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.
Compassion, tolerance, equality, fair play. All topics of the moment and called out for by the many.
But I believe that as with many if not all things missing in our lives, compassion and tolerance begin at home, with your roots.
Right now I'm not getting all political because that's just too much of a topic to deal with. I'm talking about something much more basic.. The compassion for fellow human beings, the tolerance of other peoples opinions, no matter how they differ from yours. Often the people with the big ideas that are so protective of them are the very ones that need to develop more of the tolerance and compassion that they preach The ones who cry out for tolerance from others are the ones who don't give it out themselves.
Just imagine what it would be like if all drivers were tolerant and had compassion for their fellow road users! Much less accidents, much less aggression. Yet what do we have nowadays more then ever, ducking and diving, crossing lanes pushing in, tail gating, speeding and the rest. Everyone of those drivers just has no tolerance for the other drivers on the road, no compassion for anyone except their wants and their desires.
But let's see how this could have become so prevelant . If someone was pretty much ignored as a child but 'bought' with ever more expensive presents and treats then they would learn only to care that they were satisfied and not really care about anyone else. The attidtude of getting to the front of the traffic queue becomes more understandable. And on a bigger scale the attitude of not having room for others opinions and ridiculing them would also be to expect everyone to think like you, for to be different would probably be a little scary for them, as they were programmed into being safe and valued as long as they got what they wanted.
Therefore if you're expecting compassion and tolerance then you really have to start changing the fundamentals of our lives. Allowing for people to feel valuable for who they are. Hoping that the people who cannot understand compassion and tolerance might find a way through their blockages. Starting small and starting in the home.
And maybe, just maybe there would be less people like the chappie in the picture in need of self worth and a bit of compassionand tolerance.
The most important thing that anyone can learn in life is to value themselves and as an adult and parent to crerate self worth in the people you care for. Unfortunately it is a lucky dip and there are more booby prizes than star prizes. And the booby prize winners create unrest and havoc or disappear into the nether regions.
We need some fundamental changes in our society not to change what we are experiencing now but to change the future quality of life. And tis is just in our small section of the world, our society.
There is a lot of mystery and misconception about hypnosis. So self-hypnosis, if you've listened to the hype, is even more difficult to understand.
Let me put it simply:
Imagine a vertical line. At the top you are wide awake and bursting with energy. At the bottom yu are in the deepest of your sleep. Throughout the day and unknowingly we slip up and down that line, mainly around the middle area. though if we get really excited, stimulated or even fearful we rush up towards the top of the line. In a similar way we tire and feel ourselves slipping down the line.
At some point approaching the bottom of that line imagine a place where you are not quite awake and not quite asleep, a place where you can very easily daydream and where sounds and other distractions are less compelling and seem further away than they are.
You slip quite qickly through this spot when going to sleep and also upon waking. Some people stay there longer than others and some need more time to 'come round' when the waken. You could say that place is hypnosis. It is in that place where you can consciously imagine at your best. It is almost as though the active side of your mind that is alert and working hard at consciously thinking of anything and everything is quietened. this leave the other part of your mind, the part that can imagine and daydream more room to take over a little.
When you are able to access this part of your mind you are also able to recall things that you might think you have forgotten and you may fine that memories or lost thought just pop into your head with the slightest provocation. Maybe a smell will take your right back to school or a tone of voice, or a random word will be free to conect through those pathways that are normally pushed to the back in the rush of conscious thoughts that are meant to be planning, working out, taking control. After all isn'r that what we are taught from being very young.?
What is self-hypnosis?
Self Hypnosis helps you to devolop a method of entereing into the state of least thought so that you can access your deeper mind.
Why would you want to do this?
When combined with a few very simple techniques like PMS (Positive Mental Attitude) focusing on outcomes and desires then self-hypnosis can be very beneficial if practised regularly.
What can it help with?
Self-hypnosis can help with
Setting targets, for instance work related or sports related.
