Wednesday, 12 October 2016

KEEP LIE SIMPLE

My yoga practice enhances my life, for me both life and yoga are one of the same thing.
This week my class inspiration is the word SIMPLE. As teachers and students of yoga we advised that our asanas (postures) are both easy and comfortable. But the effort it takes to be comfortable and cultivate ease can in itself be complicated. Our mind create as much tension as injuries, and life experience and physical limitations restrict our  ability to be easy and comfortable. However the word SIMPLE is just that, its simple.
So to help students I looked to up meaning of simple and here we go, I hope you find words  that might help with practice for living and yoga asana.
A simple solution
synonyms:    straightforward, easy, uncomplicated, uninvolved, effortless, painless, manageable, undemanding, unexacting, elementary, child's play, plain sailing, a five-finger exercise, nothing; More
antonyms:    difficult, hard, demanding, complicated, complex
used to emphasize the fundamental and straightforward nature of something.
"the simple truth"
synonyms:    basic, fundamental; More

plain, basic, or uncomplicated in form, nature, or design; without much decoration or ornamentation.
"a simple white blouse"
synonyms:    plain, unadorned, undecorated, unembellished, unornamented, without ornament/ornamentation, unelaborate, unpretentious, unostentatious, unfussy, no-nonsense, basic, modest, unsophistica

Its always worth checking in with the scriptures and for many of us working with the 
Yamas and the Niymas given to us by Patanjali. Laws of life and rules for living as a guide is useful.

The laws life are 5
Non - Violence
Truthfulness
Integrity
Chasity
Non-attachment

The rules for living are 5

Simplicity
Contentment
Purification
Refinement
Surrender to the lord (self)

Yoga sutras chap II vs 40 
Simplicity destroys identification with the body, and brings freedom from contact with other bodies. 

Practice living in the present, don't let the mind be complicated by the excitement of love and opportunity, or negative stress. Keep thought SIMPLE, it takes effort for sure but when we are not on the rollercoaster of the ups and downs and no longer been thrashed about by our tensions and stresses life jus become SIMPLE.

 

I love Autumn - new beginnings

Its fast approaching the end of September and after a long Indian summer it feels as it nature is allowing Autumn to begin her annual party. Autumn is the time when nature goes into absolute celebration mode. She shines and glimmers and offers us a chance to enjoy looking at  life. Totally splendid, as the last days of summer draw out into an evenings chill its time to add another layer.
I love the seasons for this aspect of change. We have to adapt and adjust, we need different clothes and different food. Its a good time to reflect on what summer has given us. Think about the rituals of harvest festivals and the concept of storing what we need for the coming months.
I love autumn the most because it's also about new starts. Kids go back to school and for many of us that term time is embedded deeply into our whole self. All of us remember going back to school. But nature and life only goes forward, I am always keen to stress to my students not to think about going back,be it to work, or when people say after a trauma or illness I just want to get back to being myself. Well our self is always here, always moving forward, changing and improving. Consider where in yourself or in life do you feel new. Ask yourself (and others) whats new? instead of how are you? Its a question that really gets people thinking.
I am now starting my 25th year of teaching yoga and to celebrate this time I asked photographer Sarah-Jane Field to take some photos of me practicing yoga in my favourite wood where I walk everyday on Tooting Common, London SW17
I look back and only see positive progression. I can't say my life has been easy but it has been  enhanced through yoga and all the people that I have met through this practice. I can honestly say what an honour it is to teach people and what a laugh life can be.

Please have a look at www.sarahjanefield.co.uk, her work is stunning.



Thursday, 3 December 2015

Om Shanti peace peace peace

This evenings class was dedicated to peace, it often is because that's what we do as yogis isn't it? But here we are, yet again confronted with conflict in the world and all we want to do is get angry and frustrated and upset. Disappointed by our appointed heads of government seeking war and going against the wishes of people who want peace. Here we are again being sold fear.  I have a saying that I like to use a lot. Do what you always do and you get what you always have. Our yoga practice is all about relieving  tension and stress and moving towards peace and ease. We move between these opposite ends of the spectrum all day and everyday. Fear, anger, frustration, upset and disappointment are obstacles that stand in the way of moving, causing energy to be stagnant and tired and stuck.  Where is the love we ask? In the intro to the penguin version of the Bhagavad  Gita, Christopher Isherwood says love is the treasure found on the battle field. The Gita is a story of battle, Arjuna has to stand up and fight against everything and everyone that he has been taught to believe and  respect. At the beginning of the battle when he faces his enemy with only Krishna as his guide he falls and weeps and says he can not do it. Krishna says he has to, and so the story begins. We have to believe in peace and love in order to fight this battle. We yogis are life warriors going to battle wearing loose and comfortable clothing. As yogis we are taught to practice patience and cultivate ease therefore don't stop now. Don't let anger get in the way, fight with your heart. Feel the love.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

The way of the yogi with help for Elvie – become a higher being


The way of the yogi with help for Elvie – become a higher being



So we all know about our pelvic floor muscles and like it or not we have to look after them. We are taught the exercises, but do we do them? More often than not we take ourselves for granted, that’s health and wellbeing along with much of life until life stops working for us. This can be through either injury, aging, or illness. With respect to the pelvic floor, we tend to take it seriously when pregnant and during the post-natal period or when we begin to suffer from incontinence. But there is another reason to learn about the benefits of strengthening the pelvic floor, one with physiological benefits. How about considering two words self and support, supporting our self.

