This is a variation of the Double Headstand pose, otherwise known as Sirsasana.
31 July 2009
30 July 2009
29 July 2009
Seated half Spinal Twist unbound (Ardha Matsyendrasana), originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk.
This pose is the Seated half Spinal Twist unbound, which is sometimes called the Ardha Matsyendrasana.
28 July 2009
Seated half Spinal Twist bound (Ardha Matsyendrasana), originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk.
This is a Seated half Spinal Twist bound pose, which is often referred to as the Ardha Matsyendrasana.
27 July 2009
What is the PinkPower Walk?
The PinkPower Walk came to exist after a I and a group of five other women applied to take part in another breast cancer fundraising event, only to be not given a place. Far from discouraging us, this disappointment actually inspired us to set about creating our own event and with the cooperation and participation of friends and family, we were able to gather together 38 participants for the first walk, raising approximately £39,000…
The team consists of six friends: Anne, Cathy, Christine, Hester, Rhiannon and myself. Two of the original team members have since relocated; Libby, who has returned to Canada but continues to make an annual visit to London in order to participate, and Kate, who now lives in the north of England but who is hoping to set up a northern PPW event. It may seem like a cliché, but it is surprising what can be achieved when a group of women get together around a kitchen table.
It is a close-knit team; we have laughed and cried together and probably discussed most topics under the sun while organising the annual walk. I think that what really draws everyone together is the fact that all who participate are volunteers, giving up their time to come and support such a worthwhile cause.
During the walk's six-year history, we have raised more than £600,000 for the two charities. We have been to the breast cancer research centres in London to see how and where this money has been spent and it is comforting to know that all of the participants and their sponsors are playing a part in finding a cure for this horrible disease. In short, I am very proud to be a part of this event. Roll on 2010!
26 July 2009
This is variation of the Tripod downward facing dog pose, also known as Adho Mukha svanasana.
25 July 2009
24 July 2009
23 July 2009
It would appear that the Credit Crunch is really start to hit where it hurts most... one's pockets! It becomes even more daunting when your bank starts sending you Hindu deities, Lakshimi (money goddess) to be precise, as a means of solving our financial worries.
I cannot help but ask myself what they will think of next: free fortune cookies when you open a saver's account; stockbroking with Mystic Meg; telephone banking with Lady Luck; free money trees for online bankers... but my personal favourite (a surefire success) are Googlemaps or GPS systems with directions to the end of a rainbow, and a free toy leprechaun for your car thrown in for short measure!
What is yoga?
Yoga is an ancient practice and can be traced back more than 5000 years to India. The word yoga means “to yoke”; a union of mind, body and spirit, making it a spiritual tradition. Yoga aims to purify the mind and body, and the Eight Limb Path practiced in some yoga traditions offers ethical principals to follow. By following this path, it is said one can transcend the ego and awaken the spirtual energy hidden within, revealing our highest capabilities.
The physical practice of yoga poses (asanas) is what many people in the West are attracted to initially. The physical effects (toning, lengthening and strengthening of the body) and the feelings of well-being brought about by practising yoga is what can often be the start of a yogic journey… A journey within.
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a much newer practice in comparison to yoga. Joesph Pilates created this system in the early 20th century in order to assist his recovery from injury and poor health. He used his knowledge of the physical body to create a system based very much on the core (abdominal and back muscles), incorporating breathing techniques while performing exercises. Controlled repetitive actions are performed to tone and strengthen the body. Posture and alignment are improved and a feeling of well-being and bodily awareness is created.
There is a big cross over in terms of the physical practice of these two disciplines. Many of the poses performed in pilates come directly from yoga. The core strength used in Pilates is also present in yoga. The ancient yoga practice of Moola Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha (root lock and upward flying lock) esentially strengthen and lift the pelvic and abdominal area, toning the perineum and the transverse abdominals.
Should I practice both?
As mentioned above, there are a lot of similarities between yoga and pilates. It is now quite common to find classes using a fusion of the two, therefore – in some ways – allowing you the best of both worlds. Not all yoga teachers will teach core strength (Moola Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha) in their classes . Students of BKS Iyengar do not mention these words, but do activate abdominal muscles while practising yoga. Concentrating purely on this area in pilates can be of real benefit to your yoga.