Motivation to achieve your targets
Controlling to some extent unwanted thouoghts
and many more things including dealing with illness and discomfort.
To get the most benefit from self hypnosis you need to develop a knowledge of some useful tools that can ensure you get it right and do not exasperate the condition you are trying to deal with.
Yu need to ifeally know how to analise yourself a little so that you are developing that understanding that makes the big changes in lifestyles.
Of course if you just want to use self- hypnosis in its most basic form you can do that too..
I run self-hypnosis courses reguarly. If youa re interested please contact me and I will let you know when the next one is starting.
Andrea Lowe, Hypnotherapist/analyst and course tutor
Yin Yoga has to be the most overlooked style of yoga around which is a crying shame as it has so many assets. That being said I know it will not be for everyone even the most convinced yoga practitioners probably because it is a very introspective an meditative type of yoga and there are those of us who will prefer something more dynamic.
Nevertheless, don't be deceived as while Yin Yoga is not necesaarily a restorative cosy practice it should have the same outcome as hatha albeit a differing path.
Yin Yoga could be said to have come out of hatha yoga in that it uses many of the conventional hatha postures with a few of its own thrown in that are growing in number every year along with some familiar but modefied poses too.
There are three practice elements to yin yoga.
One: come to a suitable or appropriate stretch (twist or squeeze)
Two: Relax, connect with the breath and relax into the pose
Three: Stay for time
The first element is of great importance and it is the one that many who are new to yin take a while to adjust to and sometimes they don't. Element One requires a little vigilence. The key is in the words suitable/appropriate. In Yin Yoga we are going to try and stay in the pose for anything from 3 to 6 minutes or longer (element three) and if we attempt to do this applying our selves in the same way that we might in a 30 second pose will be very tiring, stressful and build unwanted tensions.
Yin appeals more to our soft connective tissue which prefers gentle considered movements and stretching and if we cultivate this kind of approach it will help our tissues and skeleton to tone and strengthen over time.
The relaxing element is important as by letting go once we are in a yin pose then we build less tension and are less likely to feel stiff the following day.
We are also able to get into a better relationship with our breath because we are in the poses for longer and this allows us to be more focused and introspective. This latter value makes yin appealing to those interested in developing meditation.
So who might yin yoga benefit besides everyone!
Well, it tends to appeal to an interesting mix. On the one hand it is great for those who wish to conserve energy or who don't have a lot. It is also useful for sports people as it can be a great complement to active exercise. Over the years I have people with M.E. an CFS together with weight trainors, footballers, runners, cyclists an ju jitsu martial artists. But it can be beneficial to those who do other yoga during the week or simply walk for exercise. It is a good idea with yin to be sure to complement it with something more aerobic at least like walking during the week as out and out all stretching can weeken us an we don't want that.
So if you practice yoga already why not give yin a chance sometime or if you are in sport or want to complenment some other kind of daily exercise with a more prolonged stretching style yin is well worth a try. It can really bring on your flexibility.
There has been some interesting research recently in Japan that is showing that the kind of work we do in yin yoga can help heal soft connective tissue that might not respond to other kinds of treatment so yin is evolving.
Do the novels you like reflect something about you?
If you like romantic novels, which many do, just see the many books that Mills and Boon churn out, then you are probably getting a bit of a romantic injection that is maybe not wholly a part of your life. A bit of wishful thinking It's a bit of harmless fantasy.
Mystery and crime novels give you a chance to escape from your life too as you try to figure out whodunit and get involved with the plot. Those types of books probably satisdfy the deep thinkers and the people who like working things out.
Then there are the books that are not so much stories as platforms for writers to show off their skill in constructing beautifully descriptive sentences. I would guess that these might appeal to people striving for exactitude and perfection.
