hedge) pointing away from north to shelter your hedgehog from the worst of the winter winds) .

Encourage hedgehogs to your hogilo with meaty cat food and leave some water in a shallow container for them too (not as is often thought milk and bread).  November is the ideal time to put out a hogilo - when the food stops disappearing you will know he has hibernated.

May all beings be well,
May all beings be happy,
May all beings be peaceful and at ease.


.