Dear Yogi/nis, We are almost mid way through the term. The aim of our yoga practice this term has been to build a strong yet pliable interior core. The challenge in yoga is to bring lightness and lift to the core without tightening or causing unnecessary constriction. One of the primary aims in all my classes is to mindfully build core stability. We do this through both mobilising and stabilisation techniques, paying attention to correct alignment and being fully aware that all movements are initiated in the core.
Mid term break from Wednesday 25 Oct – Monday 06 Nov – Autumn term finishes on Thursday 21 Dec.
Notice to yogis who take their class at Market Square; The hall is being used for an art festival on Monday 23 Oct & Tuesday 24 Oct. I have managed to secure St Mary’s Hall which is a short walk away- opposite the church in Church Street on Tuesday 25 Oct. There will be 2 classes held that evening, 6:30 – 7:45 pm for yogis interested in the therapeutic application of yoga and 8:00 – 9:15 pm for yogis who are drawn to the energetic flow.
Unfortunately I couldn’t find a suitable local venue for the Monday evening Vinyasa on 23 Oct. Please feel free to join the Tuesday 8 pm Vinyasa group at St Mary’s hall. Please click here for directions- www.google.co.uk/maps/place/St+Mary‘s+Parish+Church,+Church+St,+Amersham+HP7+0DBfirstname.lastname@example.org,-0.6165694,14z/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x4876679df3310e39:0x59cf75dfe2e27848
Thank you for half a term of practice with me and offering yourself an honest and authentic expression of the practice you love.
Dear Yogi friends,
Old Amersham Charter Fair parade takes place on Tuesday 19 Sep. Some of you may remember that last year we went ahead with our regular vinyasa class and much to our surprise, It was a good class. This year however, It’s been decided that the 6:30 Hatha Yoga class goes ahead as normal, and the 8 pm Vinyasa class should be cancelled, as we might be overwhelmed by the noise and fun filled atmosphere in full swing by then:) Yogis who take the 8 pm Vinyasa class on Tuesdays are welcome to join the 7:30 Vinyasa class tomorrow evening. Yogis for the 6:30 class are advised to park at Tesco or the Old Town car park, off the broadway Hp7 0HL.
Dear Yogi friends,
With most of the hectic summer behind us and autumn routine beginning, consider nurturing habits that will carry you gracefully through the rest of the year. Speaking of grace, I would like to talk about the principles of asana practice. What is an Asana? Asana translates as “posture.” The word is derived from the sanskrit root “as” which means “To be”, “to stay”, “to sit”, or “to be established in a particular position.” Patanjali’s yoga sutra ( widely regarded as the authoritative text on yoga ) describes an asana as having 2 important qualities: sthira and sukha.! Sthira means steadiness and alertness. Sukha is comfort and ease in a pose. Both qualities should be present to the same degree when practicing any posture.
When we go into a posture or carry out a movement that feels tense, it is difficult to notice anything else besides that tension. Perhaps when we sit in a cross-legged position our only thought is for the pain in our strained ankles. In doing this we are not really in the asana we are striving for — We are obviously not good for this particular position. Rather, we should find ways of modifying the posture to achieve more steadiness, alertness, and overall comfort.
If we want to make this principle of asana practice a reality, we have to accept ourselves just as we are. If we have a stiff back we have to acknowledge this fact. It may be that we are working with an injury or the shape of our body limits our range of motion. It may be that we are very supple but our breath is very short. It is also possible to feel comfortable in an asana while the mind is somewhere completely different. This is not asana either. It is only possible to find the qualities that are essential to asana if we recognise our own uniqueness and learn to accept it.
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), metal is the primary element for autumn and governs our core, the most refined part of ourselves. We often think that the core is somewhere in the middle of our body, right around the abs, but this complex series of muscles extends far beyond that. The core extends to our low back, outer-middle back, running down along the sides of the torso, from the ribs to the upper hips, hamstrings, backs of the thighs, buttocks, muscles that run from below the sternum to the waist and more….. Related organs are stomach, gallbladder, liver, spleen, pancreas and large intestine. The energy of the core is associated with personal power, self esteem and issues dealing with questions such as “who we are in the world”, “what remains constant in a forever changing world?”
Join me this month at aquariusyoga to strengthen this complex series of muscles to create stability for the entire body and replenish our vital energy.
Classes resume on Monday 04 Sep:
Monday – Vinyasa flow 7:30 – 8:45 pm Tuesday- Hatha Yoga ( gentle flow ) 6:30 – 7:45 pm Tuesday- Vinyasa flow 8:00 – 9:15 pm Above classes are held in Market hall, Market Square, Old Amersham
Wednesday- Hatha Yoga ( all levels ) 6:00 – 7:00 pm, Dr Challoner’s girls school, Little Chalfont.
