Blog

 RSS Feed

  1. Of course the image below is of someone in a seated yoga twist but look more closely at the creases in the person's top.

    What you see is not dissimilar to what the body is experiencing behind this garment. Yoga twisting is a bit like wringing out a damp cloth.

    The muscles and soft tissue contort a little to allow for the positioning. The challenging thing for the body is that it presents the diaphragm and other muscles of respiration with a resticted feeling when breathing and more especially when breathing in. This may feel a little uncomfortable but it can provide us with something useful.

    When putting the torso in this contorted position if we pay closer attention to our breathing and breath slowly and evenly it can neutralize the tension but also massage and tone the muscles and tissue in that area to our advantage.

    It doesn't stop there. It is really worth exploring a number of postures including those you already use in your practice to check if they too require their own kind of contortion (different to that found in twisting) so asking questions of the diaphragm.

    This approach makes for greater awareness and concentration when in posture and if we use our breath in a massaging way can bring added toning and even more strength to those muscles and tissue.

    As an example next time you do a Downward Facing Dog notice the breath, one thing you will notice is that you are breathing up hill!

    Barry Todd

    Yoga Teacher Mind and Body

    the-elegant-luxe-life-seated-twist-pose

  2. It's coming up to a year now since the Covid19 was first around for us. Since then we've had a few ~temporary~ adjustments to make.
     
    For some people on the front line it was a horror story.
    For others it was a bit of a novelty and inconvenience.
     
    boredom
     
    The novelty seems to be wearing a bit thin and there is anxiety to get back to how it used to be
    Many people are in limbo waiting to see what is going to happen as we move through the process of recovery (hopefully)
    Some people choose to be angry and try to find someone to blame. 
    Some choose to pretend that nothing is happening and it's all an exageration  Some know it's not!
    Some are waiting for a vacine.
     
    People are all different and have different triggers, emotional needs, values etc.
     
    One thing I think that most people can agree on is that we are not, ever, going to be back where we were before this pandemic.
     
    Some people are taking life as it comes and are finding peace in the newfound freedom to re-evaluate their lives.
    I see people getting busy with lots of new experiences,more relaxation,  more outdoor activities and appreciation of nature.  Valuing some of the fundamental things in life rather than the  more hedonistic  lifestyle they used to live.
     
    For sure the people who are 'making the most' of things as they are, will certainly be changing their future and looking at priorities differently.  Once things settle  down these will be the successful people in the new order.  Those who have found happiness on a budget (for financial hardship is surely the next thing that is coming along),  have found new activities, that are appreciative, creative and free like nature walks, taking time to get to know others, learning a new language or hobby, looking after themselves.  In other words without even realising it, re-evaluating their prioities.
     
    So what is it about this life that we used to have that is so precious?
    Stressful lives with stressful jobs often resulting in stressful homelife?  No time to live the life that the good money you are earning is paying for?  No value time for the people that you care about?  Clocking up the airmiles to show impressive pictures of you enjoying yourself! Guilt because you can't do more, fit in all the visits you should be making, talk to your immediate family, help with homework, listen to each other properly?  See your parents/grandparents/grown up children?   Even before this pandemic we saw enough people giving up stressful jobs for a big pay cut which allowed them to live a less stressful life.  Small price to pay?
     
    Or if you were struggling to make ends meet with no spare cash for yourself then seeing your friends with, what seems to you like pocket fulls of cash, out there spending and having fun fun fun whilst you are feeling guilty, frustrated becasue you can't do that.  Causing stress within the family group etc etc?  Maybe it's not quite so obvious now.
     
    Just stop for a moment>  What are the values you live to?  Could it be your beliefs, your experiences and most of all your emotions.  Has your financial status become your self-esteem, has your job title become your self-worth? Do you feel you are not good enough and must try harder (if this is the case I'll tell you, even if you became Prime Minister of the world it would not satisfy your need)?  Who are you trying to impress? (You can have such little self-esteem that you depend of the esteem of others to fill the gap and I will tell you,  it is never enough)
     
    Or does your lack of self-worth make it impossible for you to get the best out of any situation you find yourself in?  Do you feel unworthy of enjoyment or fulfilment?  Do you feel that you have no right to try to be happy as you are just not good enough.  Do you feel the need to be seen working hard - life should not come easy to you?
     
