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  1. 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!)

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. planets

    There are lots of stories, theories and rock solid beliefs about Past Lives and whether we've lived them or not.  The truth is we simply don't know.  To quote Johnny Nash - "There are more questions than answers and the more we find out the less we know."

    Is it our need to find meaning in our existence?  As with everything where their is a belief without 'proof' then the belief is passionate.  

    When investigated many of the past life stories were found to have  alternative explanations.

    But then most people will remember the case of the twins who had memories of their older siblings that had died in a car crash before they were born.  It seemed like indesputable evidence that they had replaced their siblings and were almost living their lives.

    That seemed to provide the final proof of past lives and it still may do.

    And in those times when children are at their most 'open' and unbiased and receptive.  But this openness often fades and these memories disappear.  Who knows what forgotten thoughts and visions have infiltrated the young mind only to become lost in the sands of time.. 

    However, science, that attempts to look for scientific evidence  without bias and preconceivment, has now proved that some memories of the parent are genetically transferred to the child.

    This finding ties in with Carl Jung and his theory of 'Collective Unconscious'.

    The collective unconscious is a concept refering to the idea that a segment of the deepest unconscious mind is genetically inherited and is not shaped by personal experience.

     According to Jung's teachings, the collective unconscious is common to all human beings and is responsible for a number of deep-seated beliefs and instincts, such as spirituality, sexual behavior, and life and death instincts..
     
    So in the words of Johnny Cash (again) there are more questions than answers and the more we find out the less we know.
     
    One thing is for sure there are mysteries in all of our pasts.
     
    Here is a link to some Stories of Passt Life hypnotic memories and how they panned out.
     
    Have you got a story in your past.?

     

  5.  

    5 Tips to Care for Yourself While Recovering from Cancer

     

    Being diagnosed with cancer is one of the most difficult trials a person can experience. The most important thing to know is that you’re not alone. In fact, Cancer Research UK holds that “there are more than 360,000 new cancer cases in the UK every year.”

     

    Though this is likely the most difficult time in your life to focus on yourself, it’s also when it becomes more important than ever. Fostering your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health can improve your quality of life during treatment and aid your recovery. If you’ve recently been given a cancer diagnosis, consider the following five tips to help yourself through the process.

     

    1. Reduce the pain safely

     

    There’s no getting around it — when it comes to cancer and the treatments involved, the pain is real. Obviously, you want to mitigate pain as much as you can, but it’s essential to do so safely. Over-prescription and abuse of pain medications is a severe problem, so be sure to double-check with your doctor about your prescribed amount, never take more than you are prescribed, and stop taking your medications if you ever start to feel uncomfortable or overly sedated.

     

    It’s also worth exploring alternative methods of pain relief. For instance, acupuncture, medicinal plants, and yoga can be helpful in pain management. Hypnotherapy and self-hypnosis have also shown great promise, and might make it easier for you to cope with unpleasant feelings, both physical and emotional. As a supplemental self-therapy, look into CBD oil, which contains cannabinoids to help your body function without causing any psychoactive effects. Research shows that CBD oil can relieve treatment-related symptoms such as anxiety, chronic pain and nausea. The 2019 guide from Remedy Review provides details about some of the top CBD oils on the market.

     

    2. Practice basic self-care

     

    When it comes to self-care, the three most essential factors are diet, exercise and sleep. Treatment will naturally affect how you practice these, but it’s critical that you take care of yourself the best you can during this time because it can help you feel better. Try to eat well by avoiding processed foods, refined sugars and saturated fats. Try to maintain an exercise routine — walking, swimming and yoga are options to consider. Sleep is just as important. Restlessness is common among people with cancer, so try different things for your bedtime routine, and talk to your doctor for additional recommendations.

     

    3. Stay social

     

    Cancer is not something anyone should go through alone. While it can help to have someone with you at treatments, it’s also important to be around people for reasons unrelated to cancer. If you did certain social activities before your diagnosis, try to maintain them as well as you can. Going to movie night or dining out with your friends can help get your mind off cancer and bring a sense of normalcy to your life. Also, going to church functions or taking yoga classes are great ways to foster your spiritual life.

     

    4. Find a hobby

     

    Along with doing activities with other people, it can help to have a hobby that brings you joy. Did you used to enjoy crafts as a kid? Pick it up again and see if your interest is rekindled. Have you always wanted to write but never got around to it? Start a blog and share your story with others. Anything you can do that helps you step away from your daily stresses can be beneficial.

     

    5. Join a support group

     

    Finally, one of the best things you can do for your recovery is to join a support group. These groups can provide a place to share your experiences and get advice for everyday life from people who are either going through the same thing or have been through it before. Many people find that support groups reduce stress and anxiety, as well as improve mood and self-esteem.

     

    If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, it’s important that you give your overall health and well-being some attention. Use pain medication safely and explore alternative treatments. Try to eat well, exercise and sleep, and don’t give up your social life. Lastly, discover a fun hobby to do, and look into support groups. Taking care of yourself will help you maintain a higher quality of life as you navigate this tough time.

     

    Photo Credit: Pixabay

     

     

    Scott Sanders

  6. Yoga from Scratch

    I really enjoy these absolute beginner yoga sesssions as they do what it says on the tin.

    The sessions are for absolute beginners! So week one we do a few warm ups, take in some basic yoga breathing and then work gently through some moderate classic yoga poses enabling the students to grown with these essential asanas that can be seen at most yoga classes.

    The instruction is in English! Leaving out the ancient sanskrit (that can come later) and there are alternative or modefied versions of every pose so that no one is left floundering. This makes for greater comfort and allows students to feel confident from the start that yoga meets them at what ever stage they are on the stretchometer.

    There is time for relaxation in the closing 5-10 minutes with guidance on being aware of the passive breath. This helps the budding yogis to get on a new and better footing with their breathing.

    No one is run ragged and everyone's body is allowed to have their old them still in tact while the new them begins to make its early appearance at that all important steady pace.

    Next week will see the simple introduction of the Salutations to the Sun. A neat routine of 12 postures of which only 7 need be learned as 5 are repeated in the closing stages of the flow. This will need to be visited throughout the course (5 weeks) and is a useful well rounded sequence getting to allparts of the body including some toning of the inyternal organs and glands.

    A great way to ease our tense and stiff bodies into something approaching open and flexible.

    Barry Todd (yoga teach)

     

     

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