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SEPTEMBER 2015 - £4.25

PREGNANCY YOGA easy moves for every mama

USA EDITION

All good choices

Selling up or selling out

better decision making

is it ethical to sell on your yoga business?

THE ART OF EATING WELL

On the warrior’s path

Love spreads

bringing peace to the middle east

be the best you can be

• • • •

Yoga A-Z – M is for Meditation Take your time – 365 days of savasana OM Meets – Sarah Powers The daily yamas – ahimsa and satya


Rejuvenate in style at Purple Valley Retreat, Goa. Indulge in a yoga holiday at Purple Valley - the best place for an Ashtanga Yoga retreat in Asia. Set in lush tropical gardens, with an Ayurvedic Spa, a crystal clear pool, chillout areas and a juice bar, delicious vegetarian & raw food cooked by international chefs and daily yoga with world class teachers; Including John Scott, David Keil, Dena Kingsberg, Michael Gannon, David Robson, Joey Miles and many more. Beginners welcome on most courses


www.yogagoa.com


OM Magazine Issue 54, September 2015 Published by:

Prime Impact, Park House, The Rural Business Center, Earls Colne Business Park, Earls Colne, Colchester, Essex CO6 2NS Tel: 44 (0) 1787 224040 Fax: 44 (0) 1787 223535 e: info@primeimpact.co.uk ommagazine.com

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The Publisher accepts no responsibility in respect of advertisements appearing in the magazine and the opinions expressed in editorial material or otherwise do not neccessarily represent the views of the Publisher. The Publisher cannot accept liability for any loss arising from the later appearance or non publication of any advertisement. Information about products and services featured within the editorial content does not imply an endorsement by OM Magazine. OM Magazine is not intended to replace the professional medical care, advice, diagnosis or treatment of a doctor, qualified therapist, nutritionist or dietician. Always consult your doctor before undertaking any exercise program. Every effort is made to ensure that all advertising is derived from reputable sources. OM Magazine cannot, however, accept responsibility for transactions between readers and advertisers.

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Contributors Lea Schodel

Lea is a yoga teacher, wealth coach and financial adviser based in Australia. She combines the philosophy of flow with yogic principles and more traditional financial planning to help people achieve flow when it comes to life and money. She explores the argument as to whether it is right for yoga teachers to charge a fee for classes in her article, The Business of Yoga (page 106). Find out more at: leaschodel.com

Denise Leicester

Denise has spent a lifetime exploring and understanding the dynamics of natural healing. A qualified nurse, aromatherapist, yoga teacher and ayurvedic healer, her hands-on experience extends from the inner heart of India to the Dubai Royal Family. She is the founder of ila spa (ila-spa.com).

Lesley Dawn

With a publishing career spanning 25 years, in which she has crossed from house journalism into marketing and advertising working on provincial papers, business titles and now lifestyle publications, Lesley is enjoying freelance writing about her favorite subjects including art and sport. She balances this with family, renovating her 15th century home, travelling and playing tennis.

Regular contributors:

Siri Arti; Conscious Parenting Lesley Dawn; Life and Loves Paula Hines; Teacher’s Tales Adam Hocke; Teacher Speak Jill Lawson; Meditation Of The Month Denise Leicester; Natural Born Beauty

Deb Mac; What’s Your Affirmation Jonathan Schofield; Beginners Blog Sarah Swindlehurst; Yoga Therapy Lexie Williamson; OM Lite Julia White; Yoga & Aromatherapy Charlotte Watts; De-stress: yoga off the mat

Psalm Isadora photographed for the cover of OM Yoga and Lifestyle magazine issue 54 by Nina Duncan (ninaduncan.com/)


Welcome Welcome to OM’s fantastic, yoga-charged, fun-filled September issue. I love this month. In fact, when I was younger and playing in a band I wrote a song called September Lasts Forever. I’m sorry to say that it wasn’t very good. Nonetheless, I liked those three words strung together, there’s a nice poeticfeel to it all. For me, it conjures up images perhaps of a wistful romance, or holding hands with one’s true love ambling through a country lane in the late summer months. Nice idea, it’s just that the song itself didn’t work, musically, or on any other level (including factually, since September clearly doesn’t last forever). Still, September was, years later, to become a very special month for me. It was to be the month that my first child was born in, a truly momentous occasion for me personally and certainly for my now teenage daughter (and yes, her birthday is coming up real soon). This month, we’re running a special report on pregnancy yoga, outlining all of the many amazing benefits, and including a few simple, beneficial moves that you can follow at home. As a dad, I’ve never been through the experience, of course, but for all moms-to-be and new moms, it’s a brilliant way to get more from your pregnancy, and to get yourself back in shape afterwards. And, hey, dads, there’s no reason why you can’t join in too. For the more advanced yoga practitioner, this is also a great way to further your skill-set and to work in a highly rewarding, new area of yoga. I also love that back-to-school feeling this time of year, when learning takes center stage once more. It’s a time when students pack their bags for college and adults ponder developing new vocational skills, or just learning something for fun (now is the time to take that cross stitch course!). Whatever your plans, if you’re an expectant mother, or you’re already celebrating the birth of a new infant – or you’re preparing to take that speed motorcycling course – yoga will always partner you in your life journey. The truth is September doesn’t last forever – there are just 30 days to it, in fact, so let’s grab it while it’s still here; fill your boots with it. Have a great month, folks, and keep on rockin’, whatever your yoga (or song writing) capabilities.

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OM in 30 seconds “I do feel yoga has the potential to unexpectedly infiltrate many people’s lives and begin to change them from the inside out.” OM Meets... Sarah Powers (page 40) It means massage therapy, combined with yoga practice, can lead to further increases of body awareness, flexibility and stability within the neuromuscular systems, and reduced muscular tension. Healing Hands (page 44) To develop confidence, the goal should not be to find a couple of hours a week to relax in a class, but to regognize why constant practice, including mindful breathing, gives us strength. On A Warrior’s Path (Page 52)

This month’s subscriptions & giveaways Subscribe today and receive the all-natural Khadi Amla Shampoo worth £11.90* – Page 30

The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon – p126

Prana Crossback Top – p126

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WORDS OF WIDSOM

“Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you” John De Paola

Plus many more inside… 5


September 2015 OM Regulars 5

Editors Letter

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My Secret Place

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Letters

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Yoga Changed My Life

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Healthy Hen Dos

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What’s Your Affirmation

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The Positive People Network

Contents Cover Story

Amazing Spaces

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Natural Born Beauty

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Fashion: Dharma Chameleon

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Planet Yoga

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OM Loves: Beautiful things

105 OM Books: Great yoga reads

M is for Meditation

52 On The Warrior’s Path:

A united approach to personal development

54 Moving On Up:

When is a beginner not a beginner?

55 Man On The Mat:

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

Cover Story

OM Pregnancy Special 56 In The Club: Stay vibrant, healthy and alive during pregnancy with blissful yoga

58 Pregnancy And Yoga Practice: Wherever you are in your journey, yoga can help

119 Life & Loves Of A Yoga Teacher

62 Before And After: Move through the

126 Giveaways

OM Body 32 Awaken & Expand:

A powerful heart opening sequence

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Yoga At Home

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OM Meets... Sarah Powers

Simple pregnancy poses for every trimester trimesters, and beyond, with yoga

64 Babies First: How yoga can aid a smoother birthing experience

66 The Calm Zone: Calm, happy and stressfree: four poses for pregnancy

68 Get Yourself Together:

How important is it to do the right exercises postnatally?

70 Take Good Care Of Yourself: Eating right is just as important as doing yoga

44 Healing Hands:

72 Chair Pose(s): A chair-based yoga

46 Stretchasana: Stretch, strengthen

76 Home Sweet Home:

Massage therapy for yoga practice and stimulate that body

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Yoga A-Z:

60 Everyday Yoga For Moms-to-be:

130 OM Lite: The Style Police

Cover Story

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Psoriasis

116 Yoga Is For Everyone:

Your photos. Your community

Cover Story

Yoga Therapy:

OM FM Cover Story

17 Yoga & Aromatherapy: Cedarwood oil 18

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sequence for pregnancy

The benefits of a home birth


OM Mind Cover Story

78 The De-Stress Effect: The Daily Yamas 80 For The Love Of Pets: Meditation of the month

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82 One minute mindfulness:

Simple meditations to bring you back into the present

OM Spirit Cover Story

84 All Good Choices: Better decision making 86 Ayurvedic Clinic:

The Ayurvedic Theory Of Illness

88 Ayurveda Yoga: Combining ayurveda and yoga

OM Living 90 Eat, Drink, Yoga: Healthy eating goodies Cover Story

93 The Art Of Eating Well: Celebrating fine food and fine health

98 Nutrition Zone: Real world cleansing

OM Family

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102 In The Night Garden:

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A little bit of nature action goes a long way

103 Conscious Parenting: Trust your teen genius

OM Actions 106 My Yoga Business: Charging money for your yoga classes

Cover Story

108 Teacher’s Tales: Take Your Time 109 Teacher Speak: Flat Back 110 How To Be A Yoga Rockstar:

Amazing workshops & retreats, part 6

Cover Story

112 Love Spreads:

Cover Story

114 Selling Up Or Selling Out:

Training Palestinian yoga teachers to spread the peace Is it ethical to sell on your yoga business?