    Can you go for a whole week without alcohol?  What about a month? Nothing wrong with a drink unloess you depend upon it to help you to relax and let go of the stresses of life.
     
    STOP AND THINK - PERFECT TIMING FOR EVALUATING YOUR PRIORITIES.
     
    In other words get a new life that is more fulfilling for you.  Start by thinking about the things that you really want or need.  Then start to make small changes to your expectations and lifestyle.  For most people it will be a big ask as your system that you have set up, whilst not that helpful, is your raisen d'etre.  Scary to take that away so small steps and new values.
     
    Make yourself ready for the NEW LIFE ORDER that is just around the corner.  make the transition easy for yourself.  START NOW.
     
    Start small by doing something just because you like it and it doesnt cost a cent.  Drawing, writing, painting, walking in nature, growing things, making things, sitting for 10 mins looking at a flower or tree,.... anything.
     
    If you recognise that you are not living the life that you really would like and need some help to adjust then drop me a text with a brief outline of how you feel, I am offering coaching and therapy sessions on line at a very small fraction of the cost for a face to face sessions.  07926 044414
     
    Andrea Lowe
     
    Course Tutor, Clinical Hypnotherapy course
    Hypnotherapist/analyst,
    Coach and Colour Therapist
    07926 044414
     
     
     
     
  3. Barry overprint

    I love taking the yoga foundation workshops because they are an opportunity for participants to dive deeper into their practice and explore more those areas that have been alluding or confusing them on the yoga mat. 

    The many years a yoga teacher spends taking classes and reading deeply builds a lot of latent understanding of the thinking and ethos behind yoga. While they cannot discuss these topics in depth in a one hour class they probably do try to weave a delivery in their instruction that brings a hidden influence to the proceedings that will benefit their students.

    On a foundation course participants can more indulge the depths of yoga so bringing that extra bit of purpose and meaning behind their daily practice. 

    On this foundation my participants have highlighted those areas they would like including, such as: nidra, breath retention, mudras, prakriti and purusha, their purpose in life, suffering and even samadhi! A strong list but one full of wonderment and worthy consideration.

    These will of course all be considered over the next 6 months as we zoom away with two and half hours per fortnight sharing our thoughts and understanding of these valued topics. They will work well around my usual framework of the 8 limbs from the Sutras of Patanjali: yamas and niyamas (the "ten commandments" of yoga or psychological buttresses) Asana (posture), Pranayama (breathing, how to and its value), Pratyahara (starting to get on a better footing with out feelings and emotions and working in the shallows of meditation), and then the inner limbs of dharana, dhyana and samadhi that merging into meditation that strengthens our calm abiding begun in the day to day work with deep asana awareness and breathing.

    A good yoga foundation finds you where ever you are in your practice right now and there is no pressure to achieve only an invitation to explore and try some of the myriad of yoga techniques and discover how they can work for you.

    Barry Todd 

  4. P1000364

    Yin Yoga is already a style that lends itself to introspection because the longer held releasing postures of yin allow us to observe our mental and emotional processes and also our physical sensations. On the other hand yin yoga can also have a physical and physiological flavour when we approach it through organ pairing or anatomy specific sequences. But if we apply mindfulness to yin we can experience it either as a deeply relaxing time or plumb the depths of our inner self. So it can be the very essence of self enquiry which to many is the true value of any yoga.

    A guided mindfulness yin sequence can provide that experience but can be done in our own space with  practice. 

    It begins in a reclining or sitting pose tuning into our bodily sensations as we release to gravity and watching that process for a while without judgement but more with curiosity. Be curious....After a while (several minutes) open to the breath and let that be the passive breath without any control needed. Stay curious...

    We can stay in the reclining/sitting pose and develop the breath by moving gently from passive involuntary breathing to voluntary breathing but paying more attention to the exhalations. Allow these exhalations to slowly melt away and if anything dwelling at the end of the outbreath at that still moment before breathing in again. That is a very special releasing place in yoga thinking and argueably the most relaxed place we cn ever be. 

