Totally daft but very watchable video from american hotel ….. go on watch and enjoy!
Just enjoyed a really lovely yoga practice. Got home from work feeling tired and jaded so knew I needed to do something … and yoga always makes me feel good.
So, the mat came out and after a short period of relaxation to calm and focus I worked thru the Dru yoga activation series – a beautiful sequence of movements performed mindfully with conscious breathing and then some gentle asanas followed by Nadi Shodhanna … and now the world seems a much better place! That feeling of being drained has gone and I’m ready to face the world again!
The start of a new year and a time when lots of new students come to yoga. It’s a time I really enjoy as a teacher as you really see the changes in people as they find their way with their yoga.
The first class is very much about letting students get to know me and my style of teaching. I teach a gentle style of yoga, and give lots of attention to breath and alignment …. some people find the class to ‘slow’ for them … they want more of an exercise class …..others say wow …. I’ve found muscles I never knew I had and can feel my body working.
Some find the peace they crave, others find themselves able to switch off for the first time in months, others find being with themselves difficult …. emotions they thought had been buried surface. But yoga can be such a tremendous healer.
I often talk about mindfulness … being in the moment …. practicing with full attention on the feel, the sensation, the very sense of being so alive, yet often so calm. Some find it difficult to ‘give themselves permission’ to just enjoy their yoga …. rather than worrying about what might be or what needs to be done. Others just ‘get it’ and really love the restoration that a class can give.
For me when I practice or teach yoga, that’s when I really feel I’ve found me … it’s like coming home … a profound sense of wellness.
Yoga seems to have become fashionable and there are loads of different ‘names’ for different styles of yoga …. which can be really confusing. So to help you find the yoga class that’s right for you, I’m going to run thru some of them:
Hatha yoga : generally used to describe the classic yoga class – where you’ll relax and centre at the beginning, work thru some postures (asanas), do some breath work (pranayama) and generally finish with some relaxation and possibly meditation. Do look out for teachers using the word Hatha and then adding something else though …. hatha + ashtanga probably just means ashtanga (see below).
Ashtanga yoga : a strong powerful almost athletic style of yoga …. great if you are fit and healthy but less suited to those looking for a gentle relaxing class. Ashtanga, Vinyasa or Power yoga are generally taught at gyms. Vinyasa is the term for the sequence of asanas in Ashtanga yoga. Sun power yoga is also a strong, athletic style.
Kundalini yoga : usually a more spiritual form of yoga class incorporating chanting – but the style may vary significantly from one teacher to another
Iyengar yoga : a style of yoga using precision of alignment with lots of blocks/belts etc to assist
Dru yoga : a gentle form of yoga with soft flowing movement – similar to a Hatha class, but often utilising music
Anusara yoga : a variation of hatha yoga – more or less vigorous according to the teacher
Laughter yoga : in my view a marketing ploy …. you’ll find joy in any yoga class!
Most teachers will allow you to come along and try their class before you enrol for block or term of classes. Read their website, get a feel for the values of the teacher. Find a teacher who teaches to share their love of yoga, and a class that enables you to take what you need today … acknowledging that your needs may change as you move through your yoga journey
As well as being a lover of yoga I’m also a yoga teacher. One of my current students is pregnant so I’ve been reminding myself of all the adaptations.
Today I practiced a pregnancy version of Sun Salutations and what a wonderful discovery it was …. whilst my usual style of practice and teaching is fairly gentle, this lovely flowing, soft sequence had a beautifully meditative sense to it and gave me a wholly different experience of sun salutation. Refreshing, awakening yet also deeply calming. It’s a sequence I can take and work with to extend my own practice and will enjoy sharing with my students.
Always something else to discover in yoga …. something special and meaningful.
Just enjoyed a lovely yoga practice … chose an asana at random by opening a book and building my sequence around the asana on that page ….happened to be Utthita Parsvakonasana – extended side angle pose.
Started with quiet centering, then worked through a warm up phase based on Dru activation sequence … then a range of asanas to build up to my ‘chosen’ asana, and completed with a closing phase before a short meditation.
No matter I’ve done that asana many, many times before … there’s always something new to experience …. today I chose to focus on my breath and really feel the expansion through the extended side. Felt really good.
Always my yoga practice shows me something new …. be mindful and always something new reveals itself.
Sometimes an asana seems more challenging, sometimes it becomes easier …. sometimes your focus is taken with something unexpected ….. which might form the platform for the meditation that time.
New yoga? no, just yoga experienced from a different place …. always wonderful.
As I’ve got older I’ve found my yoga practice has depended less on the physical … I still very much enjoy asana … but also spend more time on pranayama and meditation. I’m not at the point where I find it easy to find the silence …. stilling a chattering mind is always challenging! But it is something I’m spending more time on.
Often I find focusing on the breath and then letting thoughts gradually fade away drops me into silence and stillness. Sometimes starting with a mantra or thought or image works …… sometimes things just fall into place and as soon as I sit on my yoga mat I feel the stillness … but that’s still fairly rare for me.
But when you do find the silence, it is wonderful … a real stillness, so alive yet so peaceful …. as soon as you become aware of course you’ve come back to conscious thought, but however short the ‘space away’ is it’s amazingly powerful.
Doesn’t the world feel a better place when you’ve enjoyed a yoga practice!!
Came home from work feeling washed out, tired and with achey shoulders from being at the computer for too much of the day. Now after a lovely gentle, stretchy but balanced yoga practice I feel so much better … and ready to get on with things again. Shoulders loosened, back and legs stretched, breathing smoothed etc.
A lovely sunny evening and weekend ahead …. looking forward to it already!
Just read this quote and really liked it
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.” ~Wayne Dyer
How true this is ….. doing a ‘boring’ task …. treat it as an opportunity to let your thoughts wander and it’s not so bad. Facing a difficult challenge …. think about the reasons you can succeed or get through it and it’s not so bad.
I find a yoga practice always gives me a different perspective on something that’s been troubling me … has often been my salvation in difficult times. When I need calmness I find it. When I need strength I find it. When I need joy I find it. And hopefully this makes me a bit easier to get along with too!
Have just come back from a lovely yoga ‘holiday’ in Cambridge. In inverted commas as was actually a course … but I enjoyed it so much and had such a lovely time in Cambridge that it felt like a holiday!
That’s the thing about yoga … you ever stop learning … so long as you keep an open mind of course …. yoga just keeps giving you more and more. This course was all about yoga and womens health … a really useful addition to my knowledge.
And Cambridge is beautiful … the calmness of the areas around many of the colleges, the buziness of the shopping areas and the wonderful parks and open spaces … and of course the beautiful river.