OM Travel

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120 OM Travel News:

Awe inspiring retreats and ideas for yoga explorers

122 Moving Mountains:

Shifting moods and the weather at Germany’s Lanserhof Tegernsee

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My secret place Location Torrey Pines, California Yogi Anjali Barve Photo Natiya Guin The stunning location featured here, Torrey Pines in California, has special significance for yogini, Anjali Barve, a full-time naturopathic medical student. “My fiance and I chose to have our engagement pictures done in this serene location,” she says. “We love the beauty of the winding trees mixed with the calming sound of the nearby waves crashing upon the beach.” Against this beautiful natural backdrop, Barve says she uses yoga and meditation to keep balance in her life. “It’s a gentle reminder for us to slow down and be grateful.”

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Word up

Love OM magazine and want to tell the world? Here’s your chance

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H-aap-y Days As a full-time primary school teacher, I very rarely take sick leave. The last time was when I was recovering from breast cancer surgery. But today I woke up with a razor blade sore throat (probably something to do with crowd control at yesterday’s sports day!). In spite of feeling awful I dragged myself to last night’s yoga class, and felt better for it, as always. But today I decided to afford myself two treats: one, a day to rest and recover, and two, the newest issue of OM. I’ve only downloaded three issues before, and yours is the first magazine I’ve ever read in e-form. I love the swiping, scrolling and + buttons, as well as the live video clips. I also enjoy the wide range of articles, and sense of humor that sometimes comes through too. My greatest disappointment is that I’ve now gone and devoured the entire issue in one day, which I don’t usually have the time to do. On the downside, I’ve got a long wait for the next issue. On the upside, by the next issue I will be a qualified yoga teacher, as I’m doing my 200hour training in Spain during the summer. Can’t wait! Leanne Leggo, by email

WRITE IN AND WIN!

Send your letters to OM Letters, Prime Impact Events & Media, Park House, The Business Center, Earls Colne Business Park, Colchester CO6 2NS

Email us at: editor@ommagazine.com Tweet us your thoughts: @OMYogaMagazine Write on our wall: facebook.com/ommagazine

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What you said about us on social media

Just to make my day off better look what my postman delivered @OMYogaMagazine @ladychaston Wonderful to snuggle up under a rug with the freshest @OMYogaMagazine. Inspiring reading about yoga, diet, lifestyle and to be conscious in your own life. Sat Nam #yoga #enjoylife #yogalife #bodymindsoul #omyogamagazine jiyoganorway (translated from original post in Norwegian) Love it when OM Yoga lands in my door mat every month.... It’s the only magazine I read from front to back! :) X @AnybodyYoga @OMYogaMagazine – one of my favorite #yoga magazine @emyoga

Summer lovin’

Hello OM. Just want to say that I loved, loved your summer issue (Jul-Aug 2015), it was literally beaming with yoga sun rays and good things. Great travel section and summery vibes in abundance. Plus lots of other interesting articles, fun stuff and some great yoga too. Well done Team OM! A. Levy, by email

Send in your letters to OM Yoga and Lifestyle for your chance to WIN! THE NEXT LETTER OF THE MONTH WILL WIN: Coco Spa Body Scrub priced at £14.95 stable-house.com


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YOGA CHANGED MY LIFE

Yoga has brought more ‘being’ and less ‘doing’ into the daily life of Chrissie Tarbitt Why did you start yoga

NAME: Chrissie Tarbitt AGE: 53 OCCUPATION: Wellbeing and mindfulness coach; yoga teacher YOGA YEARS: 10+

How could it be possible, when we all have so many responsibilities and to-do lists, to ‘go with the flow’? A decade ago, a dear and inspirational friend of mine showed me otherwise. For the next several years I went on my own wellbeing and spiritual journey and soon discovered the joys of yoga. Prior to that, life was all about deadlines, rushing about to catch planes and trains, being a mom of two young children and, essentially, plenty of ‘doing’ and very little ‘being’.

How has yoga changed my life

At the time, the changes didn’t mean quitting my job. But I went in search of the peace within that would enable me to regain the natural energy needed to live a happy and fulfilling life; that would fully embrace my work and my role as a mom and wife. Over the past few years, I have qualified as a yoga teacher, mindfulness coach and counsellor, enabling me to give up the corporate life completely. I now find that bringing yoga and mindfulness techniques into my wellbeing coaching practice (integratedwellbeing.co.uk) comes very naturally and it’s wonderful to witness the changes in others that I too have experienced.

Favorite yoga haunts

My first ever yoga holiday was in the Moroccan walled city of Essouira. We practiced our twice daily classes in an old Riyadh. My other favorite haunt has to be Maya Tulum Resort on the Yucatán Peninsula.

Best yoga moment

The first time my husband came with me on a yoga holiday expecting not to be participating, but wanting to humor me. By the end of the second class, he was hooked. Being able to share that with him was truly wonderful and a moment I shall always cherish.

What else

For me, learning to ‘go with the flow’ of life has been one of the great transformational experiences for a self-confessed control freak and I am so thrilled to see the magic of yoga, in its inimitable way, seep into so many other people’s lives.


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Healthy hen do’s

Begone the obligatory crude jokes and sexual innuendo...yoga hen parties may never be the same again

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irls, if you’re planning a hen night anytime soon, there’s now an alternative to the usual wine quaffing variety. Following a rise in ‘healthy hen do’s’ in London, Secret Urban Escape (secreturbanescape.com) is now offering bespoke yoga packages for healthy bridesto-be. It allows guests to create their very own yoga pop-up, perfect for the yoga loving or health conscious future bride. (Sorry guys, there are no plans yet for healthy stag nights). Iris Louwerens, co-founder of Secret Urban Escape, says it reflects a greater interest in all things healthy living. “Women are getting more health conscious. It’s no longer seen as boring to eat healthy, drink in moderation (or ditch the booze altogether) and live a healthy, active lifestyle.” With a selection of venues, yoga teachers and food suppliers for guests to choose from, the hen parties can be tailor made to the bride’s wishes, she adds. Pick a yoga that suits the group best, whether that’s some challenging Rocket Yoga, a flowing Vinyasa style, or something slower paced like Hatha or Yin Yoga, and enjoy a healthy breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea or dinner afterwards (naturally with vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and sugarfree options available). They’ll even throw in a glass of prosecco if you’re still craving that old hen do vibe. “Yoga hen do’s are a great alternative for the bride-to-be who doesn’t like the idea of a traditional alcohol-fuelled hen do, but would like something different, lighthearted and fun,” says Louwerens.


om beginnings yoga with

simon low

What’s your affirmation? An affirmation for inner strength and self empowerment. By Deb Mac “I am strong. I can handle what life hands to me knowing that I’m always being divinely guided on my journey.” You’re asked the question: Who are you? How do you answer? How do you define yourself? Do not let your struggles disempower you. Without our challenges we would never know our strengths. Please know that you are not defined by your past, you are not defined by anything that has happened to you or that is happening to you right now - so never allow yourself to be. You define you. What you believe to be true of yourself you will find proof of in the world; what you give out will radiate back to you. If you see yourself as weak then you will encounter situations and people who leave you feeling weak and disempowered. Our subconscious mind loves to say ‘I told you so’. Notice your thoughts, notice when you’re not feeling strong and grounded or when you’re not standing in your power then ask yourself why that is - you will surely find the answer. Any time you’re feeling less than powerful try placing one hand over your heart and one hand just under your rib cage and above your navel and silently repeat your affirmation. Allow yourself to breathe into that affirmation, then feel your energy change. Let your challenges make you; do not let them break you. Reach out and ask for help when you need it, but know that you are a strong powerful person. Your inner strength is plentiful and you will get through what life hands to you.

By Deb Mac (contentedlittlesoles.com)

Yin Yoga App for iPhone NOW AVAILABLE FROM THE APP STORE Restorative and relaxing Yin Yoga guided by Simon Low

iPhone App Now Available

The Yin Yoga App includes three 20-minute guided Yin and Restorative Yoga sequences, focusing on breathwork, concentration and embodiment, with accompanying text and modifications. Can be practised as separate sequences, or as a whole practice.

www.simonlow.com yoga@simonlow.com www.facebook.com/simonlowuk www.facebook.com/yogawithsimonlow

Yoga Academy faculty includes: Simon Low (Principal), Gill Lloyd, Gary Carter, Julie Gudmestad, Sue Delf, Eija Tervonen

ONGOING TEACHER TRAINING • 20-hour study immersion towards RYT500 with Yoga Alliance US certification • also available independently See website for details 20–22 November

2-YEAR TEACHER TRAINING COURSE (BWY accreditation, Yoga Alliance US and Yoga Alliance UK 200-hour certification)

YIN AND YANG YOGA TEACHER TRAINING AND STUDY IMMERSION • Yoga Alliance UK and Yoga Alliance US 200-hour certification at Samahita Retreat, Koh Samui, Thailand 7 February–6 March 2016

Starts April 2016 at Commonwork, near Sevenoaks, Kent, UK with intensive modules at Santillán, near Malaga, Spain

www.theyogaacademy.org info@theyogaacademy.org www.facebook.com/theyogaacademy


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The positive people network

Come ride the positivity train and join the network

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new group celebrating all things positivity hopes to bring like-minded folks together to generate good vibes and effect real and happy change in the world. The Positive People Network (positivepeoplenetwork.co.uk) launched this summer in the UK; it’s a forum where positivity rules supreme. We all know how rotten it feels when you spend time with the wrong crowd; it can leave you feeling drained, negative and fed-up. Now imagine the opposite: hanging out with those who actually see the good side of life, people who find something to smile about no matter what’s happening in their world. It is the idea of co-founders Nicholas Himowicz and Robyn Graham (pictured left). Himowicz says: “If we had to explain in short what Positive People Network is all about it would be camaraderie, inspiration, personal development, fun and giving back. When you combine these things how can you feel anything but uplifted and positive?” It’s an idea that is sure to resonate with the yoga community, reckons Graham. “It’s all about bringing people together, creating a strong sense of camaraderie and fun and inspiring each other to be the very best we can be,” she says. “Individually, we can make ripples of positivity around the world but together we can cause a tidal wave.” Oh, but like yoga there is also a health warning: you may leave recharged, uplifted and raring to go. So, folks, ask yourself: who are you hanging out with? If you’re surrounded by negativity then it’s time to get networking – positive people networking.

