Thursday, 29 June 2017

Yoga and the moon


You will be aware that the moon exerts a pull on the oceans causing high and low tides and if you consider that people are 70% water, the moon must affect us to some extent.  
There is a belief among some yogis that you should refrain from yoga practice when the moon is full.  In fact a full moon affects prana vayu causing an upward movement of energy leading to over-stimulation that can increase the risk of injury and disrupt sleep. A yoga practice at this time should therefore focus on the opposite energy - a grounding practice which encourages the downward movement of energy, apana vayu. Similarly a new moon has weak energy and, because digestive energy may be weak some yogis fast at this time. A yoga practice should be an invigorating one that focuses on prana vayu.  

Try this moon salutation to ground your energy at the time of the full moon. Please see 'Moon salutation'.

You might also like-
'Beginners guide to the vayus'

If you are enjoying my videos and blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please note however this is not a condition of enjoying my blogs.

To make a donation please see-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/support-this-blog_44.html Thank you

Namaste,





Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Becky's new children's e-book- 'Animal Disco'

Our guest blogger, Becky has published another children's  e-book on Amazon. It is called 'Animal Disco' and is an interactive book. 'This picture book gets kids dancing along with some really wild movers and shakers- and busting their own moves too!'- Suitable for children aged 3-8 years. You may want to join in too!!! Please see-https://www.amazon.co.uk/Animal-Disco-Becky-Barnes-ebook/dp/B07217B21G/
Thank you


Qualities cultivated by yoga - non-attachment

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Qualities cultivated by yoga - non-attachment'-on my YouTube Channel.



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

Firstly let's be clear - non-attachment does not mean you should not be attached to your family and friends, love the place you live etc. In fact our attachments to other people, especially as children, are necessary for us to flourish. 

What non-attachment does mean is not being attached to a certain outcome for your actions which in yoga is a cause for suffering.  Non-attachment means letting go of control and being in the moment.  In our yoga practice we might work towards a certain pose but our practice should be like a journey we can enjoy and whether we reach the final destination does not matter. All that matters is that we benefit physically, mentally and spiritually from the practice. One of the ways we can cultivate non-attachment is through svadhyaya, self study which creates an awareness of whether you are clinging to a certain outcome, trying to control others etc. We can also cultivate gratitude for what we have.  

In our practice this week we work towards variations of a seated twist, and practice being happy with the variation that suits our bodies, which is of course the one that will be of most benefit to us. In time another variation may suit us better but be in the now. The meditation is one developed from my love of nature.

You may also like the following videos on my You Tube Channel:- 

The Niyamas-Svadhyaya
Mindfulness-Mindful of gratitude
Meditation to cultivate gratitude

If you are enjoying my videos and blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please note however this is not a condition of enjoying my blogs.

To make a donation please see-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/support-this-blog_44.html Thank you.



Sunday, 25 June 2017

Building a home practice - warm ups, so worth it - twists


For a practice focused on deep standing twists such as Revolved Triangle, Revolved Side Angle or Revolved Half Moon Balance, your warm up should mobilise the spine in all directions and create some length in the spine.  The neck is the most mobile part of the spine and easy to strain in twists so include some neck releases and if you have any doubts about your neck, keep your chin in line with your chest when you practice deep twists. Below is a sample warm up sequence for standing twists.

Neck releases (all movements of the neck should be slow.  If you come across any tight areas stop and breathe into that area)- sit on a block with a straight spine, your chin level with the floor.  Breathe in and as you breathe out take your chin to your chest, breathe in lift your chin up towards the ceiling.  Breathe out bring your chin down to your chest.  Breathe in and as you breathe out circle your chin to your right shoulder.  Breathe in circle back to centre, breathe out circle your chin to your left shoulder and continue working with your breath. After several movements breathe in come back to centre, then on your next breath in bring your chin back level with the floor. Breathe out drop your right ear to your right shoulder. Hold for several breaths then inhale come back to centre, exhale drop your left ear to your left shoulder. Hold for several breaths then inhale come back to centre.



Back bend/forward bend - place your fingertips on your shoulders, elbows level with the shoulders.  Breathe in, lift your chest and chin, take your elbows back.  Breathe out round forward bringing your elbows together.  Continue for around a minute. 



Lateral stretch -change the cross of your legs.  Have your hands in a yogic grip, fingers of the hands curled around each other.  Inhale lift your left elbow, lower the right elbow opening up the left side of your body, exhale lift your right elbow, lower the left elbow as you open up the right side of your body. Your gaze follows the raised elbow. Continue for a minute.



