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Showing posts from July, 2009

Yoga pose of the day

Headstand variation double (Sirsasana), originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk. This is a variation of the Double Headstand pose, otherwise known as Sirsasana.

Yoga pose of the day

Monkey god pose (Hanumanasana), originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk. This is the Monkey god pose, often referred to as the Hanumanasana.

Yoga pose of the day

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.

Yoga pose of the day

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.

Yoga pose of the day

Sirsasana variation double, originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk. This is a double variation of the double headstand pose, also known as Sirsasana.

The PinkPower Walk

On Sunday 17th of May, the sixth annual PinkPower Walk took place. This year's walk was slightly different from previous years as it was a 16-mile walk (setting out from Richmond Park and finishing in Barnes), whereas in previous editions it was either a marathon or half-marathon event. I am pleased to announce that an amazing £160,000 has been raised from this year's walk, with money raised going to two charities, Breakthrough and the Caron Keating Foundation, both of which raise funds for research into breast cancer.


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…

Yoga pose of the day

Tripod down dog (Adho Mukha svanasana variation), originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk. This is variation of the Tripod downward facing dog pose, also known as Adho Mukha svanasana.

Yoga pose of the day

Lotus position (Padmasana), originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk. This pose is called the Lotus position (Padmasana).

The Credit Crunch: what to do you when you run out of ideas

Was going to give this post the following title: Lakshimi, or how the Royal Bank of Scotland resorts to Hindu deities to overcome the Credit Crunch... but unfortunately it was a tad long.


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!

Yoga pose of the day

Camel Pose variation, originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk. This is a variation of the Camel Pose.

Yoga or Pilates?

Many people often ask me what the difference is between yoga and pilates and if there is point practising one if they already practice the other.

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. Joe…

Poem from Khalil Gibran

Let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure.
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.

Khalil Gibran

Khalil Gibran - The Prophet

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

Yoga pose of the day

Double Downward Facing Dog, originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk. This pose is known as the Double Downward Facing Dog.

Yoga pose of the day

Warrior II variation, originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk. This pose is the Warrior II variation.

Yoga for runners

Yoga can be extremely beneficial to anyone who runs on a regular basis. There are a number of reason why this is the case. Firstly, runners often develop injuries especially when they are training for an event, increase their distance or come to running later in life; which makes finding the correct footwear essential. This is also applicable to practising yoga, as any problems in the feet (fallen arches, high insteps, etc...) will have an effect on the alignment of the body, thus affecting postures.

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 kneeShin splintsAchilles tendonopathyIliotibial band syndrome (ITB)Lower back painHamstri…

Yoga pose of the day

Handstand variation, originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk. This pose is a handstand variation.

Recommended yoga reading

I heartily recommend the book Ashtanga Yoga written by David Swenson, a must-read for anybody interested in this particular style of yoga, which translates into English as follows:
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 b…

Recommended yoga reading

I would highly recommend The Yoga Bible by Christina Brown, published by Godsfields press.

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.

Yoga pose of the day

Headstand Sirsasana A, originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk. This is called the Sirsasana A pose, or as it more commonly known, the headstand.

Yoga pose of the day

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II), originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk. This is the Virabhadrasana II, otherwise known as the Warrior II pose.

Yoga pose of the day

Namasate prayer hands, originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk. Namasate prayer hands

Pose of the day

Bakasana (Crow Pose), originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk. This pose is called the Bakasana, otherwise known as the Crow Pose.

Yoga and pregnancy

Pregnancy is a great personal journey for any woman and is a time of mental and physical change. It can also be a challenging time, as adjustments need to be made as the body starts to change shape.

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…

Quote of the day

Yogash chitta vritti nirodhah
When you stop identifying with your thoughts, fluctuations of mind, then there is yoga,identify with self, which is Samahdi, happiness, bliss and ecstasy.
Pattanjali

Om

Om is the original and most powerful mantra. It is the primal sound of the divine in its essential manifestation. In the beginning was the word and the word was God (Om).

Yoga pose of the day

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog), originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk. This pose is called the Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, more commonly known as the Upward-Facing Dog pose.

Yoga chant

This is a popular Sanskrit chant used in many classes (with a translation into English). As you can see, the aim of the chant is to create peace and harmony in our lives and be inspired to carry out actions that benefit all beings, human and non-human alike.

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.

Yoga pose of the day

Prasarita Padottanasana, originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk. This pose is called the Prasarita Padottanasana, otherwise known as the Standing Forward Bend.

Yoga and addiction recovery

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 st…

Yoga pose of the day

Utthita Trikonasana, originally uploaded by yogamama.co.uk. This pose is called the Utthita Trikonasana, otherwise known as the Extended Triangle.

Yoga quote of the day...

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.
(Anthony Robbin)

Urban yoga

Yoga is a growing form of exercise and grew by 18 per cent last year. As the global recession has taken hold, many people are looking at ways of reducing stress in their lives and are improving their quality of life.

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.

Yoga quote of the day...

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

Yoga and Tennis Injuries

Tennis is a sport that combines strength, endurance and has explosive unpredictable complex patterns. Common injuries that are often associated with recreational tennis are: rotar cuff tendonpathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, tenosynovitis (inflammation of the tendons) and ECRB (tennis elbow); as well as other back and knee injuries.

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 …

Eastern Body, Western Mind

I would highly recommend Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith and is published by Celestial Arts. It is an amazing book focusing on the "chakra system" that should be read by anyone interested in taking up or furthering their knowledge of yoga.

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”.