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om beginnings Yoga & Aromatherapy: Cedarwood oil (cedrus atlantica)

BEAUTIFUL MIND BEAUTIFUL BODY

Yoga & Aromatherapy to Balance Mind & Body Beautiful Mind Beautiful Body run by This month (September 23) sees us celebrate the Autumn Equinox; this is when the day and the night are approximately equal in length. To help you maintain your own equilibrium during this time, use cedarwood oil, cedrus atlantica. Cedarwood is known as ‘the tree of life’ and the essential oil has a balancing effect on the nervous system. Many Tibetan temples were built with cedarwood. Cedarwood oil is grounding, and balances body and mind. It is ideal for use in meditation to relax, center and harmonize the mind. Simply burn a couple of drops in an oil burner before your meditation to help soothe and calm the head. Cedarwood oil stimulates the pineal gland which relates to Ajna Chakra, therefore burning a few drops of the oil will strengthen and open the mind and psyche. It is the perfect essential oil for any yoga studio or room; burning a couple of drops will dispel any negativity, and works particularly well at the end of a stressful day to calm and purify you and the space around you. It will also bring balance and stability to your yoga practice. To feel instantly balanced and calm, place a drop of the oil, mixed into a carrier oil, onto your palms, hold your hands over your nose and inhale deeply, celebrating the Equinox and all the changes that it brings. Avoid during pregnancy or if you have an acute kidney infection.

By Julia White (beautifulmindbeautifulbody.co.uk)

Yoga Teacher and Aromatherapist Julia White is a unique approach to Yoga; integrating Yoga, Ayurvedic principles, Aromatherapy and Essential Oils.

A range of Beautiful Mind Beautiful Body Aromatherapy products to balance you and the Ayurvedic Doshas is now available.

Julia runs Classes, Workshops and Retreats in the UK, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the Dead Sea.

07886 087440

www.beautifulmindbeautifulbody.co.uk


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Amazing spaces Stylish and inspiring studio design ideas and interiors Camyoga, Cambridge, England camyoga.co.uk Camyoga opened its first studio in central Cambridge in 2010, followed by another one, just south of the famous university city, two years later. Both offer a wide range of styles from Yin Yoga and Restorative to Ashtanga and Jivamukti. Featured here is the second site, Camyoga Shelford, which is the home of the company’s popular yoga teacher training program, as well as a full roster of workshops and other events through the week. An urban retreat for people to explore yoga and mindfulness with like-minded others, you can almost feel the shift in atmosphere as you enter this sanctuary-like space. The studios also offer regular satsang and kirtan (chanting) events. And there’s a large vegan cafe, with oodles of space to relax in, plus a small retail area with some goodies to buy including healthy snacks. Upstairs, the large loft studio, which is the main teacher training space, attracts esteemed teachers like David Swenson, Simon Low and Sarah Powers for sell-out workshops.

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om beginnings Natural Born Beauty

De-stressage

Relaxation and yoga...on horseback. By Denise Leicester I recently returned from a weekend of ‘destressage’: relaxation and yoga on horseback. I was looking forward to the experience but had no idea it would have such a transformative effect. I started my connection by stroking and brushing the horses (I sensed a real response to my oil blends, particularly the sandalwood and jasmine). I then mounted my horse and, with no reins or stirrups, began the yoga element: horse-based breathing, focusing on deep long exhalations with the intention as I breathed out to relax and flow. Horses use out breaths to convey intention and healing; they breathe over their foals to let them know they are safe. I felt my lymphatic system stimulated and began to notice a warmth spreading throughout me. It was at this point that I was overcome with the memory of a car accident; I froze and my horse followed suit. I was guided to breathe more deeply and move into a forward bend

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– something released as I did, and my horse started to walk. I progressed through the yogic postures at various paces: walk, trot and even canter. Having arrived feeling exhausted after a particularly busy week, I emerged two days later feeling empowered, joyful, transformed and more deeply connected to my inner abundance than I could have imagined. Horses are extraordinary, intelligent creatures that can ‘read’ human emotion; extremely empathic, they help with recovery and fostering change. They also communicate through intention and this is a powerful tool in horse healing and yoga. The use of horses in therapy can be documented thousands of years – Hippocrates referred to it as ‘hippotherapy’ (‘hippos’ in Greek meaning horse), and there has been an increase in physical (physio) and psychological equine therapy in recent decades. We know from neuroscience that a human’s and a horse’s limbic (emotional) brains have incredible

similarities; in mirroring our emotions, they teach us to regognize our feelings, connect more deeply within and tap into source.

Conscious Beauty

We so often put the intent on inhalation – filling the lungs with big fresh breaths – but it’s good to take the lead from the horse and remember that an exhalation that’s longer than the inhalation relaxes the body (nervous system) and therefore the mind. To echo and align yourself with ‘the horse breath’, use your preferred essential oil as you inhale, then meditate on peace and joy during deep long exhalations. While the process is enhanced breathing alongside an animal (a companion like a cat or dog), you could also focus on your heartbeat, inhaling for 3 beats and exhaling for 6 beats (whatever you feel comfortable with). It works…reap the relaxation rewards.

Denise Leicester is the founder of ila-spa.com


Expert Yoga Teacher Training

yo g a c e r t i f i c at e * * n e w yo g a d i p lo m a 2 0 0 h o u r yo g a d i p lo m a 5 0 0 h o u r courses for teachers Residential intensive or long courses available

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camyoga


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Dharma chameleon Keeping you comfortable, active and looking good whatever your Dharma

Freedom Flow Sports Bra, ÂŁ32.50 Snake Printed Leggings, ÂŁ50 dharmabumsactive.com

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om beginnings Freedom Flow Sports Bra, £32.50 Snake Printed Leggings, £50 dharmabumsactive.com

Disco Glitter Leggings, £50 dharmabumsactive.com

Freedom Flow Sports Tank, £55 Marble Printed Leggings, £55 dharmabumsactive.com

Retro Sports Bra, £32.50 Shattered Crystal Leggings, £50 dharmabumsactive.com

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om beginnings Freedom Flow Sports Bra, £32.50 Spectral Glitch Leggings, £50 dharmabumsactive.com

Freedom Flow SportsTank, £55, Spectral Glitch Leggings, £50 dharmabumsactive.com

Mesh Crop Top, £25 Golden Tiger Butterfly Leggings, £50 dharmabumsactive.com

Wholesale enquires welcome

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Planet yoga Stories from around the weird and wonderful world of yoga

USA

USA

Smart cookies

Yoga is the smart thing to do, a new study suggests. Research by students at the University of Illinois shows that just 20 minutes a day on the mat can stimulate brain function. The findings were based on observing people after a short Hatha yoga session. “Participants performed significantly better immediately after the yoga practice than after moderate to vigoros aerobic exercise for the same amount of time,” said lead researcher Neha Gothe in a statement. The findings were published originally in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

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Dirty Dancing

A famous hotel in New York state that inspired the 1987 film Dirty Dancing is set to become a plush yoga and wellness getaway. Indian billionaire, Subhash Chandra, the chairman of Essel Group, wants to turn Kutsher’s Country Club into a $250 million yoga center for wealthy New Yorkers. Work is now underway at the site, by a lake in the Catskills Mountains, about 2.5 hours drive from the Big Apple. Chandra, who has a reported net worth of $2.8 billion, hopes to open his center next year on June 21, international yoga day. He called it a “no-brainer”, investing in America’s booming health industry.

