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Seasonal Yoga – An Autumnal themed practice

 

As the seasons change, so to do we! Through leaf fall to the sprouting of seeds there is an abundance of metaphors upon which we can draw to inspire our practice. The Earth offers us its true sustenance as we engage, observe and learn about ourselves through taste, smell, touch and light. Slowly we are encouraged to find our own rhythm’s, as the cycle of the seasons invite us to pause and to observe, perhaps for the first time what it feels to be alive.READ MORE

Ujjāyī breath, an ancient breathing technique

Ujjāyī Breathing – The victorious breath

“…take a few smooth breaths in ujjāyī, and the mind feels calmer; the effect is very direct. New students can be surprised when they first discover ujjāyī. Taking long, smooth, regulated breaths they often immediately experience a lighter, more spacious feeling.” Ranju Roy and Dave Charlton; Embodying the Yoga Sūtra.

 

Ujjāyī breathing is one of the defining characteristics of yoga, and within my approach as a practitioner and teacher. It is an ancient breathing practice known as the ‘Victorious’ breath. In the West it has adopted names such as the ‘Ocean sounding breath’ or the ‘whispering breath’ because of it’s wave-like, sighing sound and soothing quality.

 

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Breath awareness – a step by step guide to body, breath and mind connection

Breathing

“Breathing is the essence of yoga.” Vanda Scaravelli

 

Cultivating breath awareness is key for developing stillness and peace of mind. It’s simple really, all we need to do is pay attention to the experience of breathing in, and pay attention to the experience of breathing out. And yet for most of us this is the hardest part; being still and attentive to the breath in each given moment. Perhaps the thing we struggle with most in life is stillness? Is it easier for us to be constantly moving, in body and in our thoughts? The answer is most likely yes, because at our stillest moments we are usually watching television, reading a book or engaging in some kind of activity or interaction, or we are asleep.

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Salute to the Sun – A revitalising yoga practice

Over the past few months we have seen and experienced vast change. During the months of Spring came turbulence, our rhythms shifting drastically, some for the good, some for the worse. This pause that has been thrust upon us has meant that we have literally had to stop and change course. Change the way we interact with others, change the way we work and change our approach to life as a whole.READ MORE

Home Practice idea – Switch off your screens!

I received an email from one of my teachers Sheila Baker last week. I usually work with Sheila once or twice a year depending on where she is teaching and refer to my notes from the sessions I have taken with her time and time again. She leaves a lasting impression and has had a profound impact upon my approach as a yoga practitioner and teacher over the years.

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A short lying sequence to stretch your back, hips and shoulders.

 

Bringing awareness along your spine with this gentle back, hip and shoulder stretch

 

When I wake up in the morning the first thing I like to do is stretch along the length of my body from my toes to my fingertips. Lengthening my way into my day mindfully. Then I follow this with some gentle forward folding, or I hug myself in closely to round and stretch along the muscles of my back. This, for me is a pleasant way to stretch, supported by the ground and moving myself into and out of a ball like shape in order to release tensions along the back, hips, neck and shoulders.

 

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A short practice to ease the feet and ankles

 

Bringing awareness to your feet and ankles with a short mobility practice

 

Have you ever considered how many bones, joints or muscles are involved within the structure of each foot in order for us to be able to move freely in the rest of our bodies? It’s quite incredible really. These small pads at the bottom of our bodies hold our weight evenly and provide us with the possibility of balance and co-ordination whilst helping us to maintain structure and stability throughout. I used to be an athlete and trained on the track 3 sometimes 4 times a week including racing. This really did take its toll on my feet. I had a stress fracture on one foot and I had to protect my arches, heels and front of the feet with support and padding. These days I still run but I am much kinder to my feet and toes and try to incorporate foot care within my daily practice as well as offering them a gentle massage too. Therefore this weeks practice will focus around finding more ease and freedom in our feet with a short mobility and activation sequence.

 

This is the fourth in a series of practices designed to get you moving mindfully in the mornings through slow stretching and to release common areas of tension that we may experience in our day to day.  If you’ve missed any of the previous practices you can find them by going to the following links:

Week 1: Neck and shoulder mobility

Week 2: A gentle Standing forward bend 

Week 3: Kneeling lunge to gently open the hips

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Kneeling lunge – A 5 minute hip opening practice

 

A kneeling lunge to gently open the hips

 

This is the third stretching sequence in a series of practices which are designed to get you moving mindfully in the mornings and to release common areas of tension that we may experience in our day to day. This week we’ll look at a kneeling lunge as a means to opening the hips gently. If you’ve missed any of the previous practices you can find them by going to the following links:

Week 1: Neck and shoulder mobility

Week 2: A gentle Standing forward bend 

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A short, mindful practice to help mobilise the neck and shoulders

 

A five minute, mindful practice to help mobilise the neck and shoulders

 

Last week I wrote an article about mindful movement and offered three suggestions around how you may like to approach this with a morning stretch being one of those options. I was hoping to release a series of stretching practices within this piece, however life is such a juggling act at the moment and so we have carved out the time time to edit one 5 minute sequence, which I still hope will be useful to you.

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Three ways to move more mindfully

Much of our life is spent sitting, whether at work, commuting, watching tv, eating food or even being creative. This means our bodies become accustomed to falling into the same movement patterns regularly. Perhaps it’s time we start thinking about encouraging a daily useful movement regime in our lives. This is even more important now that we are faced with a world-wide pandemic as the Corona Virus (COVID19) is bringing each of us to a stand still in some way.

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Three amazing benefits to practising yoga during pregnancy

I’m pregnant! Is it okay for me to practice Yoga?

Yes, yes yes!!

Yoga is one of the most accessible forms of exercise that is recommended to practice during pregnancy. I hate to refer to it as exercise, but often this is how your midwife or GP will talk about it. So let’s move away from that word and offer a few suggestions as to why you may wish to consider practising yoga during pregnancy.

The good news is, so long as you have the all clear from your midwife or consultant, anyone can practise yoga whilst pregnant from about 14 weeks regardless of whether you have been to a yoga class before or not.

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Yoga, sound baths and healing

“Sound forms one of the deepest links between our mind and body. Our world is our mind and our mind is nothing but sound. To change our world, is to change our inner and outer sounds. “ Nitya Mohan

 

It seems as though sound baths or gong baths are the new way to unwind and destress from the demands of daily life. Think along the lines of ancient vibrational instruments such as gongs, crystal bowls and drums, or something equally as soothing like the cello and even voice.

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Review: Bamboo clothing

I’ve really loved collaborating with Bamboo clothing over the last 12 months. Dave and I tried and tested their outdoor clothing as we took ourselves off into the early hours of the morning to the Mount Snowdon summit on a breath-taking sunrise hike and between us we’ve ran, hiked some more and I’ve practiced and taught yoga in my classes and workshops throughout the seasons.

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Everyone loves a challenge

Everyone loves a challenge, from the little things to the proverbial inconceivable mountain to climb, there’s a real sense of satisfaction once you have completed something.

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