Seated twist - bring your fingertips to your shoulders, inhale twist to the left, exhale twist to the right and continue for a minute.  
Puppy (lengthen spine) - come to all fours and, keeping your hips lifted, walk your hands forward allowing your chest to release towards the mat. If this is hard on your shoulders, interlace your fingers above your head. To come out of the pose slide your hands back and rest in extended Child's pose.  
Downward Facing Dog variation - when you are ready come to all fours.  Breathe in, tuck your toes, breathe out lift your knees about 8 inch from the mat.  Release your chest towards your thighs to lengthen your spine the start to straighten your legs.  Hold for 5 breaths then walk your feet towards your hands and when your shoulders come over your hands, breathe in, roll up to standing.  



Now you are ready to practice twists.

You may also like 'Building a home practice- Yoga warm ups, so worth it'.

If you are enjoying my videos and blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please note however this is not a condition of enjoying my blogs.


To make a donation please see-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/support-this-blog_44.html



This week on 40plusandalliswell


This week's Meatless Monday is for 'Sweet red pepper falafel' which can be enjoyed hot or cold! 
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/meatless-monday-sweet-red-pepper-falafel.html

There is a meditation for the summer solstice on my 'sister' blog- 
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/meditation-for-summer-solstice.html

People worry a great deal about getting enough protein. On my 'sister' blog we look at how vegans can get complete proteins in their diet. There are also lots of recipe ideas that will give you complete protein! http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/the-vegan-diet-and-protein.html This blog post was included in the online paper, Mrs Kathy King's Party Planning Lounge' - http://paper.li/MrsKathyKing/1413770769?edition_id=5ac289c0-580c-11e7-82b6-0cc47a0d1605#/ 

Many of us suffer from back pain at some point in our lives, but for some people back pain can become chronic. On my 'sister' blog I offer some suggestions which may help- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/natural-help-for-back-pain.html This blog post was included in the online paper, 'Yoga Vitality Magazine' - 
http://paper.li/Yoga_Vitality/1336524135?edition_id=42f8cf90-5a08-11e7-82b6-0cc47a0d1605#/

If you are enjoying my blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please note however this is not a condition of enjoying my blogs.
Please see-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page.html

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Qualities cultivated by yoga - self-awareness

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Qualities cultivated by yoga - self-awareness'-on my YouTube Channel.



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

Yoga increases self-awareness on several levels.  Firstly it increases your awareness of your body in space (proprioception).  Proprioception is an awareness that arises through feedback from sensory receptors in muscles and skin.  Together with the visual system and vestibular system, proprioception helps us balance. This however is not the focus of our video this week.  In the video the intention is to quieten the mental chatter that clouds the 'windows' of our minds so that as the 'windows' clear, we are able to look inside of ourselves and see our true selves which are loving, kind, compassionate and forgiving.  The meditation is one in which we simply watch our breath, observing our thoughts and allowing them to drift away like clouds passing by without becoming involved in their stories.

If you are enjoying my videos and blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please note however this is not a condition of enjoying my blogs.
To make a donation please see-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/support-this-blog_44.html

Namaste,


Sunday, 18 June 2017

This week on 40plusandalliswell


Salads need not be boring as this Asian inspired quinoa salad shows. Healthy, quick to prepare and delicious, it would make a good packed lunch.
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/meatless-monday-asian-quinoa-salad.html

This Sunday is Father's Day. Many commercial aftershaves contain harmful chemicals so why not make this essential oil aftershave for your dad?
Please see my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/fathers-day-gift-to-make-aftershave.html

This year we have a bumper crop of strawberries and I do love strawberries! 
On my 'sister' blog there are tips on growing organic strawberries and eating them! 
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/organic-garden-update-harvesting.html

If you are enjoying my blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please note however this is not a condition of enjoying my blogs.
Please see-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page.html

Building a home practice - yoga warm ups, so worth it

Yoga warm ups gently stretch the muscles and lubricate the joints in preparation for the more challenging poses at the 'core' of the practice.  More than this however, yoga warm ups bring us into the moment, allowing us to leave behind our busy day and be present.  The following sequence is a warm up for deeper back bends.  

Start in savasana, gently close your eyes and take a moment to check out your physical body and allow your breath to settle.  When you are ready gently open your eyes and take a.... 

