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Showing posts from April, 2010

Yoga book review: Anatomy of Hatha Yoga

This yoga manual is a fantastic reference book for both yoga teachers and students.

The author - H. David Coulter - has a ph.D in anatomy and has been a long-standing yoga practitioner, and has trained and studied with a number of yoga Swamis.

I think this book is really insightful and clearly links the relationship between the practice of yoga and the human anatomy.

It is full of information; including the mechanics of breathing techniques, Asana, Mudra and Bandha from both a Western and yogic perspective. I have not found another book that crosses into both areas in quite the same way as this one does.

My husband who does not practice yoga, but does have an MSc in Sports Medicine also thought it was a great comprehensive reference book.

Anatomy of Hatha Yoga: A Manual for Students, Teachers and Practitioners by H. David Coulter

Art and textile design

I thought I would share a couple of textile designs produced by my daughter, who is in the first year of a textiles degree at Central St Martins.

These two silkscreen pieces are designed by using images from photographs taken when we were on holiday in India. I am not an art student, so will not try and discuss the process of silkscreen printing, but I do understand that it is quite a tricky process; as well as very time consuming.

If you look closely you can see the fishes in one of the designs and, in the other, my daughter has drawn in the pylons that she photographed in Goa. I think she has captured a great likeness of this clothes seller and a real feel for India.

The man who features in the prints is seen below with his friends. I think he would be delighted to see himself as a muse. Who knows he may appear on a t-shirt in the future! If we return to India in the winter we will definitely take him one of the prints.

Buy cheap crap

On my last trip to India I heard one of the worst sales’ pitches ever. The beautiful young girl (seen in the photo) was selling sarongs on the beach and approached me by saying “do you want to buy some of my cheap crap?”. I laughed for 10 minutes.

The Indian people have a great sense of humour. Despite the sweltering heat and earning very little, the young girls always have time for a chat (once you have purchased some “cheap crap”) and have dazzling smiles that are so infectious.

I found it fascinating hearing about their lives; how they travel to Goa (quite often on their own) from far-flung villages. Some of the girls are as young as 14 and were amazed that my daughter was not having an arranged marriage, and that she could in fact choose her boyfriend.

Before I forget, another funny line for me came from another beach seller: “those hippies, bunch of lazy bastards!”.

Benefits of spinal twisting yoga poses

Twisting yoga poses have many benefits to both mind and body, which include:
Massaging the internal organsDetoxifying the bodyImproving digestionIncreasing the function of the liver, spleen and pancreasToning the oblique muscles (waist muscles)Bringing symmetry and balance The lateral rotation of the spine increases blood flow to the spinal nerve ending, flushing the spine with fresh oxygenated blood. The central energy channel of susumna nadi is situated inside the spinal column, therefore twisting poses encourage the upward ascent of energy (prana) . The Anahata chakra is stimulated in thoracic twists. This chakra represents unconditional love and is the seat of the heart... It is a gateway to higher chakras.

Twisting poses balance the body. In our every day lives, we tend not to twist in a balanced way and will habitually favour one side. Spinal twists help to bring symmetry to the body, also calming the nervous system

Quote of the day...

Birth and death are not two different states, but they are different aspects of the same state. There is as little reason to deplore the one as there is to be pleased over the other.


I have just finished reading Guernica - a historical novel by David Boling, set in the Basque town of Gernika (Guernica in Spanish). It is a fascinating first novel by Boling that encapsulates the horror and sadness of war. The interesting thread for me was the inclusion of the artist Pablo Picasso.

The Picasso painting – which is on display at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid – shown below is the artists’ impression of the bombing of the town. After reading the violent account of the bombing and taking a closer inspection of the painting, the horror is plain to see.

Guernica by Pablo Picasso

Below is an excerpt from the Times, which – according to the book - Picasso is said to have read and which inspired him to paint Guernica, published in The Times on April 28th 1937:

The Tragedy of Guernica
Town Destroyed in Air Attack
Eye-Witness Account
Bilbao, April 27th 1937

Guernica, the most ancient town of the Basques and the centre of their cultural tradition, was completely destroyed yesterday a…

Running: the problem with blisters

Over the years I have taken part in a number of marathon events. Although I am not prone to blisters (losing toe nails is my problem), a number of my friends are. Below you will find some useful information on hydration and blister prevention/ treatment, written by my husband Clive Lathey MSc Sports Medicine.

