Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Yoga to rebalance-balanced emotions

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga to rebalance-balanced emotions'-on my YouTube Channel.



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

Being out of balance emotionally means we may squash down our emotions and, because the mind, body and spirit are connected, this may mean that those emotions show as physical dis -ease (spelled this way intentionally  - a state where the body is not at ease).   Being out of balance can also mean that we are overly attached to our emotions again resulting in dis-ease.  We need instead to allow our emotions to come to the surface, experience those emotions then let them go.  This is the intention behind this week's video.

Squashing down emotions or becoming overly attached to our emotions may be a symptom of an imbalanced second chakra which is the focus of our video this week.

We end with a meditation in which we allow any emotions to surface and just be with them.



Sunday, 26 February 2017

This week on 40plusandalliswell



This week's Meatless Monday, Singapore noodles, is healthy and quick to make but tasty! 
Enjoy!
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/meatless-monday-singapore-noodles.html

Approx 200 calories per portion!
Recipe- Cut potato into wedges. Allow 200 grams of potato per person. Spray with olive oil spray and bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 30 mins. Sprinkle with salt.
Go on treat yourself!
#Nationalchipweek #chips

Find out how this supplement can help you beat inflammation which underlies most illnesses.
Please see my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/beating-inflammation-with-serrapeptase.html

Fruit slumps have their origins in America and is similar to a fruit cobbler but a fruit slump is usually cooked on the hob. It is called 'slump' because of the topping slumps together as it cooks.
I have made a rhubarb and orange, vegan, fruit slump now that rhubarb is starting to appear in the shops.
The dessert is also dairy free, gluten free and has no added sugar.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/rhubarb-and-orange-slump.html

Mudra to energise the brain


Earlier this week we practiced a sequence to nourish the brain which, although only 2% of the body's weight consumes 20% of the oxygen and glucose, 'Yoga for the brain-Part 2-Nourishing the brain'-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/yoga-for-brain-part-2-nourishing-brain.html

Pran mudra directs prana, the life force to the parts of the body where it is needed. Since the brain is the body's big energy user, this mudra will help direct the energy it needs to it. 

To practice Pran mudra bring the thumb, little finger and ring finger tips together. Sit with your eyes closed or lowered and hold the mudra for several minutes.

You might also like 'Using mudras in your yoga practice'-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/using-mudras-in-your-yoga-practice.html and 'Mudras to help reduce stress'-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/mudras-to-help-reduce-stress.html

Namaste,



Thursday, 23 February 2017

Yoga for the brain- Part 2 - Nourishing the brain

The brain is greedy for oxygen - it consumes around 20% of the body's oxygen.  It is a similar story with blood glucose - the brain consumes around 20% even though the brain is only around 2% of our body weight.  It is therefore important for optimal brain function to have a good circulation to the brain and optimise the entry of oxygen into our bodies.  The following sequence opens up the chest with back bends to ensure a good supply of oxygen to the body and inversions bring oxygen to the brain.

You will need two blocks.

Start in Child pose -come towards the back of your mat and sit on your heels.  Bring your head to the mat and your hands round to your heels.  Allow your breath to settle.  If you do not like your head low stack your fists and rest your forehead on your fists or place your forehead on a block.



Cat/Cow - with your hands under your shoulders, knees under hips, breathe in lift your head and chest, breathe out tuck your chin and arch your back.  Continue working with your breath. 



Puppy - come back to all fours and keeping your hips lifted walk your hands forward, bringing your forehead to the mat.  Melt your heart towards the mat to create a back bend.  If the pose is hard on your shoulders, try taking your hands further apart or interlace your fingers above your head.  To come out of the pose walk your hands back to all fours.



Sphinx - lie on your tummy with your arms extended forward, your tail bone pressed back and your forehead on the mat.  Slide your elbows back under your shoulders, forearms parallel and your fingers spread and open.  Your gaze can be straight ahead or down at the mat so that the back of your neck is long.  Hold for 5-10 breaths then take another Child's pose.