Yoga can ‘cure’ gays

Yoga can “cure homosexuality”, according to controversial Indian guru Baba Ramdev. The yoga pioneer, who has millions of followers, has claimed it can help “stop wrong sexual practices” like homosexuality, espousing a common view held in the country. “Homosexuality can be cured through yoga,” Ramdev said, cited in a June 18 report by Bloomberg. “This will return a man towards natural sexual behavior.” The notion that homosexuality is a curable illness has been discredited around the globe for decades. However, an Indian court in 2013 upheld a law passed in the 1800s that criminalizes gay sex in a setback for homosexual rights.


om beginnings Fire warning

Unemployed yoga teachers in Dehradun in Uttarakhand, India, threatened to set themselves on fire recently in protest against government plans for the promotion of the ancient discipline in the state. The practitioners’ wanted representation on a committee tasked with a preparing a road map for promoting yoga. They are also angry about government plans to hire part-time instructors “when nearly 22,000 fully qualified teachers are without jobs”, said Rakesh Semwal, state president of the yoga qualified unemployed federation, cited by The Times of India recently.

India

Japan India

Matchmaking monk

A Japanese monk who organizes regular yoga sessions at his temple, has introduced a nun matchmaking service. The idea is to help Japan’s 75,000 temple families hit hard by the nation’s demographic decline. Masataka Sekine, a monk from Shibata in Niigata prefecture, northwest Japan, has launched the service in collaboration with Tokyo matchmaking company Two Ai Links. Sekine organizes yoga and Italian organic cuisine at his temple in order to attract younger generations. Falling Japanese fertility rates means the country’s population has shrunk for five years in a row.


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loves Y

Love & Peace

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QiYoga: For Pregnancy DVD

Ideal for yoga teacher trainers showing moves for all trimesters. Unlike other prenatal yoga classes, this is designed to improve fitness, strength, stamina and wellbeing in addition to breathing. Special OM offer £11.99 inc p&p qiyogafoundation.com/dvds

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‘Me & My Baby Stretching Together’

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om beginnings

Pregnancy Yoga Series DVD

Renowned yoga teacher Katy Appleton presents her pregnancy yoga DVD devised to support and inspire you through your pregnancy. £15 appleyoga.com

Pregnancy Yoga with Tara Lee

Following on from the best selling and highly acclaimed Pregnancy Health Yoga DVD, Tara Lee has devised a DVD containing a new program of yoga including breathing and stretches specifically tailored for pregnancy. This new pregnancy yoga DVD is suitable for all levels and stages of pregnancy to build strength and confidence throughout pregnancy. amazon.co.uk £24.99

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om body

Awaken & Expand A powerful heart-opening sequence toward Eka Pada Rajakapotasana. By Meagan McCrary

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (one legged king pigeon pose) is an extremely deep backbend that requires a strong commitment in the legs, a dynamiclift of the spine and an energeticexpansion across the heart — evoking strength, vulnerability and grace. While this sequence builds toward the advanced backbend, don’t worry if you don’t make it to the final pose, you’re still reaping the benefits. This entire sequence is designed to open your shoulders, chest,

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Model & sequence: Meagan McCrary (meaganmccrary.com) Photos: Nir Livni Photography (bigcameraman.info)

Crescent Lunge

Begin in a high lunge position with your front knee bent directly over your front ankle and your back heel high over your back toes. Hugging your legs towards one another for stability, inhale, bring both hands to your hips, press down into both feet and lift up through your torso. Exhale and square your hips to the front of the mat. Inhale and reach your arms overhead; exhale and draw back through your collarbones. Inhale and lift your heart and gaze up. Keep the front knee bent and your legs active as you extend your spine. Take a few breaths.

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hips and thighs, increase core and leg strength, extend your spine and awaken your heart chakra. Warm up with a few rounds of moon salutations (Chandra Namaskar), a gentler variation of the sun salutations (Surya Namaskar), taking an extra breath or two in cobra pose to soften the place between your shoulder blades and curl your heart forward and up.


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Humble Warrior

From crescent lunge with your arms overhead exhale into warrior II, lowering your back heel and turning open to the side. With your front knee still bent over your front ankle, interlace your fingers behind your back. Inhale, draw up through the sides of your body and pull back through your outer shoulders. Exhale and bow inside your front leg. Strongly press into the outer edge of your back foot and open your front knee toward the pinkie-toe side of your foot. Keep drawing the outer upper arms back and release the crown of your head toward the floor for a few breaths in humble warrior.

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Reverse Warrior

Press down into both feet, inhale and rise back up into warrior II. Exhale and turn your front palm up. Inhale and reach your front arm overhead, palm facing the back of the room, and rest your back hand lightly on your back leg. Exhale, reach your front inner thigh forward and press into the outer edge of your back foot. Inhale, draw back through your top shoulder and turn your heart up towards the sky. Take a few breaths in reverse warrior and repeat 1-3 on the second side.

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Low Lunge Variation

Coming into a low lunge with your back knee behind your back hip so that your thighbone is at an angle to the floor and your front foot flat under your front knee. Inhale and bring both forearms up to your front knee. Bow forward slightly and bend the back knee deeper, lifting the foot off the floor. Grab a hold of your back foot with the same side hand, bringing the inner edge of the foot toward the outer edge of the hip. Inhale and extend your spine up; exhale and deepen the front knee. Hold for 8-10 rounds of breath and repeat on the second side.

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Dolphin Pose

From tabletop position on all fours, place your elbows under your shoulders with your forearms parallel and palms flat on the mat. Spread your fingers and press down through the pads or your thumb and index finger. Curl your toes under, inhale and slowly begin to lift your knees off the floor, taking your hips up and back. Keep the knees slightly bent, tilt your sitting bones up toward the ceiling and allow your heart to soften down toward the floor. Press your elbows down and hug them toward one another as you widen your collarbones. Press back and up through the tops of both thighs to keep a long spine. Take 5 rounds of breath and repeat.

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Bow Pose

Locust Pose

Lying face down on your stomach with your legs extending straight back and your forehead on the floor, interlace your fingers behind you. Inhale and shrug your shoulders toward your ears; exhale and take your outer arms and elbows up toward the ceiling. Inhale and lift your head, chest, legs and feet off the floor. Exhale and lengthen through the back of your neck; inhale and lift up through the base of your skull. Take a few breaths, reaching your legs back and your belly and heart forward, and engaging your shoulder blades on your back.

Exhale and release back to the floor with your forehead down. Bend your knees, bringing your heels toward your sitting bones, reach your hands back and grab a hold of your feet or ankles (if you are less flexible hold onto the tops of your feet, more flexible hold onto your ankles). Inhale and lift your outer arms up, drawing your shoulder blades back. Hug your inner thighs toward one another, spread your toes and flex your feet. Inhale and, with a firm grasp on your feet or ankles, strongly kick your feet away from your buttocks, pulling your upper torso and head off the floor. Hold for five rounds of breath and repeat.


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Mermaid Pose

Start in pigeon pose with your left knee bent slightly wider than your left hip and your right leg extending directly behind your right hip. Inhale, draw both legs toward one another for stability and bring your hands to your hips (or place your front hand on a block outside of your front hip). Actively square your hips to the front of the mat and find your balance. Bend your back knee and bring your heel toward your buttocks. Reach back with your right hand and hold onto the inner edge of your right foot. Take a few breaths and then slide the foot inside the crease of your elbow with your back toes pointing straight up. Inhale, reach your left arm up, bend the elbow and grab hold of the back of your head. If it’s available, lock your fingers together. Lengthen your tailbone down and lift up through your chest. Take five breaths as you balance, lift and curl your heart up. Release into a forward fold.

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One Legged King Pigeon Pose

Start in pigeon pose, draw your legs toward one another for balance and support and lift up through your spine. Place your left hand either on the floor or block outside your front hip. Bend your back knee and bring your heel toward your buttocks. Turn your right palm up like you’re holding a tray, widen your right collarbone, externally rotate your arm, and with your right fingers turned out to the side grab hold of the outer edge of your right foot. Pause. Inhale, actively hug your legs in and up and lift through the sides of your body. Holding onto the outside of your foot, begin to turn your elbow in toward your chest and then up towards the sky. Continue to squeeze your legs toward one another and bring your left hand to your right foot, pointing your left elbow straight up. Lengthen your tailbone down and lift up through your chest. Take five breaths as you balance, lift and curl your heart up. Release and step back into downward facing dog pose.


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Beginner Fire Log Pose INTRODUCTION: Fire Log pose is an intense hip opening pose. It stretches the groins and hips whilst relieving anxiety and stress. Proceed with caution if you have tight hips or knee/ankle injuries and provide additional support with bolsters as required. INSTRUCTIONS: Sit on your mat in a crossed leg position. You may sit on a folded blanket or block if it is more comfortable to do so.

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Stack your legs, so that your right ankle is directly above your left knee and your right knee is directly above your left ankle. Flex your feet. Your shins should be stacked like fire logs. If your right knee is lifting, place a block or pillow underneath to offer support. If you are comfortable fold forward keeping both sitting bones down. Breathe deeply and hold for 5 breaths. Stay in the forward fold and walk your hands over to the right hand side, for 5 breaths. Then, walk your hands over to the left hand side, for a further 5 breaths. Repeat with the left leg on top.


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Intermediate Firefly Pose (Tittibasana) INTRODUCTION: Tittibasana requires open hips and hamstrings, an engaged core, whilst simultaneously being an arm balancing posture. Prepare for Tittibasana by taking some hip, hamstring and core postures, for example Upavistha Konasana, Baddha Konasana and Navasana. Bakasana is useful to prepare for the arm balance. Avoid this posture if you have any shoulder, elbow, wrist or lower back injuries.

