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  1. 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.

    Get in with the yin crowd!

    Barry Todd

     


  2. novels

    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 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 of beyone 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 violeated in some way and who feels insecure and has supressed anger   There you go then

    Andrea Lowe , Hypnotherapist and Trainer

     

  3. yoga

    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.

    Barry Todd