I think you can combine the two disciplines. Yoga - unlike pilates - has its foundation in a (non-religious) spiritual practice, which ultimately could determine the path one is drawn to. Those looking for spiritual enlightenment will be attracted to the study of yoga and its ancient traditions; whereas those looking to strengthen and tone the body whilst using breathing techniques will be drawn to Pilates... The choice is, as they say, yours!
Cherie Lathey (yoga mama) - yoga teacher and advanced personal trainer
And sink not the depths of your knowledge with staff or or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.
Say not “ I have found the truth”
But rather “ I have found the soul walking along my path”
For my soul walks along all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.
22 July 2009
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that
encloses your understanding. Much of your pain
Is self- chosen. It is the bitter potion by which
The physician within you heals your sick self.
Khalil Gibran - The Prophet
21 July 2009
Secondly, If you develop knee, back, ankle, hip or shin pain, it is advisable to look into your style of running early on, rather than to continue running with pain, as is sometimes suggested. Most runners pronate or supinate in varying degrees, and this can often be rectified by the use of appropriate training shoes and/or orthotics.
Some of the common injuries associated with running are:
- Runner's knee
- Shin splints
- Achilles tendonopathy
- Iliotibial band syndrome (ITB)
- Lower back pain
- Hamstring injuries
The breathing patterns of runners can sometimes affect the upper limbs. The upper back (thoracic spine) can become tight and shoulders may experience restricted movement.
Yoga poses help to bring balance to the body. Often, when in standing poses, you are asked to lift the inner arches of the feet and push into the outside edge of the foot. This strengthens both the foot and the ankle, thus engaging the inner thigh (adductor muscle). Students are encouraged to feel all four corners of the foot (something that runners do not generally do). By working on alignment, yoga poses can help to alleviate muscle imbalances.
Also, poses can be modified with props to accommodate injuries, thus allowing you to continue practising yoga while your injuries heal. Muscles are lengthened and strengthened in a yoga practice, and joints have an increased range of motion, therefore decreasing the likelihood of further injuries.
Poses that bring balance and stability to the knees, ankles and stretch the upper back and shoulders are:
- Virabhadrasana I and II (Warrior one and two)
- Vrksasana (Tree pose)
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog)
- Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining hand to foot pose)
- Sukhasana (Easy seated pose)
- Utthita Balasana (Extended child’s pose)
- Virasana (Hero Pose)
- Trianga mukhaikpada paschimottanasana (One-legged folded forward bend)
- Bharadvajasana (Sage twist)
- Jatara Parivartanasana (Reclining twist)
As someone who has run a marathon, half marathons and many 5km fun runs, being a yoga teacher and using these poses has enabled me to continue running relatively pain free.
20 July 2009
Ashta=Eight Anga=Limb Yoga=Union (The Eight Limbs of Yoga)David has been practising yoga since he was 13 years old and has made a life-time study of the Ashtanga series. The book looks at both the primary and intermediate series, and also offers some short forms of the practice, which are particularly useful for when time is restricted. I love the way David has put variations for all the poses. He offers at least three different options for each pose, thus making the Ashtanga series available to all.
Having studied yoga with David back in the early 90's, I don’t think this book reflects his sense of humour, which has to be experienced by meeting the man in person. The book does, however, reflect his amazing wisdom of the Ashtanga Series as taught to him by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.
I use this book as my yoga bible and take it with me wherever I go. I also use it as a reference book when I need to look for any technical adjustments. I believe the poses shown in the book are very accurate and guide the student through a safe yoga practice.
Although books can be extremely useful to all yoga students, it is always a good idea to seek the guidance of a qualified teacher, before you progress to Mysore style self-practice.
19 July 2009
It is a very informative yoga book, with lots of great photos to guide you into positions. I would not recommend it to beginners, as I think many of the poses in the book are better suited to advanced yoga students. I have given this book to a number of my students, who travel a lot, as the pocket size format is ideal for them.