INSTRUCTIONS: From downward facing dog jump your feet to the outside of your hands. Bend your knees and walk your hands back, tucking your shoulders beneath your thighs. Keep your hands shoulder distance apart and keep pressing the heels of your hands into the mat. Start to sit back onto your upper arms, engage your inner thighs as you hug your thighs into your arms. Continue to lower and allow your feet to float off the mat pointing your toes. Take your gaze forwards. To exit the pose you may lower down as you entered or transition through bakasana to chaturanga, taking a vinyasa.

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Advanced Chakorasana INTRODUCTION: Chakorasana is an advanced asana that requires the ability to place your foot behind your head as well as the inner strength to lift up. It may take a long time, even years before a pose such as Chakorasana can be successfully practiced. Take time opening your hips and developing your strength first. Avoid this posture if you have tight hips and any shoulder, elbow, wrist or lower back injuries.

Courtesy of StudioLiveTV Claire Berghorst: studiolivetv.com/justloveyoga

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INSTRUCTIONS: From a seated position, place your right foot behind your head. In order to do so, straighten your right leg and point your toes up towards the ceiling, externally rotating from the hip, keeping your sitting bone grounded down and connected with the mat. Start to bend your knee as you place your foot behind your head. Lift your left leg up towards the ceiling and point your toes. Press your hands down into the mat, keeping your fingers spread wide and the heels of your hands down. As you inhale press through your hands as you lift yourself up off the mat. Take your gaze up towards your left toes and hug your left thigh in towards your midline.


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Email: SuryalilaYoga@gmail.com 39


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OM meets...

Sarah Powers

US yoga instructor Sarah Powers is in Europe this month. Here, she tells OM that yoga has brought her lifelong tools for self-development and peace of mind

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om body I began practicing yoga in college I knew I was carrying a lot of stress in my body and mind but I was not sure how to change. In one tense scene in the film Always But Not Forever, Patti Townsend was in the middle of breaking up with her husband. After an agitated conversation, she walked into her garden and laid out a cotton rug. Her breath slowed and she began moving into these beautiful shapes very purposefully, generating what looked like full body empowerment and some kind of self-reflection. I had never seen anyone spend time with themselves in this way and remember thinking: I need that. I was living in west LA at the time, and, as life would have it, when I went to the yoga school (YogaWorks, near my house), Patti was the yoga teacher there. Although I was very young, I felt like I had come home to something intimately familiar and powerful that would grow me (so to speak) my whole life.

run away from discomfort, nor strive after enjoyment, as both were inevitable aspects of life. I grew to appreciate a much wider bandwidth of sensations while developing a body-centered inner ground to live from. These tools have been the bedrock for more psychological ease and present moment awareness, and have kept me exploring through my practice ever since. I am simply sharing my practice out loud For me, my yoga and my teaching are one and the same. I offer both an active, alignment-based slow flow guided by breath awareness, as well as holding floor poses for many minutes at a time in order to enhance the organ and meridian systems. I like to emphasize not only the cultivation of the pranic body, but also training our minds to track our moment-to-moment experience in a curious and inclusive way. I also teach

mindfulness meditation, and since I am trained in psycho- therapeutic methods of inquiry, I bring psychological themes into the yoga room in the form of contemplations while holding yin poses. My style is a cross pollination of yoga, Buddhism and psychology, which I have come to call Insight Yoga. My husband Ty and I co-direct the Insight Yoga Institute which is an interdisciplinary approach to lifelong learning through daily practice and study. We teach these methods in the context of silent practice retreats and trainings around the world for practitioners and teachers who are interested in exploring the intersection between these wisdom traditions in their own practice and teaching style. I love being a practitioner and student I go to meditation teachers and sit on silent retreats often, and I enjoy having juicy discussions with other teachers or students I mentor as well as being with my close friends

I met lots of inspiring people in those early days I feel fortunate to have been around lots of people in those days who were passionate about all aspects of yogic life. Teachers and students alike hung out and practiced together, ate together, discussed and debated various traditions or the meaning of life together. Many of the people around Santa Monica at that time are now the senior American yoga teachers traveling the world. I was in my mid twenties and it was a very rich time. For seven years non-stop I took yoga workshops and trainings almost every weekend, studying alignment-based Iyengar as well as yoga therapy (called Viniyoga at the time), while practicing Ashtanga at home or in Mysore classes during the week.

“I feel fortunate to have been around lots of people in those days who were passionate about all aspects of yogic life.� I learned a lot about myself during those years My early teachers emphasized conscious slow diaphragmatic breathing that not only calmed my anxiousness, but also elevated my energy in new ways. They taught us to use the poses to get to know our bodies, instead of using our body to perform a pose. This noncompetitive, inquisitive approach reshaped the way I related to pain and pleasure, teaching me I did not have to

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om body and family. I also read a lot, and love being in nature, especially by a warm ocean. I equally enjoy cities and the times I live in NYC, going to restaurants, plays, museums and live music. I like to stay abreast of world politics, the global environmental crisis, the inequality of women, and how to better educate our global children. I love offering people inner resources for a healthy, happier life and have created a program with a friend of mine to help bring yoga and mindfulness to young women in communities where they are less likely to have these options. We recently traveled to the mountains of South Africa, in KwaZulu-Natal, and led a retreat for 15 Zulu girls there between the ages of 12 and 20. We plan to help the two participants that were exceptionally inspired to come to one of my teacher trainings. Our plan is to go to many other countries and expose more young women to these inner assets.

SEPTEMBER SCHEDULE

Sarah Powers will be in Europe this month at the following locations: Yin/Insight Yoga Silent Retreat: A Closer Look at the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness September 11-17 Moulin de Chaves in Bordeaux, France, Retreat full moulindechaves.org

Yin/Insight Yoga Workshop September 19-20, 2015 Camyoga in Cambridge, England camyoga.co.uk Yin/Insight Yoga Workshop September 25-27, 2015 Spirit Yoga in Berlin, Germany spirityoga.de

My own practice is very important to me For me, yoga and daily life are not two separate things, still, I do feel it is essential to carve out daily time for a formal practice. Waking up without having conversations with others, or checking my iPhone allows me to give my full attention to the inner worlds of body and mind for a few hours each morning, before coming out and attending to the diverse and complex outer world of events and relationships. I like intense practice, as well as intensive teaching, where I am with the same students for hours a day, day after day, which is why most of my teaching is offered in retreat settings now. Yoga can help us achieve optimal living I feel we all need an immense amount of encouragement and support in order to take responsibility for intentional living. Many of us will need an abundance of kind assistance in order to heal our psychological wounds, as well as our guilt, shame, or sense of inadequacy. In order to live from our greater potential, we will need to develop a regular self-led practice that helps us learn to see and un-fixate from our habits of reactivity and complacency, as well as one that skillfully allows us to inhabit and enjoy our body and mind, flaws and all. Yoga (as an integral practice) is a way in, and a way out. Yoga has become far more popular today On the one hand, it is great that yoga has become mainstream now so that many more people come into contact with this ancient system of self healing, self care, and self inquiry. When I began in the 80’s there were

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Sarah and husband, Ty


om body very few yoga centers in the world and barely anyone I spoke to knew what it was. However, those who were doing yoga were genuinely curious about the nature of reality and were passionately seeking ways to understand themselves and life more intimately. Now, although there are lots more styles and teachers available than before, in many ways, I feel there is less quality. There are so many teachers who have not practiced very long or with much depth that are leading teacher trainings now, and that was not happening before. In the past, people would have had to practice yoga sincerely in all its dimensions for at least a decade or more before considering themselves qualified to guide trainings. When we develop a skillful self-practice, over time, our teaching will simply be an extension of our personal exploration, the cultivation that comes from repetition. In the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit the importance of cultivation was called Bhavana, meaning to bring into being. It is a gradual, developmental process with no shortcuts. Eventually, what we uncover and begin to understand lives in our bones, so to speak, and we can share this with others when teaching. It seems today that too many yoga teachers are just making a career shift rather than coming from a committed curiosity about life and a depth of developed practice. And of course, the orientation of the teacher affects all the students. Yoga still has that potent power to effect change Although there is a more diverse spectrum of people practicing yoga today than ever before, on the bright side, I do feel yoga has the potential to unexpectedly infiltrate many people’s lives and begin to change them from the inside out. Some people might go to a class for a good workout, or because of an injury, or stress related issues, while others arrive to ameliorate their depression, develop a new architecture of the body, or to become quiet inside and reconnect with an inner sense of peace. Ideally, yoga has the potential to positively affect all these many issues, eventually spreading to include all the facets of one’s being, whatever the initial motivation was. I am optimistic that as more people join in this practice of cultivating a body-centered presence, there will be less suffering and more creative engagement in the world. I feel immensely grateful that living a life of yoga can enrich us in ordinary moments and towards each other. My hope is that more people turn within and develop contemplative practices for insight and wisdom to flourish.