As a yoga teacher and practitioner I cannot emphasise enough the importance of the correct use and constant holding of the pelvic floor muscles. I was once told “only let these muscles go when you are asleep”. It’s about holding ourselves, again another use of words to consider ‘holding our self’

Any sort of injury or pain will cause an emotionally instability leaving you feeling vulnerable. Injury and pain are both tiring and stressful. We cease to function efficiently, feel drained and often lack the emotional resources to support ourselves.

The Sanskrit word used for the area of the pelvic floor is called Mulha, it means root and we are encouraged to form a lock here and hold this area with awareness and strength. Yoga is an ancient practice and the exercises of lifting and relaxing these muscles are as much about meditation as the actual physical benefits.  The benefits of meditation are widely known and, calming the mind and learning to relax whilst being active is how yoga works. Often this is the hard bit for beginners and with respect to tightening muscles we often tense our mind with the thought process, resulting in holding our breath, overthinking and wondering if we are doing things correctly. When it comes to the pelvic floor we really don’t know if we are doing it correctly which is why Elvie is amazing and will change everything. It’s the exercise of drawing up of the pelvic floor muscles in order to support the abdominals with the desire to support our self. The abdomen is our centre and it is in this centre where we digest food, and often hold tension and stress. It is where we feel a flutter of butterflies when someone catches our fancy. It’s where we have a gut reaction. It also where we menstruate and hold our reproductive organs  and create sexual energy and of course hold a baby. Quite an amazing centre and one we need to look after. Therefore it makes total sense to engage with the pelvic floor in order to support ourselves.

Prevention against injury is an investment in ourselves and the vital importance of good support from correct use of the pelvic floor muscles should not be limited to women who have had children. It’s an investment in oneself for long term health and improved wellbeing. Elvie is an inspired and amazing device which everyone woman should give some attention to. It will enable them to be the inspired and amazing women they should be.



See Elvie.com and please contact me for a discount code. If you are a health professional and would like to be an ambassador for Elvie, please let me recommend you.







 [LA1]en

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

DROP YOUR LOAD, the road to enlightenment.


I am still working with this idea of that some yogis doubt their ability to find enlightenment.

I thought about what enlightenment means and considered my answer to be "feeling lighter".

Therefore all we have to do is let go of the load. And there lies the problem. Many western yoga practices are purely physical and people focus on drinking the green drinks and repeating namaste without any guidance or encouragement to look inside ourselves.

What to do? Easy, stop and watch yourself, every action, every thought, read Patanjali and start with the Yamas and Niyamas. Guides to living well. Remember this on journey it is not about the clothes a that we wear but the actions that we take.

Tension is a heavy weight, we feel it in our body, often it's painful. Tension in our head is like an itch that you can't scratch, creating internal aggravation but it is also a heavy weight that we are carrying.

It's easy to say let it go, but it's a start, breathe and be easy with yourself, practice gratitude for the small things in life, take time to watch the clouds pass by and perhaps when one stops trying so hard to find enlightenment one finds that your are enlightened.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Yoga - who promised enlightenment?

Its a full moon this eve and today whilst reading my top Luna lady, Yasmin Boland @ moonology.com I was shocked to read this statement form her.....

"Lately I've been reading a lot about disappointed yoginis (aka yoga girls) who are shocked to learn that doing their yoga practice, drinking green smoothies and saying "Namaste" a lot didn't bring them the promised enlightenment".

I have to agree with her when she says she is not surprised by this. A yoga practice is something that helps you to be better than you are. Who promised enlightenment?

I have been practicing yoga for over 25 years and am fortunate to have taught  this since my daughter was born on 22 years ago. I spent an initial 8 years in teacher training, learning to be a better teacher and the rest of the time practicing at  being better at being myself through all of life's challenges rather than challenging myself  with a limited diet, a challenging asana practice, and repeating word that have no connection to the people that are around me. I live happily, most of the time and always remind myself that the Buddhists say 80% is perfect.

Practice postures, breathing and meditation, because it's a great thing to do but do notbe attached to this or seek special rewards. Isn't it about realising the difference these practices make us feel, happier, alive, vibrant and most importantly able to help others.

In recent years I have withdrawn from a so called yoga community as I felt little love from those who say namaste rather than hello you look great today or why so sad would you like a coffee and a chat.

Yoga is just a tool towards being better.

So this eve it's a full moon. Take a break today and step out with nature, breath and smile. It's that easy. Give gratitude for our time here, the moon time proves that there is constant change and its up to us to be part of that.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

MY THANKS TO MR IYENGAR - a life of practice.

It's a week  now since Mr Iyengar passed away. I am still paying tribute to him with my students as they return to classes after the summer break. The more I think about him the more I realise that he has been the greatest influence in my life. I didn't take a lesson direct from him but my first teachers were Iyengar ones and his were the books that I studied from. Therefore I would say that his teachings are the reason that for the past 25 years I have been practicing yoga. If not a daily physical class or teaching then in my meditations. Everyday observing my thoughts, what I eat, what I say. Making an effort to be better than I was before. Yoga is a practice, it's a living experience and its something worth doing. It is so simple that it makes us laugh at ourselves for struggling so much when life can be easy. Mine is not a life that has been free from life stresses, quite the contrary. Yoga keeps me steady in an ever challenging existence . Big thanks to  Mr Iyengar and his teachers for their hard work for others.