Full body stretch - take a breath in, raise the arms overhead and press through both heels, moving the prana (life force) around your body then when you are ready to breathe out soften your legs and bring your arms back down by your sides.  Repeat twice more.



Gentle twist (starting to mobilise the spine in all directions)- bend your knees, bringing your heels towards your hips and take your arms out to 45 degrees.  Breathe in and as you breathe out let your knees fall to the right, just as far as they want to go.  Breathe in and centre, breathe out repeat to the left.  After a few repetitions add a warm up for your neck by turning your head in the opposite direction to the knees.  



Pelvic tilts (warms up the spine) - bend your knees and rest your hands on your hip points. Breathe in and curl your pubic bone towards you, flattening your back into the mat, breathe out roll your pubic bone down towards the mat creating a space under your back.  



Pelvic Tilts with Shoulder Bridge (adding a gentle back bend and warming up the shoulders) -  breathe in and curl your pubic bone towards you, flattening your back into the mat, breathe out roll your pubic bone down towards the mat creating a space under your back.   Breathe in lift your hips, take your arms overhead, breathe out lower your hips, bring your arms back over and repeat the sequence three more times.  



Warm up for core (core muscles support the lower back in back bends) - with your knees bent, place your hands at the top of your thigh, breathe out and curl up, tucking your chin and sliding your hands towards your knees. Breathe in to lower back down.  Repeat twice more.  Come to all fours.  



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 for several repetitions.



Lunge variation (stretch the front of your hips and warm up the shoulders) - come back to all fours and bring your right foot to the inside of your right hand, hinge forward (pad the back knee if you need to by folding your mat or placing a cushion under it). Breathe in come up, breathe out, interlace your fingers behind your back, breathe in lift your chest, take your arms up and back. Breathe out to return to start position.  



Extended Child 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 before back bend.  Stay here for a few breaths.  



Now you are ready to begin your back bends.

If you are enjoying my videos and blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please note however this is not a condition of enjoying my blogs.

To make a donation please see-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/support-this-blog_44.html

Namaste,







Friday, 16 June 2017

Why salute the sun?






We have mentioned before that 'hatha' means sun/moon.  The sun represents the warm, active masculine energy and the moon the cool, intuitive feminine energy.  Hatha yoga seeks to bring about a balance between the two energies which whether you are male or female, you have.  

The Hindus have revered the sun for thousands of years and it's not surprising.  All life is dependent on the sun. Plants use water, which they take in through their roots and carbon-dioxide from the air and using the sun's energy convert these to food in a process called photosynthesis.  Even if you are not vegan, you eat animals that in turn eat plants so ultimately all life depends on the sun.  It is no wonder then that this source of life was revered by the ancients.  Ancient yogis also believed that we are a microcosm of the universe so that for instance your blood might represent rivers etc.  There is some science to back the idea of the body being a microcosm of the universe - we are made up of the same fundamental particles as the universe.  Ancient yogis believed that the outer sun is reflected in us at the heart.  

Surya namaskar, sun salutations, may have originated 2500 years ago to greet the dawn although this is a subject of debate. 'Surya' means sun and 'namaskar' comes from 'namas' meaning to bow down to or adore.  Sun salutations as we know them certainly may be a more modern invention.

Sun salutations have many benefits. They are good to use as a warm up because they stretch all the muscles and lubricate the joints.  They boost circulation and open up the chest to expand the lungs.  This allows more oxygen to enter the body and be delivered to the muscles and brain (when we move into forward fold or downward facing dog) and so sun salutations are energizing. 

Boosting circulation also has benefits for the skin and hair as more nutrients are delivered to them. Forward folds and back bends are calming for the nervous system (they activate the 'rest and digest' part of the nervous system, that is the parasympathetic nervous system) reducing stress which is of benefit to the immune system and the endocrine system. 

Stretching and compressing the abdomen stimulates digestion.  The dynamic nature of sun salutations also 'lights' the digestive fire, agni and helps maintain heart health (after all the heart is a muscle). Sun salutations may also aid weight loss.   

Interestingly there are 12 names for the sun in Indian astrology and there are twelve positions in the basic sun salutations.  For step by step sun salutations A and B please see 'Yoga Pose Gallery'.

Next week we will look at yoga's connection to the moon.

If you are enjoying my videos and blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please note however this is not a condition of enjoying my blogs.
To make a donation please see-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/support-this-blog_44.html

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Qualities cultivated by yoga - loving kindness

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Qualities cultivated by yoga - loving kindness'-on my YouTube Channel.