While we are not looking for perfect poses, I think the photographs in this book demonstrate very good alignment and technique, and introduced me to a few poses I had not seen before.
This book does not adhere to anyone style of yoga, but certainly comes under the wide Hatha yoga umbrella.
18 July 2009
17 July 2009
16 July 2009
A pregnancy yoga practice can help address some of these changes in a positive way. Women who practice yoga during pregnancy are able to be really present in their bodies and connect with their unborn child. Yoga has a calming effect on the mother, which is, in turn, transmitted to the baby.
Breathing techniques learnt in prenatal yoga can be used at anytime during pregnancy and many women find them very useful when giving birth. Focusing on the breath can have a profound effect; by learning to control breathing a women can feel empowered and more in control of her thoughts and her body.
Pregnancy yoga differs from general yoga classes, in that many of the classical poses are adapted to accommodate changes in the body. Twists are open, poses are fluid and nurturing for the mum-to-be, creating space in the body and helping to alleviate some of the common ailments often associated with pregnancy such as backache, heartburn, swollen limbs etc.
By practising yoga, the body is strengthened and toned; and many women find that it takes them less time to regain their shape and fitness after giving birth. On top of this, spending time in a pregnancy yoga class with other women can be an emotionally bonding experience and many friendships are formed at this time.
Q. When can I start prenatal yoga
A. During the first trimester, less is best, as the body is adapting to the changes in hormones and your baby is fast developing. Breathing techniques are encouraged and rest is very important at this stage. Fatigue can sometimes be overwhelming and allowing yourself to rest can be challenging in itself. For all these reasons, many yoga teachers and the British Wheel of Yoga recommend starting yoga after the sixteenth week of pregnancy.
Q. Do I need to have practiced yoga before?
A. It is not necessary to have any prior knowledge or experience with yoga before joining a prenatal yoga class.
Q. can I practice yoga with SPD or groin pain?
A. You can practice yoga with these conditions and there are some poses that are beneficial to them. However, always consult your teacher and inform them before you attend class and they will give you appropriate poses to practice.
Q. Can I practice yoga with back pain?
A. Yes, you can practice yoga with back pain provided it is not acute. Many poses are very effective in helping ease back pain. Always consult your yoga teacher before class.
Q. When should I stop prenatal yoga?
A. Many women continue to practice yoga up until shortly before their babies are born.
Q. What should I wear ?
A. Loose, comfortable clothing is required.
When you stop identifying with your thoughts, fluctuations of mind, then there is yoga,identify with self, which is Samahdi, happiness, bliss and ecstasy.
15 July 2009
14 July 2009
This pose is called the Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, more commonly known as the Upward-Facing Dog pose.
13 July 2009
Lokah samasta sukhino bhavantu
May all beings everywhere be happy and free and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom to all.
This pose is called the Prasarita Padottanasana, otherwise known as the Wide-Legged Forward Bend.
It is reported that one in three of us suffer from some form of addiction. Addictions break up families, destroy communities and can take on many forms: alcohol addiction, drug addiction, eating disorders, gambling addiction, sex addiction, smoking addiction, to mention but a few.
Addictions are habits that have spiralled out of control. The use of the chosen substance becomes a necessity, as the brain and the body’s chemistry changes and develops a physical and/or mental craving. Quite often the person suffering from the addiction is completely unaware that there is a problem and, even when it is pointed out to them, they will find it very difficult to acknowledge the situation is causing any problems, which is known as “denial”.
Addiction is a symptom and can be treated. By uncovering the underlying causes and taking action, one can move from the darkness of addiction back into the light of recovery. All aspects – be they mental, physical or spiritual - need to be addressed. Twelve step programmes of recovery are being used globally to help people recover from addiction.
Many people with addiction problems find it very difficult to be present and will commonly “act out” or use their substance of choice in order to change the way they feel. They may have low self-esteem and body image issues and will be looking outside of themselves to fix this situation.
The use of yoga to help break addiction patterns is growing. Body centred treatments such as yoga, acupuncture and massage; along with traditional therapy are on the increase and are being used in many treatment centres.
