There Is Nothing Permanent Except Change

Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher said that change is our one reality in nature, and of course, to say that we live in uncertain times feels like stating the obvious right now. Our world of mind, feeling and emotion are in flux too, and of course our external circumstances will never be the same. But this has always been so.
If we think about hatha yoga practice, cultivating presence in the moment, yoga poses teach us how to work with change, by staying mindful. When we enter a pose, we begin to notice the physical edge of sensation. We consider whether to push past using effort or pull away from it, but actually, we choose to rest right on that edge of the sensation. We hold the pose, we breathe and stay present and in response, the body relaxes naturally and at its own pace.
The same thing happens in our minds. The mind begins to scroll through limiting beliefs. Perhaps they sound something like “this hurts” or “I can’t do this”. But we let the thoughts go and we stay in pose without believing them. As we become aware of our minds and let them relax, as we stay aware of the moment, of our breath, and of sensations, purification just happens.
This is how transformation can happen; through presence in the moment, awareness and acceptance of what is happening, the body-mind flexes itself and opens up to more possibility with grace.
Here are a few guiding words to help us approach these times (and yoga) in what can feel like desperate times:
Everything passes It may help to remember that all good things will come to an end: there will be cloudy days and that these days might be just that. Loss like that can make us wonder “will this ever end?” but this too shall pass.
Show up! Now is time to put your procrastination projects to one side; roll out your mat. Come As You Are.
Turn off your phone Put it on flight mode, or silent, in another room. Certainly reducing the amount of time we spend on the news can help us all.
Lower your expectations Let us try to let go of the idea that there must be a certain outcome at the end of your practice; even if we wish to relax and ground ourselves, we might not always achieve this; leave room for spontaneity, surprise and grace.
Let go of perfectionism It will help if we all recognise that it is not possible to have our lives 100% sorted, 100% of the time. The same is also true for your yoga practice!
Be kind to what you need right now and trust your body You might want to start your practice by lying down and doing a body scan. Rest a hand on your belly. Notice what you need. How can you be kind to yourself? Follow your breath; all the way in, and all the way out. Trust that this Body-Mind-Spirit entity (that is you) knows what it needs to come back to its centre.
Sending you love and light in tough times:)

Classes now online!

Dear Yogi friends,
I hope you are remaining calm and centred amidst the current anxieties.
To help us all remain connected, I have launched the live streaming of classes. Please check the timetable here aquariusyoga.co.uk/classes/ <aquariusyoga.co.uk/classes/>
These online classes can be booked and paid for via the website on a drop in basis £10 per class – class card holders can not book via the website unfortunately and should contact me directly to book their place. Once booked via the website or through me, I will email you the link to zoom.
For yogis who are experiencing personal or financial hardship, I would like to offer the classes on a complimentary basis. Please don’t hesitate to make yourself known to me by contacting me directly sima@aquariusyoga.co.uk <mailto:sima@aquariusyoga.co.uk> – this is a time like no other time when we need to practice love, compassion and self care.
Please note – If I don’t have a minimum of 2 yogis booked 2 hours before the class, I will email you to say class won’t go ahead. Maximum number in each class will be 4
Please bear with me during this time as teaching remotely is new to me and there may be issues with interaction, I.e. choosing the right angle for your device so that I can see you – ensuring there’s little noise in the room where you practice so that you can hear me clearly.
I have also added 2 new evening meditation classes for a deep relaxation. Like computers, our brains can fry out. People suffer from anxiety, depression and all kinds of mental conditions during a crisis, because we have too much information and don’t know how to handle it. Meditation helps us to turn inward, to watch and listen within. That five to ten minutes when you just sit in silence with nothing else going on in your head makes such a difference. The new classes will start with a gentle warm up to prepare you for the stillness of meditation.
I look forward to ( virtually) seeing you on your mats.
Namaste & love

Suspending in-person classes

Dear Yogi friends,
I am writing to you with some heart breaking news. I have decided to suspend all public classes from tomorrow Thursday 19 March.