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

In Buddhism loving kindness is one of the four Brahmaviharas or 'divine abodes' along with compassion, joy and equanimity which we will cultivate in another video. Loving kindness requires an open heart and is not always easy. If however, we recognise that each of us has the divine light within us, it becomes easier to extend loving kindness to even people who are not kind to us.  When someone is less than kind to you there is probably an underlying fear, worry, or anxiety that you are unaware of. Thinking in these terms, your heart softens towards that person.  

Every day provides us with opportunities to perform small acts of loving kindness to family, friends and strangers. These do not only benefit the recipient but you will find that they increase your own happiness also.  

Our yoga practice is one of heart openers including Puppy pose which is often called 'melting heart' pose - allowing our hearts to melt is often what we need to do to in order to cultivate loving kindness.  

If you would like to practice metta, loving kindness meditation on my You Tube Channel the link is 'Loving Kindness Meditation'.  On the video above however is a meditation on loving kindness based on my own experience.  

If you are enjoying my videos and blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please see-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/support-this-blog_44.html

Namaste,




Sunday, 11 June 2017

This week on 40plusandalliswell


In our little village near York it feels like summer has temporarily left us - it's pouring down and cool. Not to worry, this comforting mushroom and white bean stew will cheer any wet weather day!
Recipe on my 'sister' blog- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/meatless-monday-mushroom-and-white-bean.html

Organic garden update - building bean frames and harvesting the winter onions. 
See my 'sister' blog for instructions for building a bean frame of your own! 
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/organic-garden-update-building-bean.html

On my 'sister' blog we look at some natural help for osteoarthritis- diet, exercise and supplements- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/natural-help-for-osteoarthritis.html

If you are enjoying my blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please see- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page.html

How yoga helps PREVENT injury


There is much talk about how yoga can lead to injury but very little about how yoga can PREVENT injury.  Over the last few weeks we have looked at how to protect yourself from yoga injuries.  Below are just some of the ways yoga can help protect you from injury both on and off the mat. 

Yoga helps increase awareness of our bodies so that we become aware of any imbalances. Once we are aware of these imbalances, we can address them through yoga.  

If you engage in sports, these may tighten muscles which can eventually lead to injury.  Yoga can stretch the muscles tightened by other activities.  Also yoga improves focus and concentration which may help prevent injury in contact sports such as karate.

Yoga creates a balance between strength and flexibility which is necessary to remain injury-free.

More specifically:-

Yoga helps improve balance helping to prevent those slips and falls that can lead to injury. This is especially important as we age because balance tends not to be as good in over 65s and injury can be serious, for instance hip fractures.  

Yoga helps with core stability and strengthens the core. This is important to prevent injury to the lower back because a strong core is the basis of everything we do in our daily lives. Similarly yoga stretches and strengthens the hamstrings which can help prevent lower back issues.

Yoga stretches and strengthens the muscles that support the joints preventing misalignment that can lead to osteoarthritis and joint damage.


If you are enjoying my videos and blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please see-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/support-this-blog_44.html

Namaste,


Friday, 9 June 2017

Beginners' guide to the vayus


You may have heard yogis speak of prana, the life force energy, that pervades all living things and the universe. This energy moves in the body in 5 ways known as the vayus which translates as 'winds'.  Optimal wellbeing is created by controlling and cultivating these energies which we can do through our posture work and breathing practices.

The five vayus are:-

Prana vayu is located between the throat and the diaphragm with the heart at its centre. Its direction of movement is from the throat to the navel and from the navel to the throat. It is the energy that 'receives' into the body - not only food, drink and air but sensory perceptions.  The element associated with prana vayu is air.  The asana practice to cultivate prana vayu is one of chest openers that is backbends, lateral stretches and twists. Breathing practices also help cultivate prana vayu. For a video to cultivate prana vayu please see Prana vayu on my You Tube Channel. 

Apana vayu is located in the pelvis, lower abdomen, legs and feet.  Its direction of movement is down and out.  It is associated with the earth element.  It is the energy of digestion and elimination not only of urine and stools and carbondioxide but also menstrual fluid (even a baby!), thoughts and emotions that are not serving you. The asana practice to cultivate apana vayu are hip openers, hamstring stretches and poses that compress the abdomen such as core strengtheners and forward bends. Kapalabhati breathing is a good breathing practice for the elimination of stale air from the lungs.  Lion breath also would cultivate apana vayu.  Please see Apana vayu on my You Tube Channel. 