Upward Facing Dog to Downward Facing Dog - come back to lying on your tummy, forehead on the mat and your hands by your ribs, elbows tucked.  Breathe in and press into your hands to come up - be on the tops of your feet with your legs lifted off the mat.  Listen to your body and if you feel any pinching in the lower back, soften your elbows back or come out of the pose.  Breathe out and roll onto the balls of your feet, lift your hips into Downward Facing Dog.  Move between the two poses 3-5 times.
Extended Child's pose -  come to the back of your mat, big toe touching, knees wide.  Walk your hands forward and bring your head to the mat, a block or a cushion. Press your tail bone back and stretch forward to lengthen your spine after the back bend.  Stay here for a few breaths then inhale and come to all fours.




Downward Facing Dog to Wild Thing - breathe in come back to all fours, breathe out and lift your hips high into Downward Facing Dog.  From here breathe in and take your right leg back, breathe out and drop your right heel to your left buttock, opening your hips to the right. Bend your left knee a little and let your right foot come down on your left side as you lift your chest towards the ceiling.  To come out of the pose breathe out, engage your core and 'flip' back to Downward Facing Dog.  Repeat second side then take a Child's Pose. 



Standing Forward Bend - breathe in, come back to all fours then breathe out lift your hips up into Downward Facing Dog.  Walk your feet forward and when your shoulders come over your hands, take your feet to hip distance, outside edges parallel.  If you need the floor to be nearer, use a block.  Be on your fingertips to be more sensitive to the breath.  If you have heart or blood pressure issues do not let your head be lower than your heart, otherwise release the crown of your head down.  Take a few breaths then inhale and slowly roll up.



Triangle - stand in the middle of the mat in Tadasana.  Step your feet a leg length apart, turn the right leg out and the left foot in 45 degrees.  Ladies should align their heel, men should align front heel to back instep.  Bring your hands to your heart then on a breath in stretch your arms wide and lift your chest.  Breathe out and shift your hips to the left and you extend over your right leg, bringing your hand to rest on your ankle, shin or thigh. Your gaze can be up at your right thumb if your neck allows, or down at your right big toe. If you have neck issues, you may also want to place your top hand on your hips. To come out of the pose, breathe in and windmill your arms up to shoulder height, breathe out turn your feet to face forward and your hands to heart centre. Repeat second side.



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.  To come out of the pose breathe out bring your hands to your hips, breathe in and slowly come up.



Supported shoulder stand/Legs up the wall - for Supported Shoulder Stand come to lying on your mat with your knees bent.  Breathe in, press into your feet and lift your hips. Place two blocks under your hips, long edge facing the short edge of the mat.  Bring the top block halfway towards you and raise your legs so that your toes come over your face.  The top block should tip to support your lower back.  Stay here for a couple of minutes then release your feet to the mat, breathe in, lift your hips and remove the blocks, breathe out lower your hips.  Hug your knees in and rock from side to side.



If you cannot do the supported shoulder stand  (heart issues, blood pressure problems, menstruation, neck issues etc ) you may feel more comfortable with Legs up the Wall or miss the pose out altogether and take a Savasana.

For Legs up the Wall sit by a wall with your knees bent and your right hip up against the wall. Swivel your hips so that your legs come up the wall.  Shuffle your bottom as close as you can to the wall. Position your arms where is comfortable for you, either a little way from your body, overhead or bring your hands to rest on your heart.  Close your eyes if you wish and spend several minutes in the pose if you can.  To come out of the pose roll onto your right side and spend a minute there with your knees drawn up to your chest before coming up. 


Spend a few minutes resting in Savasana.

Please also see- 'Yoga for the brain-Part 1- Stress'

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Yoga to rebalance - stability

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga to rebalance- Stability-on my YouTube Channel.



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

Without stability in our lives we do not feel balanced.  We need a stable base to give us the confidence to move forward and manifest our dreams.  Without stabilty we fear change,  we feel 'stuck'.  

We feel stable when all our basic needs for food, shelter etc are met but more than this we need stability in our working lives and in our relationships.  Stability in these areas makes us feel more grounded, less anxious, able to take on life's challenges.

In our yoga practice too we need a stable base to protect our lower backs in standing poses. 