As an alternative I will be live web streaming my classes for those of you who would like to continue practicing. I am in the early stages of gauging interest, so please let me know if this is something you would like to participate in.

My priority must always be the safety and wellbeing of our community – and I feel strongly that we must do everything we can to help contain the spread of the virus.

I am writing this email with sadness but also hope and optimism for the future.

We will return to mat as soon as it is safe to do so.

Much Love & Namaste

Yoga Hygiene

Dear yogi/nis,

I hope this email finds you well and healthy during this unsettling time.

I have decided to add the following extra steps to our yoga hygiene for your safety and peace of mind.

1) Please ensure there’s at least 2 meters between you and your fellow yogi.

2) If you prefer not to pay by cash, please contact me directly before class and we can organise bank transfer.

3) upon arrival to the studio, instead of signing the register, please make yourself known to me and I will register for you.

As I’m sure you are all aware hand sanitiser is a rare commodity at the moment so please feel free to bring your own.

Warmest Namaste:-)

Hygiene On The Mat

Dear yogis,

In the light of the recent events surrounding Coronavirus, please help me to maintain a clean and healthy space for us to practice in by paying attention to these simple steps;

1) If you have flu like symptoms or if you have returned from any of the specific areas detailed on the government website since February 19th, please do not come to class instead take the time to rest and look after yourself.

2) wash your hands in the kitchen or toilet when you arrive. limited hand sanitiser is available but bring your own if you have any.

3) please dispose of any used tissues in the bins.

4) Bring your mat, props, blanket where possible. Anti-bacterial spray and towels are provided for yogis who don’t have mats.

5) For your safety and peace of mind I’m taking a hands-off approach to manual assistance.

Warmest Namaste:)

Chakras

Dear yogi/nis,

I wanted to take the time to explain a bit more about chakras this month.

There are seven major chakras, and they pinpoint places in the body where energy joins together along the spinal column:
1. Root – (Muladhara) – base of the spine
2. Sacral (Svadhisthana) – lower abdomen
3. Solar plexus (Manipura) – upper abdomen
4. Heart (Anahata) – centre of the chest
5. Throat (Vishuddha) – throat area
6. Third eye (Ajna) – forehead, between the eyebrows
7. Crown (Sahasrara) – the very top of the head

I’ll try to take time to talk about each of the chakras throughout the year; this month the focus is on the root chakra which is situated at the base of the spine.

In Sanskrit it is called Muladhara; Mula means root and adhara means support or base. The root chakra is at the very base of the spine, at the pelvic floor and perineum, in the centre point of our body.

Muladhara’s ‘element’ is Earth. This root chakra is linked to the earth element inside us all; all that is sound and solid. Our physical structure. It is connected to your family and ancestral roots, your parents, your upbringing and your background. It reflects how we interact with the physical world.
Within the physical body, the Muladhara chakra relates to our lower back, our legs, feet and our processes of elimination. Within the emotional body, the Muladhara chakra is linked to whether we are feeling secure and stable in the world, in our own skin.
Within our mental body it influences how we take care of ourselves, whether we belong amongst our community. Once you’ve cleared this energy point, you’ll start to grow in confidence. You’ll begin to accept and love yourself exactly the way you are. And then you’ll accept that everything is as it is – and that it is perfect, at that moment. So first you accept yourself, and then you accept the way life is, and you don’t fight it: instead you go with it, flow with it.

All our habits and addictions come from this area too, and you need to do quite aggressive and physical positions to clear it, working on the legs because you need to be grounded. Some of the poses you are all familiar with that are associated with stimulating this energy point are; warrior poses, Bridge pose, standing forward fold, sun salutation A,B & C, yogic squat, child pose, seated poses and relaxation.

OM Shanti:)

Intentions

Dear yogis,

A new year is upon us, a new decade too and with it a time we often take to reflect on our intentions for the year. In our Amersham yoga sessions I often ask you to choose your intention for each practice and I’d like to write a few words about what I mean by this.