Thursday- Hatha Yoga ( all levels ) 9:30 – 10:45 am, St Mary’s Church Old Amersham
Namaste beautiful yogi/nis,
I hope this finds you well wherever you are at this present moment.
Just a quick reminder that market hall will be taking a rest after the vinyasa class tomorrow evening. All classes will resume from Monday 04 Sep.
In England, summer is a very special time. Its contrast to the coldness of winter can provoke an almost manic state of mind as we try to appreciate everything summer has to offer. It may be hard to continue your yoga practice when all you want to do is be outside, sipping Pimms in the garden, or you feel too hot already to get even more sweaty. Yet summer offers benefits to practicing yoga which we can take advantage of.
A prime example is that we can enjoy the opportunity to practice outside and reconnect with Mother Earth; remember,contact with dirt has not only medicinal benefits, but can also be healing and feeling the energy of the ground through the palms of your hands and soles of your feet can be a truly refreshing experience.
Of course, as we all know, when it is warmer, we are more flexible.When heat penetrates the air, it helps loosen up the body and provides an opportunity to go further into your poses.
In addition, hot yoga enthusiasts also report enjoying the detoxification they get from an intense hour of sweating, or the perception of working harder, so that’s something we can all experience when the weather heats up.
Don’t forget too, that when the temperature soars, it is even more important to keep your mind at ease because a stressed mind overloads the system. This is when yogic meditation and deep breathing can provide deep rest to the mind.
Yoga also helps the body remain hydrated, fluid, and flexible as we age. Science has found that elements called fibroblasts produce molecules which attract and hold water in our tissues. This ability decreases as we age however, so the best approach to counteract this effect is to stimulate the growth of more fibroblasts. We can do this easily because we know that fibroblasts are stimulated through stress (such as squeezing, compressing, and stretching the connective tissues) and this is exactly what yoga does!
So there are many benefits from continuing our yoga practice through the warmer months, but we must be realistic; any physical activity increases body temperature which is why we shouldn’t do excessive asanas when it is very hot. Early in the morning or late in the evening are the best times to do yoga asanas, during the summer.
I hope you continue, throughout the summer to work on your yoga practice and reap the rewards of such a special season.
Notice to yogi/nis who booked a block of lessons before half term; with only 2 weeks of term left, please use any remaining credit by the end of term, Monday 31 July.
For those of you who want to keep up your yoga practice during our summer break; Simon Borg-Olivier from Yoga Synergy is running a few workshops in London In August. Simon is undoubtedly the greatest master of yoga i have had the privilege of being taught by. His PhD in Human Biology and Evolution will help you take your practice to the next level. It is truly an honour to have him as a teacher. Don’t miss it….! yogasynergy.com/
I would like to leave you with a though during our summer break: in yoga, they compare the mind to an elephant. An elephant can destroy an entire village If it’s not trained properly, If it’s out of control, just like an out of control mind can destroy an entire human being’s life and others associated with it. But a trained elephant can literally do the work of a thousand men and women just like a trained mind can benefit the entire planet, all of humanity. The yogis teach us and tell us that the more we align with serving others, the more we give to our planet, to our fellow sisters and brothers, the less suffering there’s going to be and the more joy we are going to feel.
The international day of yoga aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of this ancient practice. Recognising its universal appeal, on 11 Dec 2014, the united nations proclaimed 21 June as the international day of yoga and the theme for 2017 celebration is yoga for health and wellbeing. Let us celebrate this day by bringing the qualities of sadhana to our lives – in other words, using everything as a tool for our wellbeing. Sadhana does not mean any specific action or activity, It is more to do with our attitude every morning when we get out of bed and the way we conduct our body, mind and emotions.
This term we are focussing on opening up the chest and lungs; this area corresponds to the heart chakra. This is the area where our physical and spiritual sides meet. It is the fourth chakra and includes our heart, cardiac plexus, thymus gland, lungs, breasts and governs our lymphatic system. The Sanskrit word for this chakra is Anahata, which means “unstruck” or “unhurt” which conveys the idea that underneath our pain and distress is a place where no hurt exists. For example, when our heart chakra is open, we live with love and compassion, we forgive quickly and are more accepting of others and ourselves.
Yoga chest openers certainly can help attain this as well as reverse any mechanical constriction that can overcomes our bodies during the day. The physical demands of our lives have a way of drawing the chest in on itself. Working at the computer or behind the wheel often rounds our shoulders and causes the upper body to slump. Specifically, our pectoral muscles scrunch up while our upper back muscles become weak. This muscle imbalance can cause chest pain and restrict our range of movement. It can also reduce the amount of oxygen we get to our lungs because it can affect our intercostal muscles and so it can continue, even causing lower back pain.