I have so many memorable yoga moments We live in northern California near a maximum-security prison. My husband, Ty, and I were invited to come in and teach the inmates who were enrolled in the Insight Prison Project. These were men with life sentences; many for crimes against women. Although they had been in the program for a few years by the time I arrived, they had not had a woman teacher at that point. I was asked to teach them for two hours, and then a few weeks later, Ty would come in. One thing that stood out for me when I first met the men was how clean and cordial they were. I suppose, from films, I had the impression they would be grubby and ill tempered, but it was the opposite. They each wanted to introduce themselves, engage in meaningful dialogue about yoga, and let me know how appreciative they were of my visit. While I walked among them, giving them light hands-on instruction throughout the class, I was hyper aware of my body movements, reminding myself this was not an ordinary class, nor were these everyday students. After the postural session and some meditation, I saved time for a discussion. I felt particularly struck by a handsome Latino man in his 60’s who seemed to generate awe and respect from the group. Like a mafia don, he confidently strolled in after everyone else was present, winked at me, and spread his mat out right in front. I enjoyed how he elegantly conducted himself throughout the session. Later, I heard that just that day he had been denied his sixth and last request for an appeal, yet his demeanor never belied any anger or disappointment that now, without a doubt, he would be spending his remaining years in this prison. His articulate responses during the lively interaction revealed a thoughtful man who was thoroughly enjoying what yoga and mindfulness could offer. With a twinkle in his eye, after softly shaking my hand on his way out, he put his arm around one of his fellow inmates in a fatherly way, and whatever he said to his comrade caused him to both beam and chuckle. When Ty arrived a few weeks later, the men knew they were meeting my husband next. As he had done before, the dapper regale man came in last, but this time he paused in front of my seated husband. He leaned in real close to him, and with a straight face said, ‘Good plan, sending your wife in first, have her check things out, make sure its safe and all!’

For more information on these events or to find out more about Sarah Powers visit: sarahpowers.com

Massage Therapy Diploma By Dawn Morse MSc

Sports Massage Therapy Diploma & Massage Therapy Certificate Wiltshire Based Courses Start February 2016 Yoga CPD Courses available including: Anatomy for Yoga & The Science of Stretching in association with Sally Parkes Yoga ‘Througherly enjoyed everything about the course, the content, the way in which it was delivered and the people’ - L.Reynolds, Senior Yoga Teacher

www.coreelements.uk.com


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Healing hands Massage therapy for yoga practice. By Dawn Morse

M

assage is a natural therapy that’s been used for thousands of years and remains a key method for treating many soft tissue or muscular ailments today. This can be seen in its simplest form when we bump into the side of a table, for instance. As adults, when we bump into an object, we often rub the affected area to reduce discomfort. With these instinctive principles massage therapy in many forms has become increasing popular in the western world. Many examples of massage therapy are now mainstream practice. These include: THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE: which uses light flowing massage techniques in order to induce a state of calm and relaxation SWEDISH MASSAGE: which uses slightly heavier flowing techniques to induce relaxation, whilst conditioning skeletal muscle SPORTS AND REMEDIAL MASSAGE THERAPY, OR DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE: which has a different aim as techniques are often applied with a firmer and concise application of alternative methods such as muscle energy techniques, soft tissue and myofacial release

Multiple benefits

Massage therapy can provide both physical and psychological benefits. In likeness with yoga practice, the psychological benefits of massage therapy include a reduction of stress and anxiety levels, through a calming effect on the nervous system, which can lead to an increase in the sense of wellbeing. Likewise, the physical application of deep tissue massage has been shown to increase the efficacy of the lymphatic and circulatory systems. This can lead to increased nutrient uptake within muscle and body cells through increased circulation of blood and increased elimination of waste products within the lymphatic system. Muscular and connective tissue tension can also be relieved through deep tissue massage, which can lead to an increased range of movement throughout the body and improved efficiency of muscular contractions. This can result in increased muscular endurance and functional strength. As a result of all these benefits, many yoga teachers and practitioners find that massage therapy complements their yoga practice and teaching. One key reason for this is that massage therapy can reach areas within the body that may be difficult or inaccessible through a yoga practice. It means massage therapy, combined with yoga practice, can lead to further increases of body awareness, flexibility and stability within the neuromuscular systems, and reduced muscular tension.

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om body Massage advocates

Here are some first hand comments from yoga practitioners and teachers supporting this beneficial yoga and massage therapy connection. “Deep tissue massage eases tensions in areas I would ordinarily struggle with” Sonya D.B, Chippenham “When I feel a niggle somewhere it hinders my yoga practice as I don’t want to make things worse. After massage the niggle is often gone and yoga practice becomes more comfortable again” Anthea R, Swindon “With arthritic knees, I find regular yoga practice and massage really helps my muscles to support my knees” Rochelle C, Chippenham Comments such as these help to explain the increased demand for massage therapy and its increased popularity at yoga retreats and holidays. As a result many yoga teachers themselves are now training

in deep tissue massage therapy in order to provide treatments to class members or at yoga retreats.

Deeper Meaning

On another, deeper level, these comments are supported in essence by the Hatha Yoga Pradipika text which recommends that the practitioner massage him or herself after performing strenuous pranayama. Although this refers to the efforts of pranayama, asana practice also produces heat and exertion throughout the body, therefore inferring that the modern day yogi can benefit from self massage or professional deep tissue massage after yoga practice. In essence, therefore, deep tissue massage can complement a yoga practice, through the further stimulation of the circulatory and lymphatic systems and by further reducing muscular tension and increasing range of movement. Massage therapy can also be used in combination with yoga to support specific mobility conditions and aid recovery after asana practice.

Dawn Morse is a sports science and therapy lecturer, senior yoga teacher and proprietor of Core Elements Yoga, Pilates & Massage Therapy (coreelements.uk.com)

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om body How to do

YOGA

Stretchasana Stretch, strengthen and stimulate that body This sequence is moving from camel pose (Ustrasana) to pigeon pose (Kapotasana). It is a deep back bending pose that can be challenging at first, where the hands and feet connect the upper and lower appendicular skeleton. The final pose kapotasana tones the spine, massages and strengthens the heart and stimulates the genital organs, keeping them healthy. Benefits: n s tretches the entire front of the body, ankles, thighs and groin n stretches deep hip flexors n s timulates the abdominal organs and strengthens the heart.

1 Kneel on the floor with knees hip width apart and thighs perpendicular to the floor. Rotate the thighs slightly inwards. Press the shins and the tops of the feet firmly into the floor.

3 Now reach the right hand down to the right heel and the left hand to left heel. Inhale, lift the chest, roll the shoulders back and down and relax the head back while keeping the thighs perpendicular to the floor.

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Cautions: n n ot recommended for those suffering from high or low blood pressure or those with a tendency to suffer from migranes. n a void if you have serious low-back or neck injury.

2 Rest the hands on the back with the palms just above the buttocks, fingers pointing down.

4 Camel pose (Ustrasana)

Press the palms firmly against the heels, with the base of the palms on the heels and the fingers pointing towards the toes. Lift the breastbone and push the pelvis forward, keeping the thighs vertical. Stay in this pose for 30-60 seconds.


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5 From here, roll shoulder blades against the back and lift the chest. Keep the chest lifted and gradually release the head back.

6 Raise the arms over the head towards the floor behind you. Push the hips forward enough to counterbalance the backward movement of the upper torso and head. Keep the thighs as perpendicular to the floor as possible as you drop back. Place the palms on the floor, fingers pointing towards the feet, then lower the crown of the head towards the floor.

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Pigeon pose (Kapotasana)

Press the palms down, lift the head off the floor and raise the hips, lifting the pelvis as much as possible. Lengthen and extend the upper spine and walk the hands to the feet. As you do so, lower the forearms to the floor. If possible, grip the ankles. Draw the elbows towards each other until they’re shoulder width apart, then press them firmly onto the floor. Extend the neck and place the forehead on the floor. Take a full inhalation to expand the chest. Then, exhaling press the shins and forearms against the floor, lengthen the tailbone towards the knees and lift the chest, hold the pose for 30 seconds or longer. Then release and lift the torso back to an upright position. Rest in child’s pose for a few breaths.

Words & model: Laura-Kate Brown (laurakateyoga.com) Photos: Luke Ayling (woodslodgestudios.co.uk)

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YOGA THERAPY Psoriasis

Practical yoga therapy The Problem The Solution Psoriasis is a condition which causes an The cause of the increased cell turnover and techniques to start you inflammation of the skin. It can flare up at skin inflammation is not known. In some cases anytime and usually manifests as patches it may be heredity; another theory is that the on the road to health: (plaques) of red, scaly skin. Psoriasis is not immune system may be overreacting in some physically, mentally, contagious and not due to infection. The way to cause the inflammation. Research severity is variable from person to person: to try to find the exact cause. emotionally and spiritually. for some it is a mild symptom, for others, it is continues Stress, low immunity, medication, smoking, more noticeable and extreme. Chronic plaque alcohol and hormonal changes can aggravate By Sarah Swindlehurst psoriasis is the most common type, although there are different kinds of psoriasis.

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psoriasis and so addressing these issues could help the condition. Yoga will also encourage a healthier less stressful lifestyle which in turn will help.