The latin root of the word intention means both stretching and purpose so in that way we can think of it as a focus on something which stretches us beyond the place that we’re already at. An intention is different from a goal, it is a value which journeys with us throughout the session and our day. Examples might be ‘kindness’ or ‘adaptation’, and to apply it, we would aim to let that value flow through our thoughts and actions. In setting an intention we also detach ourselves from the outcome; instead we do our best and let go of the rest. Simply an awareness of our intention can be enough to elicit the change we wish for.

If you are struggling with the concept, some people find it easier to take two to three breaths thinking about each of the following values or intentions:

Gratitude: no matter how hard life is, there is always some small thing we can be grateful for, it can help our practice to start with an awareness of what this is.

Forgiveness: None of us are perfect, we make mistakes, sometimes we hurt people unintentionally, sometimes we do it intentionally and then regret it. Taking two to three breaths to ask for forgiveness from those we may have negatively impacted or sending forgiveness to those who have wronged us can help us let go of negative emotions.

Guidance: We are social beings and we thrive when we work with others. By taking two to three breaths to think about the areas of our life in which we need further help or assistance, we can open our lives up to opportunity, greater success and a humble attitude where we allow others in.

Term begins on Monday 06 January.

In Gratitude:)

Peace & Love from Sima

Dear yogi friends,

No doubt some of you will be on the road over the festive season so I thought I might write a few words on how we can continue our yoga practice while we’re away. It can be a great way to meet new people or to learn more yoga. You could even practice in amazing and unexpected places, but you definitely don’t have to quit your practice, or haul around your yoga gear when you’re moving around.

Just one pair of yoga trousers will do
If you have a pair of decent, comfortable trousers this will save you valuable packing space. They’re often lightweight and easy to pack, don’t crumple and there’s no need for fancy names, just find something that fits and in which you will be comfy.

Get creative with your props
There is no need for yoga straps, cushions or blocks. If you use a strap for stretches, you can use a scarf or a long sock. Instead of a block you can try a walking boot, sole side down, which will provide a steady surface for your hand. A heavy book can help with stability, a rolled-up blanket or duvet can be a meditation cushion and a pillow can be used for restorative poses.

Leave the Mat at Home
It’s not great for everyone to practice without a surface between you and the floor, but if you’re confident enough in your stability then you can go for it. A yoga mat provides a surface to help you grip, and sometimes even mats fail so don’t worry too much if you haven’t got yours with you. For a buffer between you and the floor try a large towel or two. If you’re somewhere warm for the period, there’s nothing better than grass or sand!

Use your portable yoga class – your memory!
If you have come to classes in Amersham with me then you will already know the moves and poses, so simply try some of those out. Don’t worry too much if you forget a flow or do it in the wrong order, this is a great chance to tune into your body and how it feels rather than following directions.

Ask other people
If you want to practice with other yogis then let the people around you know; they might want to join you too, or know someone who attends a class nearby.
Whatever you choose to do over the period, please take care of yourself as you travel and in the often inclement weather.

Wishing you all a wonderful finish to 2019 and look forward to seeing you in the New Year. Term starts on Monday 06 January.

With much love and best wishes to you all.

Sima:)

Diversity and inclusivity

Dear yogi friends,

The world is a wonderful place and is becoming more diverse all the time; it is changing quickly and this is fascinating to see. Political unrest across the world sometimes, however, reflects hostilities that arise, in part, because of this diversity.

Yoga teaches us that we are one; the energy and light that is within all of us comes from the same source. This yogic approach can be a helpful reminder when we come across newness, difference and the unknown in our lives.

Often we do that naturally by travelling to diverse places to experience different cultures through food, music, and social events. We can also do that by including and encouraging everyone to come to the yoga mat.

Our yoga practice is, in part, a reflection of ourselves. On our mat, we can be our authentic selves. We might be one of the people whose lives have been changed from stepping onto a mat and finding our true heart. Yoga can make us healthier, both physically and emotionally. It can make us more aware of the environment and people around us and more compassionate and accepting of others.

Unfortunately however, not everyone feels comfortable doing yoga. The media gives us images of people doing yoga who are thin, flexible, female, and, for the most part white. We don’t often see photos of different-sized people, different-coloured people, people with disabilities and transgendered people doing yoga. So it is hard to feel included in the wonderful world of yoga when you don’t see yourself in the images.