    Stay with the breath for a while and then very slowly move the body to an alternative position such as Child Pose even keeping the eyes closed which will allow for a more considered sense of mindfulness. Then immediately reconnect with the breath and tune into the changes brought about by the new posture. This process can exclude outside distractions but remember if that is not possible for example if there is music or other sounds then try and absorb these into your field of mindfulnerss rather than attempting to push them away. 

    With Child you may wish to direct the energy of your breath into the lower back in the region of the kidneys and adrenals or alternatively feel the soft expansive sensation of the diaphragm pushing into the abdomen as you inhale and then sinking down through the lower back or hips almost like going down in a lift.

    After five or more minutes make again a slow transition to another posture such as Makrasana (Crocodile) which is a prone relaxing pose almost like savasana on your front. Repeat the process of connecting with breath and being mndful of the new bodily sensations  and stay here for as long as it feels righ before you move again. 

    All this can be applied to any yin yoga sequence and it has the great power of bringing a deeper sense of release and relaxation which can last well beyond the session to enable better sleep and calmness in the days that follow. The practice can also begin to translate into your day to day living as you somehow can't help but progressively become more and more mindful having experienced it in the relative sheltered calm of a yoga space. 

    Stay calm...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    Barry Todd (Yin Yoga Teacher amongst other things!)

  5. walkingThe country is on an economy drive.  There are fears that a rise in petrol costs is on it's way and the knock on hits almost everything eventually.

    One way to help with this would be to walk more.  Not only is it good for your pocket - also good for your health.  A brisk 20 min walk every day could help to save your life.  Why not make a pact now to save your petrol costs and walk a little more. 

    Walking also helps you to learn to breath more efficiently and increase the oxygen intake into your system.  This gradually builds up until you begin to feel the fitness within.

    I know that some have to drive to work and that walking takes a lot longer.  Planning can incorporate the time consuming walk into your regime and the time you gain on this earth may be well worth it to you.

    Here is a calculator to see how much your petrol is costing you and how much it would cost if the price went up.

    Petrol Calculator Widget created by Confused.com

    Let us know how you have got on in your walk more and save petrol/money - your experiences could be an inspiration to others:
    Some ideas for walking more:

    • If you work too far away to walk or riding a bike is not good then just park further away and make it a longer walk into work from your car.
    • Work out how much you are saving by walking and put the money away - plan what you are going to spend it on.
    • Make sure you walk out at lunch time even if it is only around the block.
    • Incorporate a step counter into your routine and see if your steps are increasing as time goes by.
    • Encourage your friends and family to also walk a little more.
    • Form a lunchtime walking group with some of your colleague at work
    • Take your family for a walk in the evenings.

    Please add any ideas you may have for helping with the walking blitz.

  6. P1000452

    What I love about teaching yoga chakra sequences is that they offer a great opportunity to add focused flavour to the experience. I always like t start with students reclining in savasana and take them through a guided chakra awareness. This involves them becoing aware of the geographical locations of the 7 main chakras in turn starting with the base or root chakra at the base of the trunk known as mooladhara. They are imply looking for any sensations in those areas. 

    It just so hapens that the locations of the chakras happen to be in the same places are there are concentrations of energy and nerve tissue so there is a good chance something will be felt. But it's not guaranteed and some may reveal little or nothing. For a long time I never could feel much in the thrid chakra manipura but yoga helped me to open this chakra over time.

    The second chakra is just inches above the root and in front of the sacrum, then the manipura at the solar plexus behind the navel and on the inside of the spine, thn the heart chakra behind the breast bone, the throat chakra behind the hollow in the throat, thrird eye chakra behind the space just above the eyebrow centre and the crown on the top of the head.

    The asana sequence that follows gradually works through the chakras adopting those postures that help to stimulate and open those areas in turn. Some are chakra specific but the salutaions to the sun can be included as a general overall routine that helps everything.

    I love to use music that relates to the chakras and there is some lovely soothing stuff around and it can be changed discreetly during the sequence to introduce vibrations and even chants that are more appropriate.

    This all adds to the value which is vital to student experience which I value also.

    I have often thought that a yoga teachers spec is to bring as good an experinec as possible to their students and chakra flows give us that great opportunity.

    Barry Todd