Samana vayu is the energy of digestion and assimilation of food, the breath and of ideas. It is located in the abdomen, below prana vayu but above apana vayu and is associated with the element fire (the digestive fire, agni is necessary for good digestion).  The asana practice to cultivate samana is one of twists, core strengtheners and abdominal compressors. Please see Samana vayu on my You Tube Channel.

Udana vayu is located from the throat to the head and associated with the element ether, it is concerned with the more subtle aspects of our being.  It is the energy that allows you to express your truth and grow spiritually.  The asana practice to cultivate udana vayu is one of inversions and poses that stimulate the throat area such as Shoulder Bridge and Fish pose.
Lion breath would also be good to include.  Please see Udana vayu on my You Tube Channel.

Vyana vayu is the energy that pervades the whole body and is an outward moving energy from the core to the periphery.  Its energy runs through 72000 nadis and is to do with the circulation of blood and lymph and the passage of nervous impulses.  It controls muscle movements and the movement of ideas.  The element associated with vyana vayu is water. The type of asana practice to cultivate vyana vayu is one of strong standing poses and standing balances.  Alternate nostril breathing would be a good breath practice to include. Please see Vyana vayu on my You Tube Channel.

If you are enjoying my videos and blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please see-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/support-this-blog_44.html

Namaste,


Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Qualities cultivated by yoga - empowerment

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Qualities cultivated by yoga - empowerment'-on my YouTube Channel.



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

Empowerment is not about being aggressive but about being in touch with your true self and acting in accordance with that.  It often takes courage to be present to who you truly are and not let your opinion of yourself be shaped by others or your inner critic. Trying to match up to media images of how we should be is equally a recipe for unhappiness.  The perfect images they portray are just impossible to match up to.  Empowerment comes from knowing that you are enough just as you are.  Yes, we all make mistakes but it is through those mistakes that we grow.  

Our video this week includes poses for the solar plexus, your power centre.  The warrior poses, of course are included as representing power and Goddess squat representing feminine power.

The meditation is focused on the solar plexus which is associated with the colour yellow.  

If you are enjoying my videos and blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please see-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/support-this-blog_44.html


Namaste,


Sunday, 4 June 2017

This week on 40plusandalliswell


The weather might not be up to much - it's drizzling here in Yorkshire - but who cares when there are these spicy lentil and chickpea burgers to enjoy.
Have a great Bank Holiday!
Recipe on my blog - http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/meatless-monday-spicy-lentil-and.html

If you suffer from migraines this blog post may help you find some natural help-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/natural-help-for-migraines.html

On my 'sister' blog is the 40plusandalliswell lowdown on alternative milks- 
http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/the-40plusandalliswell-guide-to-milk.html

If you are enjoying my blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please see- http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page.html

Avoiding yoga injuries - protecting your shoulders in Chaturanga Dandasana


The shoulder joint is the most unstable joint in the body  - it is a shallow ball and socket joint and because of this the muscles that support the joint must be strong but on the other hand this strength must be combined with flexibility.  In our daily lives we have a tendency to be forward reaching (think of working at a computer, preparing food, driving etc) which tightens the chest muscles and weakens the shoulder muscles.  

The glenhumeral joint is where the arm bone (humerous) fits into the ball and socket joint and is held in place by group of four muscles known as the rotator cuffs.  Some yoga poses such as Chaturanga Dandasana, Plank and Forearm Plank need care in practice if these muscles are not to be injured.  

Before you even attempt full Chaturanga Dandasana you need to practice poses that open the chest otherwise that shoulder muscles will take up the slack - practice poses such as Sphinx, Cobra, Bow etc.  You also need to be strong in the core so that it is your core that gives you support as you lower - practice poses such as Boat, Warrior 3 and Chair pose-please see 'Yoga Pose Gallery'.

Shoulder flexibility is also key.  Try the following shoulder stretches using a belt - 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.



Before you begin to practice Chaturanga Dandasana try some preparatory exercises:-  
Sit back on your heels and stretch your arms forward wrists flexed so that the fingers point up.  Breathe out and bend your elbows back tucking them into your waist.  Breathe in to extend your arms.  Repeat several times.