Many of these novels and stories are also transcribed into films, sagas and soaps. With some such regular inputs into our lives it's almost like the subjects in the fiction become a part of our lives too as we become outraged, concerned or want revenge and can't miss the next episode. Reference: the public outcry and protest when Deidre from Coronation Street was jailed. The writers of soaps like Coronation Street East Enders etc. have to be great at studying human beahviour as they mimic or exaggerate real life and real people to enable us to relate even more to the stories. REaders/viewers often know someone who behaves in exactly the same way as the character being portrayed
However, it is the more extreme novels that bring me to write this blog.are the ones that take us into a fantastical world which goes beyond the classic fight of good against evil, take us beyond the rawness of authors like Annie Proulx who write about the reality of raw violence in everyday life of red-neck America, some of which can be disturbing yet enlightening to the relatively refined lives we are used to. Far from escapism into a romantic dream. It is without doubt, that her writing, coming later in her life was based on her experiences living in the forgotten and hard living areas of Oregon.
There are the novels that take you on the journey of a broken mind where even at the end of the book you do not know what was real and are left confused yet somehow stimulated and without an ending.
All of the ideas in a novel come from the experiences and imagination of the writer so having just read a fascinating sequel book (missed the first one and won't be going back for it) Dream Paris, I really questions the mind of the writer, Tony Ballantyne. He has a bit of a cult following apparently It is well written and keeps you guessing. It is as imaginitive as 'Alien' with back packs changing into giant spider like creatures and infiltrating the wearer, which is acceptable horror type stuff. But the list of really extreme concepts that pop up regularly in the novel make me wonder what experiences this writer has suffered to go beyond violence to some kind of bizarre acceptence that anything goes. The concepts are beyond torturous and to even come up with some of the ideas I think reflects a troubled mind. It has been disturbing to read this novel and maybe that is the idea but I am not actually sure if the story is detracted from by theses needs to extreme as the story would be quite good without them. Nevertheless it smacks of someone whose life has been unsettled, possibly violated in some way and who feels insecure and has supressed anger. I'd offer therapy but then his followers could be disappointed.
There are ten yamas and niyamas. One for every finger. They are a bit like ten commandments but because yoga is not religeous they are provide us more with guidelines or mental supports.
The yamas are referred to as restraints and are called ahimsa - non harming, satya - truthfulness, asteya - non stealing, bramacharya - non over indulgence of the senses, aparigraha - non greed.
The niyamas are referred to as observances and include: sauca - purity of body and mind, santosha - contentedness , tapas - a firy ambition to apply oneself, svadhyaya - self enquiry and ishvarapranidharna - surrendering everything to something higher than ourselves.
These are very lofty and ambitious qialities to apply to eveyday life. When you look at them you may well say well, yes I think I might be close to achieving some of them but not sure about the others.
To try and apply them to daily living with ourselves and interactions with others can be daunting and as they appear at the start of Patanjalies 8 Limbs of the yoga process it can seem like we have to master them before we get down to postures or asanas. Good luck with that. Come back in a few years I hear you say.
In another reality it may be more sensible to use them in our daily yoga practice as supports to tht practice and this way we cna begin to merge them into our thinking and in time they can trnaslate into daily like.
So how might this happen.
Well, ahimsa can be chunked down from restraining from non hurting, harming or injuring ourselves or other in our thought, words and actions to something more accessible such as simply be caring with yourself in pratice. Satya can simply be being truthful with yourself. Asteya can be not "stealing" from yourself that which you intuitively don't want to give such as energy etc. bramacharya can be wise use of energy and aparigraha simply avoiding greed ( eg don't over pratice)
Sauca can be simply clean in body and mind and practice area. Santosha seek to be content with your current situation even if you still want to improve. Tapas practice regulalrly even if only 10 minutes a day. Svadhyaya self enquire or learn as much as you can about yourself and ishvara pranidharana can be simply trusting the power inside you (intuition).
This approach is more accessible and it will still have a subtle effect over time and if you keep looking back at the mening behind the concepts you will likely find that you are getting stronger with them as the months and years go by.
Remember, most importantly that like all the techniques in the 8 limbs of yoga the yamas and niyamas are tools for your use as practitioners and you are not meant to be slaves to them.
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