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A fully seated chair yoga practice

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

Arthur Ashe

 

When I approach a yoga class as a teacher I invite people to connect to their breath and notice what their starting point it “Start where you are.” Then I will ask people to notice how they feel, to connect to their body in a mindful, creative way “Use what you have.” And then I will offer ideas around what may be possible from there…there is no expectation to do what I ask, rather I ask “Do what you can.” Quotations by Arthur Ashe.

 

In this article I offer a short insight into chair yoga and what I love about taking support in our practice with this versatile prop. My hope is, should you wish to take it along with me, that you are able to notice more fully the above prompts in an accessible, comfortable and enjoyable way.

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Yoga for the lower back

 

“Our posture can be a reflection of our current state of mind as well as our past experiences.”

Jivana Heyman

 

Yoga for the lower back – a short yoga practice

 

When I invite people to practice yoga with me, it is an invitation to explore shapes, movements and pauses that can provide a sense of opening and softening, structure and support.

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Yoga to Inspire your Inner Spring

I am continually evolving.

“Each day is filled with lessons and new experiences. Each day we have the opportunity to connect with those lessons and experiences in ways that will further our growth.”

 

Manifest; Kelley Carboni-Woods

 

This practice was inspired by the coming of Spring and an enriching conversation with Kezra of Conversations Worth Having whereby we delved deep into yoga, movement, stillness and our capacity to work with nature as medicine, and as a tool towards reconnecting us with our ability to be and think creatively.

 

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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

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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