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Extended side angle pose (Utthita Parshvakonasana)

Yoga Chi energy squats

Standing with the feet wide apart and the toes pointing slightly outwards. Inhale deeply through the nose and then exhale slowly, bend the knees and squat down. Keep the chest lifted and the spine upright. Do this with eyes closed or just relaxed. Inhale as you straighten the legs up, and again exhale as you squat down. Keep the arms and shoulders relaxed at all times. Just let the arms hang down in front of the body, in between the legs. Repeat this as many times as you like. Relax afterwards. The idea is that you move very slowly to calm your sympathetic system. Affirmation: I am calm and gentle with myself (inhale/exhale)

Yoga Extended side angle pose (Utthita Parshvakonasana)

Stand with your feet a wide distance apart. Point your right foot to the right so that the feet are 90 degrees to each other. Inhale and bring the arms up to the sides and to shoulder height. Keep the chest lifted as you lean to the right and exhale, place the forearm on the right thigh (not on the knee), or eventually place the hand down on the floor on the right side next to the foot. Inhale and stretch the left arm upwards and along in front of the head – keep the arm and hand slightly in front of the head so no strain on the neck. Exhale and gently turn your head to look up towards the palm of the left hand. Turn the head to the side if you feel strain on your neck. Hold here for three breaths and then inhale come up and out. Repeat on the other side. Affirmation: I release any deep aggravations (exhale) and restore my whole being (inhale)

Yoga Extended child (Balasana)

Kneel with the knees slightly apart and the toes together. Inhale reach forwards and place the hands on the floor. Exhale fold down and place your forehead on the floor. Inhale and turn the palms upwards. Exhale and release the shoulders. Breathe deep

conscious breaths and stay like this for as long as you like. Affirmation: I receive all the goodness life has to give (on the inhale)

Meditation Healing with white light

Starting sitting or lying down. Focus on your breathing for a few breaths. After a while imagine a luminous bright white light is above the crown of your head. Then imagine that it is sprinkling petals of white light all over your shoulders, head and neck. Imagine this white light is soaking into your skin and flowing through your entire body, so your body ends up being covered in healing white light, shining very brightly. Sit imagining this for as long as you can. Then allow the image of the white light to fade away, leaving the body cleansed and vibrant. Breathe a few gentle breaths and then slowly open your eyes.

What your body is saying

It is possible the condition of psoriasis is an outward manifestation of something deeper going on. It would be worth looking over your nutritional intake as well as your lifestyle choices. The practice of yoga and its many healing modalities will help you release any unconscious angers, frustrations, sadness or fears gently and at a natural pace in which you can restore yourself to a whole healthy being. Be kind to yourself in all moments, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and you could see an improvement in your skin condition.

Sarah Swindlehurst is the founder of The Yogic Prescription (theyogicprescription.com)

Nutrition

Eating a diet that is non inflammatory will help with symptoms. Eating a diet rich in vegetables and less in simple/refined carbohydrates such as white rice, pasta, cakes, biscuits, sugars etc, will be beneficial. Use butter, olive oil, and coconut oils for some essential fats, rather than trans fats such as margarine which can encourage inflammation in the body. Adding antiinflammatory spices to your foods will help, such as turmeric and ginger. Drink lots of filtered water to flush your system out daily.

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Yoga A-Z M is for meditation. By Carole Moritz

In yoga we go forward and backward, sideto-side, up and down, left and right, pose and counter-pose, breath-to-movement, and movement-to-breath. But what’s the point of all that movement if it’s not countered with stillness? Scientific research is catching up to show that mind and body practices such as yoga and meditation are inseparable bedfellows. Sitting is rigoros, even for just five minutes. Asanas help get the wiggles out. My hummingbird mind flits with to-do lists, causes and dramas and sudden itches that need scratching. My thoughts are like a noisy freeway. But if I give myself permission to sit long enough, in 10-15 breath cycles, the breath

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starts to find its way into nooks and crannies, sticky muscles and gripping hip creases. Like a magic spell, the focus turns inward to trace the refreshing coolness of the inhale in my sinuses, and the soothing warmth of the exhale. The need for an incessant narrative of the experience fades with each breath and the attention returns to the present moment to find relief and comfort in even just a fleeting moment to simply be. Mindfulness guru Jon Kabat-Zinn proffers meditation as a practice that “leads to a re-befriending of yourself and a re-iginiting of passion for the life that is yours to live and for the path that is yours to walk.”

But in our go-go-go world, some days, the mind is like a rock and roll concert. It’s loud, and raucous. No point in fighting it: better off to go and blast some Led Zeppelin through the speakers. Try again later. The cool part about meditation is you don’t have to be on a mountain top or inside a Feng Shui studio. Maybe you’re busy carpooling all over town, or your day is crowded with meetings, but your breath is portable too, right? So, the next time you’re at a stop sign, take a breath. Feel it wash over you like a warm bath. You can ‘get there’ in one breath. There’s your yoga.


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Inside:

Page 52: On the Warrior’s Path Page 54: Move on up Page 55: Man on the mat

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On the

WARRIOR’S path A united approach to personal development: combining physical, mental and spiritual growth to become the best that you can be

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FM Simon Lee

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he preoccupation with looking good and feeling fit in our culture has been around for years. Increasingly, however, there is now a greater interest in mindfulness, meditation and other holistic health practices (including yoga) as people search for more purpose and meaning in their lives. However, for the most part, these two pursuits still seem largely separate from one another. One fitness and mental health guru wants to challenge this. Simon Lee teaches a unique mind, body, spirit program called ‘On the Warrior’s Path’ to give participants personal insight and courage, combined with physical fitness, to help sort out health issues in every area of their lives. His program draws on various Eastern philosophies, including yoga-style breath work, to improve physical performance, self-belief, mental focus, and a sense of purpose. The idea originates from when he realized he was working with people who initially came to him to get physically fit but uncovered the reason for their training was to overcome mental health issues like stress, workplace bullying, depression or an addiction.

Emotional bridges

Lee believes that breathing is one of the first ways we can start to understand and relieve our stressful emotional states. “Emotions are the bridge between the mind and the body and the ability to remain calm in one of life’s storms or stressful situations means we can remain connected to our innate wisdom that we all have,” he says. “When most people exercise, the breathing is usually led by what the body is doing whether this is gym work, running or walking to work. But if we deliberately switch this around and focus on slow deliberate breathing regardless of what we’re doing, movement is forced to slow, synchronise and follow the breath.” He says people are often amazed at how

much energy they save, and at how they start to feel every movement of their body, after doing this for just a few weeks or even days. “Breathing is also a stepping stone to creating mindfulness in a more dynamic environment rather than one that is reliant on a relaxed, catered for setting of relaxation.” He adds: “Once this is experienced, we can introduce greater speed of movement with stronger energy output but remaining synchronized with the breath. For weight loss, this is a highly effective method because it keeps you in the fat burning zone by not exceeding the breath and heart rate which leads to using sugar as a primary fuel.”

“Emotions are the bridge between the mind and the body and the ability to remain calm in one of life’s storms ” All about depression

One of the more common emotional states he encounters with clients is depression. This can be caused by a number of factors, but treating it in conventional healthcare is typically done through the use of antidepressants and psychological therapies. On The Warrior’s Path focuses on a

combination of physical, spiritual and mental fitness to focus the mind, and identify any root causes. “Depression in adulthood can often be caused by abuse, neglect or being an unfavored child,” says Lee. “This is usually accompanied by poor self confidence and low self esteem.” Lee believes that to really improve physical fitness, and to develop confidence simultaneously, the goal should not be to find a couple of hours a week to relax in a class, or to compare our biceps against others, but to regognize why constant practice, including mindful breathing, gives us strength. “The goal is to practice this philosophy throughout our day-to-day life to find real inner peace and mental strength. The training takes people on a journey that stretches them mentally, physically and spiritually.” Great athletes and warriors perform thousands of repetitions of a movement in order to master it and it is this that makes them the best, he adds. They do it regardless of emotional state because they know physical exercise is a gradual process of transformation that, in time, uncovers who we are and what we are capable of. It remains a potent means of learning how to act and live – regardless of our thoughts.

Find out more about Simon Lee and his On The Warrior’s Path course at Unlimited Courage (unlimitedcourage.com)

INNER STRENGTH

Having suffered bouts of depression throughout his life, Lewis Beazleigh (left), 33, turned to On The Warriors Path initially to get fit. In the end, he found out so much more about himself. “I found myself searching for some meaning in life but could not find any answers. These feelings became worse with age and the usual route of working with a counsellor did nothing to help my depression and self-esteem. My way of not facing up to how I felt was to become addicted to work. I worked long hours, seven days a week, which started to affect my health and mental state through exhaustion. I needed a physical outlet.” It has been a transformation. After setting up his own plumbing business, Beazleigh is now studying to become one of the first physical training instructors for the ‘Warriors’ course. “It made me realize how powerful the combination of philosophy, nutrition, fitness and meditation can be. It taught me how to attain personal freedom through a better understanding of myself; it has helped me regognize what I am capable of.” Simon Lee on Lewis Beazleigh: “When I first met Lewis I could tell right away he was sitting on a mountain of potential. Like many young men in modern life, self-esteem issues are seen as entirely negative but it is actually an incredible launch pad for personal growth. Lewis is the hardest training individual I have met and certainly the most physically talented. In addition, he already had integrity, honesty and courage, so the course really made these qualities shine. What he has demonstrated is that rather than trying to become someone or something else, he is actually becoming the best version of himself.”