Dehydration impairs performance and health.Fluid loss during exercise dependent on exercise duration, intensity, temperature and humidity. Body size and fitness levels also affect loss.Pale to very pale yellow urine is an indication of good hydration. Dark yellow urine indicates advanced dehydration.Always start exercise well hydrated. Continue drinking at regular intervals- ideally every 15mins. The aim is to match intake of fluid with the amount of fluid lost.Exercise- more intense or lasting longer than 1 hour- solutions sodium + carbohydrate (Sports drinks), can speed up water absorption and provide additional fuel.

Always dry your feet; particular…

The London Marathon

The London Marathon takes place this Sunday (25th April). The forecast is for a pretty warm day, so hopefully the organizers will set up showers en-route.

I took part in this amazingly challenging event in 1999 (so a few years ago). I had been challenged by a male friend at an alcohol-fuelled dinner party to take part in the Marathon… Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Training was the hardest part; running during the winter - come rain or shine - took a lot of discipline. In comparison, the actual event was a much more enjoyable experience. That is if a 26-mile run can ever be considered enjoyable.

I ran on behalf of United Response (a local disability charity) and whenever my energies waned during training sessions, I would think about the charity. The day itself is a bit of a blur. The crowd was absolutely amazing; as were my family, who jumped on the Tube and LDR to follow me around the event. It was suggested that I wore a t-shirt with my name on it, which – as it trans…

Henry Moore Exhibition at the Tate Britain

I visited the Henry Moore Exhibition at the Tate Britain (Millbank, London) the day before yesterday. It is a stunning display of works by one of the Twentieth Century’s greatest sculptors. Moore sculpts in a number of different mediums, including: plaster, bronze, elmwood, stone and alabaster.

The exhibition includes etchings and paintings (again using different mediums). The images from Wartime London are among my favourite pieces. Apparently, Moore was trapped in a London Tube station during The Blitz and the etchings depicting scenes from this time. Although Moore is better known as a sculptor these etchings are masterpieces in their own right.

Quote of the day...

For all people who have found themselves in the position of being in jail and trying to transform society, forgiveness is natural because you have no time to be retaliative.
Nelson Mandela

Quote of the day...

Death has such great importance in this society that it affects everything. I learned from my guru that death is not the enemy, i see it as another moment. Yet it’s the end of an incarnation and means going on to other incarnations.
Ram Dass

Video: Kali

A chant to the goddess Kali. Kali is often described as the Goddess of Destruction or the Angry Goddess. My daughter's name sounds the same as Kali and, when I took her to a class at Jivamukti yoga studio, she was surprised to be included in the chant. A lovely, uplifting chant!

Quote of the day...

You did so in the full understanding that the American dream is a dream that all the world's people deserve; that a new world is in the making in which humanity should be united in its diversity of race, gender, language and religion.
Nelson Mandela

Marc Bolan

Marc Bolan was a name from my childhood. He was one of the first glam rock musicians and had many hit records including I Love to Boogie, Ride a White Swan, Telegram Sam, to name but a few… He was a pretty boy and wore very outrageous clothes for the 1970's. I remember him appearing on Top of the Pops in a gorgeous white feather jacket and mascara. He was very cool. All these years later, I still have some T. Rex tunes on my iPod (as do my teenagers).

Marc died in a car accident in Barnes in 1977 at the young age of 29. Living in south west London I drive past the shrine which has been created in his memory on a regular basis. Bolan still has many adoring fans throughout the world who go to his shrine in Barnes and place mementos or fresh flowers. Here are a few photos that I took recently. RIP

Visit to the Breakthrough Research Unit at King's College London

Breakthrough Breast Cancer Scientists, originally uploaded by In December a couple of my fellow PinkPower Walk team members and I were invited to meet Dr Andrew Tutt and a number of other scientists at Breakthrough's research unit at Kings College London.

We were there to see how they money raised from the 2009 PinkPower Walk was being spent.

Dr Tutt and his team (seen in the photo above) are an amazing group of individuals, who have dedicated their lives to Breast cancer research. Their passion and drive is amazing; I came away feeling humbled and moved by their professionalism and their expertise.

The Easter weekend

Penny slot machines, originally uploaded by What to do on a cold and blustery Bank Holiday weekend by the sea in the UK? Head for the penny arcade... Not that I condone gambling, but it's the best £5.00 spent on a wet afternooon. Came away with three plastic watches... What a bargain!

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana, originally uploaded by Pose of the day. Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana.
Hip opening.