In this week's video we will be focused on the root chakra.  Imbalance in the root chakra can lead to us feeling unstable.  We will be practicing poses that balance the root chakra, practicing a mudra to connect with our earth energy and chanting 'lam' the chant for the root chakra.  If you wish to continue I have ended the video with a meditation on how the tree's roots enable the tree to cope with change and grow. 

Namaste,





Sunday, 19 February 2017

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.  Hold for a few minutes with your eyes closed or lowered.


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. Hold for a few minutes with your eyes closed or lowered.



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.  To come out of the pose breathe out, take your hands to your hips, breathe in a come up slowly. 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


Thursday, 9 February 2017

Yoga poses for self-love

It's Valentine's Day next week so love is in the air, but just as important as the love we have for others is the love we have for ourselves. Let's be clear -  loving yourself is not the same as being selfish.  When you indulge in a little self care, everyone around you benefits.  Also I believe until you can love yourself, you cannot fully love others.  But society does not encourage us to love ourselves - we are surrounded by messages that indicate we are not acceptable unless we look a certain way, behave a certain way and even think a certain way. As a result many of us develop a self-critic which gets in the way of our self-love.  For some of us far from having self-love we experience self-loathing. 

The truth is we all have a beauty that comes from the divine that shines within but sometimes the clouds of our minds mask it. The following poses will help you release negative feelings, and open up to see the divine within so that you can love yourself once more.  You will need two cushions and a bolster.

Supta Baddha Konasana - lie with your knees bent, heels close into the buttocks. Bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees release your knees down towards the mat. Support your thighs with cushions to protect your SI joint.  Stay here for a few minutes watching your breath.  When you are ready to come out of the pose, bring your hands to the outsides of your thighs and draw your knees together.  Either rock up or come onto your right side and come up.  Come onto all fours then breathe out lift your hips into a Downward Facing Dog.  



Low lunge with lotus mudra - from Downward Facing Dog, breathe in stretch your right leg up then bring your right foot between your hands.  Breathe out release the left knee to the mat.  Breathe in come up and bring your hands into Lotus mudra, thumbs and little fingers joined the other fingers spread and open. Reach up as you curl back to connect with the divine.  To come out of the pose, breathe out take your hands to the mat and step back to Downward Facing Dog.  Repeat second side then walk your feet forward and slowly roll to standing.



Hug a Tree - stand in the centre of the mat and take your weight into your left foot.  Find a drishti, gaze point and bring your right foot to your left ankle or shin or reach down and bring your right foot to your left thigh - avoid placing your right foot against your left knee.  Take your right hand to your left shoulder, your left hand to your right shoulder. Breathe out to release.



Legs up the Wall with bolster - sit by a wall with your knees bent and your right hip up against the wall.  Swivel your hips so that your legs come up the wall.  Shuffle your bottom as close as you can to the wall.  Lift your hips and pull a bolster under you.  Position your arms where is comfortable for you, either a little way from your body, overhead or bring your hands to rest on your heart.  Close your eyes if you wish and spend 10-15 minutes in the pose if you can.  To come out of the pose roll onto your right side and spend a minute there with your knees drawn up to your chest before coming up.



Taking a little 'me' time each day will help you feel more centered and relaxed. 


You might also like the following yoga posts from my blog:-

'Valentine's Day'-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/valentines-day.html
'Valentine's Day-5 poses for opening up to love'- 
http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/valentines-day-5-poses-for-opening-up.html
'How yoga boosts heart health'- http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/how-yoga-boosts-heart-health.html

Also on my 'sister' blog, 40plusandalliswell:-
'Love your heart'- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/love-your-heart.html
'Share the love-it's good for you'-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/share-love-its-good-for-you.html

Namaste,




















Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Yoga to rebalance- Yin/Yang

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Yoga to rebalance- Yin/Yang'-on my YouTube Channel.



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

Yin and yang are two opposing energies - while yang energy is active, yin energy is passive. The two energies correspond to masculine (yang) and feminine (yin) energies.  The qualities associated with the masculine energy include action, strength, focus, drive while those of the feminine energy include compassion, nurturing, ability to adapt to change, intuition. Whether you are a man or a woman you have both masculine and feminine energies and both are essential to your wellbeing .