Now adding some strengthening to the action.  Stand an arms length away from a wall and place your hands flat on the wall. Breathe out bend your elbows back keeping them tucked in as before.  Breathe in to push back to your start position.  Repeat several times.  
Once you are comfortable with the action and have built up some strength you can try a modified version of Chaturanga Dandasana which you can also use in vinyassas.  Come onto all fours and take your knees back an inch or two.  Breathe out to lower bending your elbows back and into your waist as before.  



For full Chaturanga Dandasana, start in Plank position.  Press your heels back and have your hands directly under your shoulders.  Breathe out and engage your core, roll forward onto the balls of your feet then lower keeping your body in a straight line and your elbows tucked in as they bend.  Do not let your hips dip or your bottom lift as you lower.  Do not let your shoulders drop and keep them away from your ears.  Keep your chest open. Lower smoothly, do not do a belly flop!!



Remember Chaturanga Dandasana is an advanced pose and it is hard so until you are sure you are ready it is best to modify as above by lowering your knees to the mat from Plank. 

Please also see 'Avoiding yoga injuries' and 'Avoiding yoga injuries - Protecting your lower back in twists'.

If you are enjoying my videos and blog posts please would you consider a small donation? Please see-http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/p/support-this-blog_44.html

Stay safe




Friday, 2 June 2017

Beginners' guide to the chakras


Chakra translates as 'wheel' and is a spinning vortex of energy.  There are seven of them in the body and they align with the spine.  They are connected to our physical, physiological, emotional and spiritual wellbeing and may become unbalanced.  The chakras are:-

Root Chakra (muladhara) is located in the perineum. When in balance you feel secure in your relationships, and comfortable with yourself. When out of balance you may feel 'stuck' in your relationships and circumstances, anxious or depressed, exhausted and ungrounded.  Hamstring stretches and grounding poses help bring this chakra into balance.  For a video to balance the root chakra please see 'Cultivate stability' on my You Tube Channel 

Sacral Chakra (svadhisthana) is located above the pubic bone but below the navel.When in balance you are creative, enjoy fun and have an ability to adapt to changing circumstances. When out of balance you may have lower back pain, urinary infections, reproductive problems, emotional issues, poor relationships, lack creativity and fun in your life. Hip openers help bring this chakra into balance. For a video to balance the root chakra please see 'Cultivate creativity' on my You Tube Channel  

Navel Chakra (manipura)  is located in the area from the navel to the breast bone. When in balance you are confident, have clarity of mind and have good digestion. Out of balance you may be indecisive, fearful, have anger issues, have low self-esteem and digestive issues. Twists and poses that work the core help bring this chakra into balance. Also Kapalabhati Breathing technique and abdominal breathing. For a video to balance the navel chakra please see 'Navel chakra balancing to increase confidence' on my You Tube Channel. 

Heart Chakra (anahata) is the chakra that is the link between the physical chakras and the more spiritual chakras.  Located in the heart space, when in balance we are compassionate, loving, accepting of others and joyful. Physical signs that this chakra is blocked include blood pressure problems, heart or lung issues or poor circulation. Other signs of a blocked heart chakra include feeling unworthy, feeling fearful, relationship issues, dwelling on past hurts, or self-loathing. Chest opening poses help bring this chakra into balance. For a video to balance the heart chakra please see 'Heart chakra - opening up to loving kindness' on my You Tube Channel. 

Throat Chakra (vishuddha) is located in the area of the throat.  When in balance you are able to communicate clearly and are not afraid to speak your truth.  You are able to say no when you need to. If out of balance, you may be critical of others, afraid to express your needs, have throat issues or thyroid problems.  Neck releases and inversions help bring this chakra into balance. Also Lion Breath and Ujjayi breathing. For a video to balance the throat chakra please see'Express your truth through yoga' on my You Tube Channel.

Third Eye Chakra (anja) is located between the eyebrows.  When in balance we are intuitive, able to listen to our inner guidance. Out of balance you may feel stressed, disorientated, have headaches, have memory or learning issues. Poses that exert gentle pressure on the third eye can help balance this chakra such as Child's Pose or where the thumbs connect with the third eye in Eagle Pose. Humming bee breath is also stimulating for the third eye. Please see 'Enhance your intuition'  on my You Tube Channel.

Crown Chakra (sahaswara) is located at the crown of the head. It's name means thousand petal lotus and when in balance you feel a strong connection to something higher than yourself.  Out of balance you may be depressed, lack purpose and feel disconnected from the divine and others. Meditation helps balance this chakra. Please see 'Connect with your higher self-Crown chakra'  on my You Tube Channel.

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Namaste.