I am proud of the warm and friendly community that exists between the yogis who come to Aquarius yoga but I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the ways in which we can all continue to ensure that everyone in the wider community is welcomed.

It is important that we all offer a safe place on the mat for people of colour, for those with disabilities, for all ages, for a diverse range of sexualities and for transgendered people. We all experience challenges in our lives in some way, it is important that the yoga mat becomes an equalizer. Here are some ways that we can make yoga accessible for all.

We can be welcoming to those who are just beginning classes, no matter how different they might be to us. A simple smile, maybe introducing yourself can make all the difference at your first class.

Even though it’s difficult, we can resist mental comparison in class; there are always people bendier than each of us, just as there are those who are less flexible. There are people larger and smaller than us too. We are each on our own journey and our experience is the only guide.

When we choose to take part in partner work, we can all try to be inclusive in our choice of partner. We can be the change we want to see in the world.

We can choose to use positive inclusive language, by being careful how we speak. We can be careful to stay away from language that labels or perpetuates stereotypes.

I will always try to offer poses that can be easily modified and adapted according to ability and will always provide props and equipment to allow you to modify safely. If coming to classes are difficult for you, or access is difficult, I can come to your home for private sessions.

Lastly, I would like to think that diversity is embraced in our classes, you are all such lovely individuals, but if any of you experience any challenges as part of being in one of our classes, please do let me know and I will try to address your concerns.

We all have the power to change, to inspire others, to develop, and to grow a truly inclusive community. It is important to embrace change in all areas of your world. A great place to invite inclusion is the yoga mat.

Term ends on Thursday 19 Dec – New term begins on Monday 06 Jan 2020

Warmest Namaste:)))

Full Moon Kundalini sound spa

Dear yogis

I would like to tell you about a new offering that I’m excited to bring to you in Market hall on December 12th – Full Moon Kundalini sound spa by candle light, but before I do that I wanted to explain about why the moon is so significant within yoga practice.

Ha-Tha

“Hatha yoga” is what we mean when we refer to yoga as exercise. The word ‘hatha’ means willful, or forceful. Translated from Sanskrit, ha means “sun” and tha means “moon.”
Hatha refers to the balance of masculine and feminine facets within each of us. The masculine aspect of us is the sun; both hot and active. The feminine is the moon; both cool and receptive. Traditional yoga exercises are meant to create balance, and unite the opposite facets of each of us; we develop a balance of strength and flexibility, effort and surrender with each pose.

The Full Moon

The moon exerts a gravitational pull on the Earth which creates an energetic experience much like the breath cycle.
When the moon waxes or wanes, the mind is influenced. We may not be able to see this influence in the Earth because it is solid, but it can be seen in the ocean which is liquid.

The moon influences the earth, but its influence is only seen when we observe the tides of the ocean. We too are instruments in the hands of Mother Nature. We can be unconsciously dragged from place to place, moment to moment, or we can walk consciously.
According to Ayurveda, the full moon is a healing force. It’s linked with kapha energy, making it a time of fullness, cooling, calm, nurture and creation. These qualities often show up in our mind and body during this time. This makes the full moon a natural time for slowing down, chilling out, quietly observing the relationships we work within and feeling and expressing thankfulness.

Full moon energy also corresponds to the end of each inhalation when the force of prana is greatest. If you take a deep breath in, hold it, you can feel the prana in your body. This is an upward moving energy which gives us emotion and force, but may not leave us well grounded. During the full moon we tend to be more headstrong.

As we tune into our natural cycles in the universe, we honour the rhythm of the natural world and learn to live in greater harmony with it.
Yoga can help us do this.

If you’d like to take your practice to another level, please do sign up for our additional Amersham Full Moon Gong Bath Kundalini Yoga session on 12th December at 8 pm with The Chiltern Sound Spa, pop me an email to let me know you’d like to come and I’ll collect payment (£18) from you at your next class.

Warmest Namaste:)

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