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Yoga for the lower back

“Constant and clear attentiveness to the tail will shift the stagnant matter around it, bringing back its original freedom.”

Sandra Sabatini; Whole Body Breathing

 

When I invite you to practice yoga with me, I am asking you to explore shapes, movements and pauses that can provide you with openings and softening, structure and support.

 

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Yoga for the shoulders

“Go where it feels best, where your energy flows best. Exercise your ability to sense this.”

 

Erich Schiffmann

 

Yoga for the shoulders – a short yoga practice

 

When I invite you to practice yoga with me, I’m inviting you to explore shapes, movements and pauses that can provide you with openings and softenings, structure and support.

 

Learn about yourself and the in-built mechanisms you have in place to connect to your breath, movement and your ability to slow-down. This is where the real learning happens.

 

Know what it is you need for your shoulders, and then for your whole body as you re-integrate what you discover for yourself during the practice.

 

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Yoga for the hips

“Perfection is having the greatest range possible of comfort.”

 

Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen

 

Yoga for the hips – a short yoga practice

 

When I invite you to practice yoga with me, I’m inviting you to explore shapes, movements and pauses that are as Bonnie so simply puts it within the “greatest range possible of comfort” to yourself. So when you take this mini series of practices with me, please do honour yourselves fully and listen to your unique experience of the practice.

 

Learn about yourself and the in-built mechanisms you have in place to connect to your breath, movement and your ability to slow-down. This is where the real learning happens.

 

Know what it is you need for your hips, and then for your whole body as you re-integrate what you discover for yourself during the practice.

 

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Yoga for the ankles and knees

“It’s more than just a shape, it’s how your breathing in that shape…What is your intention whilst you’re in that shape? What is the quality of presence whilst you’re in this shape…?”

 

Theo Wildcroft in conversation with Jivana He-man Episode 32 Accessible Yoga Podcast

 

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Yoga for the feet

“Carry your body, but please do not let your body carry you!

 

We must walk well, as animals do!

 

Lift one foot and move it forward, allowing the heel to make initial contact with the ground. Feel the weight of gravity in that foot. Let it spread towards your toes. Your other leg should remain open and extended at the back of the knee. When you move the second foot forward, transfer the weight of gravity from your first foot to your second. 

This way of walking will help you re-establish order…”

 

Vanda Scaravelli on walking; Awakening the SpineREAD MORE

3 frequently asked ‘Yoga for Beginners’ questions

Where to begin?

 

If you are new to Yoga it’s natural that you will have some questions? More often than not we are recommended by friends or peers to practice yoga with a certain teacher, have been recommended to take up yoga by a GP to help with certain conditions such as back pain, anxiety or breathlessness and sometimes we may stumble across a local advert for a class near to where we live and want to find out more. I have questions for you, but you will also likely have some for your practitioner which is why I’ve decided to home in on some of the most frequently asked one’s in this article.

 

There are only 3, so I hope this is enough to start with? If not and you find yourself asking more questions along the way, do send your questions over to me, and if I can’t answer them for you, I will point you in the right direction so you can do a little further research for yourselves. After-all yoga is a path of self-inquiry, self-learning and so start with some questions before you begin to ensure this is something you are wishing to explore further for yourself.

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Mindful Monday Meditation practice; 5 minutes

It’s a new year, and with a new year comes possibility, potential.

 

Although it’s easy for us to get carried away. For us to feel a sudden surge of newness and run before we can walk. Taking it slowly and mindfully provides us with a more sustainable approach to our new intentions or goals.

 

My aim here is to offer you a short meditation practice which will take about 5 minutes and provide you with the headspace to think a little more clearly about which steps you may wish to take next on your goal setting journey.

 

I often feel clearer and more focussed even after 5 minutes of paying attention to my breathing.READ MORE

Pause for Winter Well-being; a winter solstice practice

Pause for Winter Well-being

 

Pause for winter well-being has been the theme for my winter yoga class schedule this season. It’s impossible to ignore the change in seasons and the shift nature makes at this time of year towards a state of hibernation, bringing with it a sense of closure for the year that has passed. The leaves let go from the trees and are washed away with the winter rains. The frost is icy and refreshing on the ground and reminds us of the cleansing properties coolness can offer. There is a freshness in the air and the scent can be full of alpines and spices as we move into the festive season.

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Yoga for inner calm; a 25 minute practice

that path is you
that is why it will never tire of waiting
whether it is covered with red dust,
autumn leaves,
or icy snow,
come back to the path.
You will be like the tree of life
your leaves, trunk, branches,
and the blossoms of your soul
will be fresh and beautiful,
once you enter the practice of Earth Touching

 

Thich Nhat Hanh

 

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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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