Yoga cultivates bodily awareness in a kind, nurturing way. It allows students to start connecting with the body and breath and learn to sit and look within. Compassion for oneself arises and a new ability to deal with stressful situations - that would have you reaching outside of yourself - start to manifest, positive change. New coping strategies and changing patterns start to emerge, bringing about change both on and off the mat.
A gentle physical yoga practice will bring steadiness to the mind and help to detoxify the body. Many of the poses have a positive effect on the areas of the body that are most often affected by abuse. Internally, organs are gently massaged and the heart and lungs can be used more efficiently. The practice of deep breathing (pranayama) fills every cell in the body with rich oxygenated blood. Poses like the downward facing dog bring about a new perspective, looking at the world from a different angle. Light back bends bring about an opening in the chest and solar plexus area, encouraging the elimination of stored hurts (both real and perceived).
Here are some poses (asanas) that are useful in recovery:
- Paschimottanasana - seated forward bend
- Balasana - child's pose
- Downward facing dog - or extended child’s pose.
- Camel pose - back bend
- Apanasana - knees to chest or wind producing pose
- Seated or lying twists.
- Viparita karani - shoulder stand variation (supported)
- Savasana - corpse pose
“As the mind, so the man; bondage or liberation are in your own mind. If you feel bound, you are bound. If you feel liberated you are liberated.”
The yoga sutras of Patanjali.
Look within, do not look without.
12 July 2009
11 July 2009
Achieving goals by themselves will never make us happy in the long term; it's who we become, as we overcome the obstacles necessary to achieve our goals, that can give us the deepest and most long-lasting sense of fulfilment.
10 July 2009
Initially, most people in the West come to yoga for the poses (asana). However, there is also a great deal of media exposure about celebrities who practice yoga on a regular basis. Stars such as Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sting and many more are known to practice some form of yoga, and, given their popularity, people may have come to consider them as examples to follow.
Once on the yogic journey many students start to realise that, apart from toning their bodies, some other changes have started to happen. They feel calmer and have more clarity, feel less stressed and more energised. By practising breathing techniques (pranayama), you can have more control over your mind and body; all this while still living in the city.
08 July 2009
07 July 2009
06 July 2009
05 July 2009
Nowhere has the creator designed any gem other than women. For, this gem gives delight to men, when it is heard of, seen, touched or even remembered; for its sake are done meritorious deeds, and wealth amassed; and from that alone do men derive worldly pleasures and offspring. Such women are indeed the Goddesses of fortune living in mortal abodes. Hence they ought to be honoured always with respect and wealth.
Vaharamida, a poet and astrologer from 2000 years ago
04 July 2009
03 July 2009
How can yoga help?
The shortening of muscles and lack of adequate strength is a common cause of tennis-related injuries. This is especially relevant to people with sedentary jobs who may not be accustomed to the rigours of strenuous exercise.
The regular practice of yoga can help strengthen and mobilise joints such as the shoulders, hips and ankles. Many poses, particularly those focusing on balance, help stabilise the ankle and knee joints; whereas, hip-opening poses improve the range of motion in the hip joint. These poses, combined with abdominal strength (uddiyana bandha) and controlled twists, allow the body to move safely in the various directions needed in order to play tennis.
Yoga is the perfect partner for any tennis player looking to stay injury-free. It has positive effects on coordination, balance, flexibility, strength and also allows you to gain a greater awareness of your body and your capabilities; all of this while maintaining a calm, positive approach to life and the game. It is, therefore, no surprise that so many top sportsmen and women are turning to yoga to assist them in their chosen sport.
02 July 2009
01 July 2009
The author has managed to bring a very fresh approach to yoga-based, eastern chakra work; while, at the same time, ensuring that it is highly readable and provides great insight into how we (in the West) tick. Anyone looking to discover more about themselves – be it physically, mentally or spiritually - will gain a lot from reading this book..
I will leave you with a quote from John Friend, founder of Anusara yoga, regarding the book:
“Eastern Body, Western Mind is the most well organised, readable description of
the deep order of manifestation of supreme consciousness within the human
body/mind ever written”.