In yoga the masculine energy is represented by the Hindu deity Shiva while the feminine energy is represented by Shakti, the divine mother. There is a 'dance' between these two energies - at times we need to tap into our feminine energy and at other times our masculine energy needs to come to the fore.

In terms of our yoga practice yang yoga is active and includes yoga flows.  Yin yoga involves longer holds.  Whereas yang yoga targets the muscles, yin yoga targets connective tissue, tendons and ligaments.

In our yoga practice this week we practice both yin and yang yoga. Yin yoga at the beginning of the practice helps us open to the yang flows will will practice and the yin yoga at the end of the practice helps calm the body and mind in preparation for meditation.  We end with a meditation to reflect on how you can balance yin and yang, masculine and feminine in your life.

Namaste,

Sunday, 5 February 2017

This week on 40plusandalliswell


This vegan version of Mexican burritos will be a hit whether or not you are vegan. With minimal cooking they are quick to prepare and yet filling. 
Recipe on my 'sister' blog - http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/meatless-monday-vegan-black-bean.html

Are you hungry, craving salty or sweet snacks or just thirsty? Read more on my 'sister' blog- 
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/whats-stopping-you-reaching-your.html

This week on my sister blog, 40plusandalliswell, Becky continues her series on healthy vegan nice creams with a super tasty plum crumble nice cream breakfast- grab a spoon and treat yo self! 😊 http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/treat-yo-self-plum-crumble-breakfast.html


With a little help from a friend - seated twist / forward bend and backbend

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.

Sit in a cross-leg position, right shin in front of left and with your back pressed against your partner's back - you may sit on a block if your lower back is rounding.  Take your right hand to your partner's left thigh - your partner takes his/her right hand to your left thigh.  Breathe in as you both lengthen through your spines, breathe out as you twist to the right using your hold on your partner's thigh to help you deepen your twist.  Take care not to strain your neck, which is easy to do because it is the most mobile part of your spine.  Hold for a few breaths then inhale lengthen through your spine and release.  


Link arms with your partner and decide who is going to fold forward and who is going to bend back first.  The partner folding forward breathes out and hinges forward while the partner bending back allows his/herself to be gently drawn back into a supported back bend.  


Talk to one another to decide when to release the pose.  The partner hinging forward breathes in to come up slowly while the partner in the supported back bend breathes out to release the pose.  Repeat with the partner who hinged forward receiving a supported back bend, the other partner folding forward.

Change the cross of your legs and repeat the sequence, twisting to the left this time.



You may also like 'With a little help from a friend- Boat Pose'

Have fun!

Namaste,


Friday, 3 February 2017

Starting a meditation practice - it doesn't work for me!!


Please don't be disappointed if after a week or two you are not feeling the benefits you hoped for.  One of the benefits of meditation is that we learn to be patient!!!

Think of it this way - each time you meditate you create a groove into your subconscious. Over time this groove gets deeper until one day, you reach your subconscious.  Once you reach your subconscious things start to change.  You gain clarity of thought, new perspectives and insights.  Meditation (whatever method you use) anchors you to the present and studies show that this slows down your brain waves.  This allows you to react to your thoughts in a more considered way - your intuition becomes stronger and your problem solving abilities are enhanced.  Ultimately you come to know peace.  Scientific studies have also shown that meditation actually increases the grey matter in the prefrontal context enhancing cognitive function. 

Here is what Lord Alfred Tennyson has to say about meditation-
''. . a kind of waking trance — this for lack of a better word — I have frequently had, quite up from boyhood, when I have been all alone. . . . All at once, as it were out of the intensity of the consciousness of individuality, the individuality itself seemed to dissolve and fade away into boundless being, and this not a confused state but the clearest, the surest of the surest . . . utterly beyond words — where death was an almost laughable impossibility, the loss of personality (if so it were) seeming no extinction, but the only true life. . . .
I am ashamed of my feeble description. Have I not said the state is utterly beyond words? . . .
There is no delusion in the matter! It is no nebulous ecstasy, but a state of transcendent wonder, associated with absolute clearness of mind''.

Worth persevering then!

Please also see  'Starting a meditation practice-are you sitting comfortably', 'Starting a meditation practice - Staying awake' and 'Starting a meditation practice - Calming your mind'  

Namaste,