Welcome Autumn back with Yoga!
Have you had a landlocked lockdown? The days are getting longer, restrictions are easing and getting back to the ocean is on the horizon. However, a lot of us have suffered these past months without access to the ocean, gyms or swimming pools and surf-fitness has gone by the wayside.
Wouldn’t it be great to jog down to the surf again and feel confident? Rather than standing in the carpark, worrying about your popup or if you still have paddle power? That’s how I feel, so I have developed the Surf Stretch Sessions: a series of 4 classes throughout April aimed at improving strength and flexibility for surfing.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021
*trigger warning – references to rape and sexual abuse
For international women’s day I thought about all the things I’ve heard in the yoga community the last few years that have harmed women; I wanted to share them, as this is something that is not widely spoken about and becomes more harmful if it continues to be ignored.
This restorative yoga retreat has the theme Winter Mountain, for feeling grounded and stable. Many of us a facing new lockdowns and restrictions on our lives. This retreat will focus on our inner strength, resilience and stability to see us through these winter months, – just like the snow covered mountain awaiting the spring!
Do you follow yoga online? If so, follow these tips to create your own Yoga Sanctuary at home.
You don’t need to invest in loads of fancy yoga equipment up front, here I will share with you some yoga prop hacks so that you can make the most out of your yoga practice with items from around the home.
Yoga props are especially useful for restorative yoga practices. In the video below I will show how you can adapt and adjust your props at home to use with restorative yoga. I hope you enjoy!
I have lost count of how many times I’ve heard people tell me they “can’t do yoga because they are not flexible enough”. Well, duh, that’s the point (sorry) !
Over the years I have taught yoga to people of all ages and abilities, from people with prosthetic limbs and wheelchair users, to those with developmental disabilities or even long term illness such as MS and Parkinson’s Disease. Every body is able to do yoga, should the person so wish. Sometimes I have to physically assist a client to allow them to benefit from simple movements that are so very effective.
When I undertook yoga therapy training my tutor’s mantra was “The yoga is always the same”, by which she meant that the purpose was to focus on the breath, to relax the body and mind and to encourage the full range of motion for the joints of the body.
It is not about fancy postures but instead allowing the body to move as freely and as comfortably as it can.
In that spirit, I have put together a series of Chair yoga exercises that can be practiced at home. This introductory video lasts about 10 minutes and focuses on simple range-of-movement exercises for the whole body.
I hope you enjoy!
It was brilliant advice and I thought I would share it with you today, World mental Health Day.
I had been feeling glum and complaining: “Oh I should do this, I shouldn’t have done that”, to which my friend replied, in her own laconic way:
“Stop Should-ing on yourself”.
It made so much sense. So much of suffering is caused by beliefs such as:
I should be this…
I should be that…
I should do this…
I should do that…
I should be more…
I should be less…
I should have…
I should feel…
I should, I should, I should…
Plus an equal list of “I shouldn’ts” to match.
‘Should’ is defined as: used to indicate obligation, duty or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.
So what we are doing when we ‘Should’ on ourselves is piling on self-criticism; probably with a good old dollop of guilt as well. ‘Should’ is not so much a call to action but a means of berating oneself. ‘Should’ can make a person feel rotten, especially in terms mental health and well-being
An example being: “I should feel happy but I don’t” Where we have both criticism and guilt in one simple sentence.
So what could we use instead of ‘should’?
The first challenge is being aware of the times when you are ‘Should-ing’ on yourself and dwelling on self-criticism. (I like to recall my friend’s voice when I find myself falling into that trap).
The second is acknowledging the present situation for what it is, warts and all. View it as dispassionately as possible, like an impartial witness (this is a practice in mindfulness). Remove ‘should’ from that thought along with its associated guilt and shame. So, in the example of “I should feel happy but I don’t” can be replaced with: “I am not happy at the moment but that’s OK, this feeling will pass”
The third is to replace ‘Should’ with ‘I Can…’ Transform thoughts away from negative self-criticism towards what is achievable and positive. This is a way of opening up possibilities rather than shutting down in the shame of “I should”.
I hope that you find this useful. Wishing you all a good World Mental Health Day and remember:
How to practice a Moon Salutation:
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.
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