Chest openers are also particularly good for releasing negative emotions. The more we expand our sternum, rib cage and the rest of our upper body with chest openers, the more blood, oxygen and circulation will invigorate us both mentally and physically. We have started some controlled breathing exercises known as Pranayama. They are one of the best ways to open our chest. When we consciously fill lungs with air and hold the breath at the end of each inhale and exhale, we begin to bring flexibility into our chest cavity. Our blood is oxygenated, it soothes the mind and energises our nervous system.
Yoga has many chest opening exercises such as Bow or Camel, which some people can find hard, but as always, we must choose our own modifications to suit our bodies and minds and so this term I will be focusing on helping you develop the poses and movements which will allow you to gain space in such a wonderfully important chakra.
Term ends on Monday 31 July.
Namaste beautiful Yogi/nis
apologies for getting the dates muddled up…! New term begins tomorrow Monday 05 June – Monday 31 July. Thank you Chris for pointing this out to me!
Monday 05 June Vinyasa Flow 7:30 – 8:45 pm Market Square
Tuesday 06 June Hatha Yoga ( level 1) 6:30 – 7:45 pm Market square
Tuesday 06 June Hatha Yoga ( level 2) 8:00 – 9:15 pm Market Square
Thursday 08 June Hatha Yoga Flow 9:30 – 10:45 am St Mary’s Church
Looking forward to another term of helping to align the inner you with the outer you…!
Just a quick reminder about the class schedule for the coming week;
There will be no classes on Monday 29 May at Market Square and Thursday 01 June at St Mary’s Church.
Normal class schedule on Tuesday 30 May – Hatha Yoga 6:30 – 7:45 pm & Vinyasa flow 8:00 – 9:15 pm Market square.
New term begins on Monday 08 June – Monday 31 July.
I wish you all a good weekend.
In Yoga, we try to tread the contented road between pushing ourselves to build strength or flexibility and gentleness. We might ask ourselves “How do I know whether i’m being kind to myself or just a bit lazy?”. If we are looking for an answer, it might help to think of it this way; that ultimately our bodies love to move and they are built for it. knowing that, it can be surprising when we encounter so much resistance ( both physically and emotionally ) to our efforts to move our bodies.
We know that resistance mostly comes from the way we think about things. The judging mind has a lot to say about what we do in life, particularly concerning anything we do with our body. Of course, some days our bodies tell us to take it easy – We might be fatigued, in pain; but most of the time we resist moving our bodies because we send and receive critical messages in our mind as soon as we begin to consider anything to do with our physical self. Some of these critical voices come from others, the media, but a lot of the time it is from us. Spending so much time listening to this critical voice can be damaging and so it can take time to come back around to tuning in.
We can think about it in a different way; If a child chose not to do something because they were afraid of the criticism they would hear if they tried, what do you think would best help them to overcome that fear? More criticism? Or kindness? It is kindness that we need to listen to.
We also know that, because of our suburban, often sedentary lives, quite often what we need is for our body to move. Understanding this means that kindness is not leaving our yoga practice for tomorrow, it means finding time and space for you to practice now, a space in which the judging mind is welcome but is not ruling. We can accept that we cannot silence the critical voice, but we can at least choose, for a time, to hold it lightly and instead connect with our true voice, the voice of our wisdom self.
The greatest news of all, of course is that the more yoga we practice the more able we become in tuning in to hear the true voice of our body.
We have established that our bodies are amazing machines that are designed to move. Unfortunately our lifestyle and the way we move can often distort our bodies. The body also holds emotions in tense muscles. By opening and releasing muscular tension, old stuck emotions can be shifted, leaving you feeling lighter and more free, emotionally as well as physically.
This term, we have been breaking down the base of the postures, the feet pelvis and how to stabilise through correct placement and technique. Once the base of the posture is established, we can safely start to open the hip flexors using the core muscles without over working the gluteus or lumbar, avoiding any pinchy pain in the lower back. Only when these 2 actions are applied can we safely start to open and strengthen the back muscles which will help us get into the more challenging backbends.
Dates for your diaries: There will be no class next Monday 22 May as i have a training day and no class the following Monday 29 May ( bank holiday ). I apologise for the repeated interruption to the Monday Vinyasa class – due to all the bank holidays and my training day which i couldn’t move unfortunately. This class will run uninterrupted from Monday 05 June – Monday 31 July Please feel free to join the Vinyasa class on Tuesday evening 8:00 – 9:15 pm during those 2 weeks.
I wish you well in your yoga adventures wherever you are in the world right now.
Namaste & love
Dear Yogi friends,
I hope this finds you well. Just a quick notice to yogi/nis who didn’t come to class last Monday: As there is an unusual abundance of bank holiday mondays this term causing a disruption to our regular flow, It’s been decided that the vinyasa class will go ahead as normal on both Monday 01 & 29 May.
Wishing you all a great weekend.