Wind Down with a Yoga Moon Salutation

This Yoga Moon Salutation can be used as a gentle warm up or wind down for an evening’s yoga practice.

 

 

How to practice a Moon Salutation:

  1. Start in Table position on the hands and knees, knees about hip width apart and hands below the shoulders.
  2. Come up onto the finger tips and step the left foot forward between the hands into a lunge (if you are newer to yoga you may have to lift your hand or assist your foot into position).
  3. Come into a ‘square lunge’ and get your balance.
  4. Inhale, raise your arms up overhead, hands in prayer position.
  5. Exhale, lean back gently (avoid this move if you have any back injuries)
  6. Inhale, release the backbend.
  7. Exhale, lower arms to shoulder level.
  8. Inhale, lengthen spine,
  9. Exhale, twist to the left.
  10. Inhale back to centre,
  11. Exhale, twist to the right.
  12. Inhale back to the centre.
  13. Exhale lower the right hand to the floor and raise the left arm.
  14. Inhale back to the centre.
  15. Exhale lower the left hand to the floor and raise the right arm.
  16. Inhale back to centre.
  17. Exhale return to Table position.
  18. Inhaling sit back to heels
  19. Exhaling reach arms forward and rest in Hare posture.
  20. Return to Table posture and practice the same, this time with the left foot forward in the lunge position.

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Need to Relax? Try this Short Relaxation for Busy People

Here is a short guided relaxation for busy people; known as ‘Yoga Nidra’, or yoga-sleep.

 

It is mental health awareness week so I decided to share this yoga nidra. I hope that you find it relaxing.

The purpose of this yoga nidra is to let your body fall into a deep state of relaxation but for your mind to remain awake. It aids a deeper state of relaxation than just sleep alone.

I have been giving guided yoga nidra relaxations and meditations for well over a decade now. This recording is from the early days, however, many people have enjoyed it, so I hope you will too! I will add different relaxations and meditations to my You Tube channel from now on, so please subscribe if you want to access more yoga tips and stress-relieving techniques.

Happy relaxing!

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Finding Strength in Weakness

How can you find strength in weakness?

‏I am learning that it is OK to have weaknesses, to be perfectly imperfect. Sometimes, being weak and asking for help takes more courage than being brave or ‘just getting on with it’.

 

“I am willing to be wrong. I am willing to be passionate about something that isn’t perceived as cool. I am willing to express a theory. I am willing to admit I am afraid. I am willing to contradict something I’ve said before. I am willing to have a knee-jerk reaction, even a wrong one. I’m willing to apologize. I’m perfectly willing to be be perfectly human”

 – Donald Millar

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Totally Tropical Christmas Pudding

TOTALLY TROPICAL CHRISTMAS PUDDING

It has become a family tradition that I make the Christmas Pudding each year. It is always slightly different depending on what I have in the kitchen and this Totally Tropical Christmas Pudding came about because I had some Malibu languishing in the back of a cupboard. I decided to go for a tropical theme with mango, papaya and coconut rather than the more traditional fruits. (The one rule I have is that there has to be no orange in it, due to the dietary needs of a family member).

The result was a tropical Christmas feast, with a much lighter flavour and texture than a traditional Christmas pudding. It is pretty easy to make, the only downside is the long steaming time.

You will see from the pictures that I have gone for a more traditional pudding in a muslin cloth; this was not due to Dickensian nostalgia but rather because I had left my pudding bowls and my parents house last year. Oh well, better lucky than good…

So, stick on some Christmas music, pour some mulled wine and lets get baking…

 

Christmas Pudding in Muslin Bag

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Back Bends for Opening the Heart

Back Bends for opening the Heart: When back-bends don’t come easy.

Some causes of bad posture:

There  are many reasons why we develop bad posture and slouch: spending long hours on a computer or over a smart phone, driving, or lack of exercise. For me it was because I was always tall; as a child I was the tallest in the class, which didn’t bother me until puberty and I realized I was taller than all the boys. Then, like many teenage girls, when I developed breasts I became self-conscious and uncomfortable. All these elements combined and I began to slouch. The years went on my shoulders rounded, my chest sunk in and my head stooped forward.

Fast forward twenty years and now I am trying to master back bends in yoga and it is such a challenge.  For me, or anyone who has a habit of slouching forward, back bends always will be a negotiation between decades of bad posture and a comparatively brief moment on the yoga mat trying to unlock the body. Being physically tall or having a long back can make back bends more challenging. If you imagine the vertebrae as a string of beads, a person with a shorter back has shorter beads: they are more flexible, the string more bendy; a person with a longer back has the equivalent of longer beads on their string: the string is less bendy.

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Spiced Apple Chutney

I had to wait several weeks after making this Spiced Apple Chutney before I was able to taste it, but it was worth the wait.

I decided to make this Spiced Apple Chutney after collecting a big bag of apple windfalls from a recent storm. What better way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon?

It is really simple to make chutney but it does take a bit of time and preparation and, just to warn you, your kitchen will smell of vinegar for days afterwards (I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the smell of cooking vinegar, it grabs you by the back of throat but is quite invigorating at the same time)

That said, it is well worth the time and effort to make your own chutney as it will be much nicer than store-bought variations. Jars of homemade chutney also make good gifts if well presented. Try this chutney with a big hunk of cheddar cheese and crusty bread, or with a ploughman’s lunch.

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Cancer support

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH: CANCER SUPPORT

People who know me will know how deeply my family has been affected by different types of cancer, breast cancer included.

It is difficult to know how to help when first involved with someone affected by cancer, be they a cancer patient or carer. So, here is a list of Dos and Don’ts I have compiled, from my humble experience:

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Yoga at Home: Sun Salutations

Do you want to start a yoga practice at home? Do you wonder where to start, or how to make the time or commitment? The simple answer is Sun Salutations.  

Sun Salutations (surya namaskar) are a series of yoga postures strung together so that they flow from one pose to another. They are called sun salutations because, in India, they are traditionally done first thing in the morning as the sun rises to prepare the body for the practice of yoga.

Don’t worry if it takes a little time to perfect sun salutations; it takes practice to flow from one posture to the next. Begin by practicing each individual posture in the sequence before trying them together. In the beginning you may only manage one or two rounds, but with practice you should be able to build up to 10 rounds.

Sun salutations work the entire body and are an excellent warm up. They build strength and stamina as well as improve flexibility.

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Ruby Red Beet Hash

My daughter loves this Ruby Red Beet Hash.

She decided to become vegetarian ten days before her 7th birthday and has been sticking to it well so far. Up until then I had always let her eat whatever healthy food she wanted, meat included, but she decided on her own that she no longer wanted to eat meat or fish. I admire her principles for such a young age, though said it is her body and if she decides to go back to eating meat then that is her decision.

One major plus for her going vegetarian is that I now only have to make one dinner in the evening rather than two and the Little Lady is sticking to her end of the bargain by trying new flavours. This Ruby Red Beet Hash was quick and simple to make and was scoffed up!

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Untie the Knots that Bind Us Using Yoga

How do we untie the knots that bind us using yoga?

Many yoga postures look like you are tying yourself up in knots, making yourself smaller. How can that be comfortable? It seems like it is the opposite of untying the knots that bind us.

For me, such yoga postures are actually about untying the knots. The yoga tradition refers to several knots in the subtle body (the Sanskrit word is Granthi, meaning ‘knot’ or ‘doubt’) that block our path to development. Such knots are described in three forms:

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