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I DO YOGA

BEGINNER’S

BECAUSE

BLOG

NAME: David Pearce LOCATION: South East London OCCUPATION: A  ctuarial Systems Developer

“Yoga allows me to challenge myself, both physically and mentally. From a humble beginning of injury prevention, to an ongoing discovery and examination of body, mind, and breath; the longer I continue to practice, the more I get from it. It’s fun, limitless learning of oneself, encouraging you to then take that practice beyond the mat into the rest of life. Plus, the opportunity to learn from, share, and connect with awesome, like-minded people.”

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Moving on up

When is a beginner not a beginner? By Alex Ford At what point do you stop being a ‘beginner’ and enter the realms of the ‘intermediate’? Here, I am referring to yoga, of course, but the same probably applies to most other sports and disciplines as well, from tennis to kite surfing (whatever that is). This thought occurred to me recently during a class in which I noticed my range of stretching or movement had, ever so slightly, increased. It was almost imperceptible, even to me. Reaching down my back and over my shoulder with my right hand to clasp my left had always been possible for me, just. But doing it the other way, with my left hand above, frantically searching for my right hand fingers below, had always been beyond me. When I first started yoga, in fact, the gulf between the two seemed immense and unbridgeable. Yet I continued with my practice, never really convinced that it would be any different, despite my instructors telling me that bit-by-bit my body would open up in places I wasn’t even aware of to allow these new reaches to happen. And then, one day, there it was. My left hand reached down, as always, but this time my right hand fingers were actually there, within reach (just). It was quite odd actually. There was no fanfare, and no one else in the room (or outside the room) even knew. But I knew. Today, my body could do something that previously it hadn’t been able to. It was quite extraordinary really. Something, somewhere, had shifted in me to permit this increased range of motion. I’m sure any yoga teacher could’ve explained it in a flash, but for me, it was almost like magic. What I do know is that this ‘beginner’ is getting bendier.


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Man on the mat with Brendon Payne

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I) Benefits

The lengthening, static hold will create long lean muscles. This pose strengthens breath control. It improves your focus, circulation, respiratory function and balance.

Common Mistakes

Misalignment of the front leg is common. In an attempt to deepen the lunge, many times the knee will extend past the ankle (over the foot). Often people forget to square the hips. Squaring the hips allows release of muscular and skeletal strain.

Tips

Photo: Amanda Brooks McLatchie

n I t may be helpful to bring your hands to prayer, which will relieve pressure in the shoulders. n  To fully activate the arms and side body, rotate the pinky side of your arms inward.

Awareness

Like every pose, your alignment will be very important in this pose. Be sure to stack your joints, shoulder over wrist and knee over ankle. Keep the edge of your back foot pressed into the mat. This will help you keep that back leg strong and straight. Now you are reaching, twisting, pushing, stretching, and of course breathing. Body awareness is key as you are effortlessly doing many different things with your body.

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Photo: Natiya Guin (natiya.com)

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om pregnancy special

In the club Stay vibrant, healthy and alive during your pregnancy with some blissful, relaxing yoga

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t doesn’t matter how you got there (we really don’t want to know!) but now you’re pregnant. Congratulations! Wherever you are in your journey, yoga can help you get the most from it. It’s going to be a roller coaster ride for you and all your loved ones around you, so be prepared. Pregnancy, giving birth, and spending time with your newborn infant in the weeks and months afterwards should be an exciting and memorable time for all, not just something to be endured. Fast-changing bodies, growing babies, hormonal ups and downs - and crazy food cravings - will test you through the nine months. And, when your baby finally

arrives, you’ll need support to get you back on your feet again. It’s a wonderful time of life but not one without its challenges. Pregnancy yoga is a great solution, not just for the health and wellness benefits, but also for the social connections, which are very important at this time. During pregnancy, yoga can help you hold better posture and stay as fit, strong and flexible as possible. It can also help reduce any stress and anxiety, and maintain strength for labor and birth. Afterwards, it makes postnatal recovery easier. Keep that vibrant glow of yours throughout with a bit of gentle stretching. Read on to discover all that’s fabulous about pregnancy yoga.

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Pregnancy and yoga practice

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regnancy can be a challenging time for a mother as so many physiological and psychological changes occur through the weeks. Regular yoga practice can help, both with life in general, and with the physiological changes, as multiple benefits are received. Yoga practice provides the ideal opportunity to reconnect with the changing shapes of the pregnant body whilst helping to maintain strength and posture, and reducing tension that can occur through the changing position of the spine and pelvis. Breathing techniques can also help to increase energy stores and feelings of rejuvenation. During pregnancy, many women experience a lack of energy as a result of hormone changes and the additional demands placed on the body which can lead to reduced levels of activity and muscular strength. Regular yoga practice during pregnancy can help to alleviate postural discomfort by helping to maintain and increase abdominal strength, which in turn improves support for the weight of the baby and the uterus. Through stronger abdominals, excessive separation of the linear alba is minimized, which helps to protect the spine during pregnancy and means that the mother is more likely to recover quickly after the birth.

o Reduced shortness of breath in the

Other benefits of yoga practice include: Increased cardiovascular and muscular endurance, which aid pregnancy and delivery. Improved posture, which helps to prevent lover back pain. Increased relaxation, decreased stress and anxiety and improved sleep.

o Development of varicose veins and deep

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Wherever you are in your pregnancy journey, yoga can help

o o

later stages of pregnancy and increased breathing efficiency during labor. Increased strength within the pelvic floor muscles, aiding childbirth. Reduced postnatal recovery time due to increased fitness of the mother.

Despite these benefits, many yoga teachers are uncertain about the advice they should provide to expectant mothers and if regular class members can continue with their current practice, or if they should transition to a specific prenatal class. Though uncertainty among yoga teachers exists, midwives and doctors actively recommend the uptake of moderate exercise and yoga during pregnancy. Research into aerobic and strength conditioning exercise supports these recommendations as results showed no increase of early pregnancy loss, late pregnancy complications, abnormal growth, or adverse outcomes due to the effect of physical activity and exercise participation. Indeed, lack of physical activity during pregnancy was also found to be associated with negative effects such as:

o Loss of fitness o Excessive maternal weight gain o Higher risk of gestational diabetes o Higher risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension

vein thrombosis

o Higher incidence of back pain and poor

psychological adjustment to the physical changes of pregnancy

With this in mind, medical guidelines advise that, during uncomplicated pregnancy, women should be encouraged to participate

in regular exercise and all women without contraindications should be encouraged to participate in aerobic and strengthconditioning exercise which minimize the risks of trauma and loss of balance. Though these guidelines are recommended in line with general exercise, they can be used in line with yoga practice. As in its very basic form Hatha yoga is a form of physical movement of the human body. Through asana practice the body develops muscular strength, endurance and flexibility. Scientific research into the effects of physical activity on the human body can therefore be applied and considered within the realm of yoga practice. For instance, as said by Patanjali, ‘mastery of yoga combines a balance of science and art, with knowledge of science being the color of the artist’s palette’. New practitioners to yoga should be encouraged to develop their practice slowly with the aim of maintaining physical fitness and body condition. Specific prenatal classes are ideal for this development and encourage a support network to aid the transition into motherhood. Those who are experienced yoga practitioners and not experiencing any adverse effects from pregnancy may feel comfortable to stay with their current practice with modifications to specific postures, such as deep abdominal twists, in order to accommodate the changing body. Expectant mothers should be encouraged to have the confidence to listen to their own body and its development, in order to maintain physical condition for labor and the post natal period. By Dawn Morse of Core Elements Yoga, Pilates & Massage Therapy (coreelements.uk.com)


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POSTNATAL BENEFITS

SOME BENEFITS OF PRACTICING POSTNATAL YOGA: Strengthens the back, abdominal and pelvic floor muscles Releases tension in the shoulder and neck muscles Improves posture Builds patience and a feeling of calm Decreases and helps to deal with stress Increases energy Helps women adjust to the many changes in their body

i i i i i i i

By Tara Lee (taraleeyoga.com)

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Everyday yoga for moms-to-be

by Fiona Kacz-Boulton

All of these poses are safe to do in all trimesters, especially in the third trimester when movement can be rather limited. However, it is essential that people do yoga variations to suit their body’s own limitations. Seek the advice of a suitably trained yoga instructor before you begin.

As we progress in the pregnancy, it becomes more difficult to breathe as the size of the baby begins to compress the lungs. A relieving stretch is one that elongates the torso. This movement helps to create space for both baby and mother whilst stabilizing the lower back and toning the core.

Fiona Kacz-Boulton is a yoga teacher trainer, fertility expert and the founder of QiYoga (QiYogaFoundation.com)

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om pregnancy special

Partner stretches to elongate the spine. Get similar benefits to downward facing dog without the risk of your baby becoming breach from too many inversions.

Cat variation poses. When doing cat stretches keep the thigh in-line with your spine to prevent adding strain to your lower back.

Can be done as a partner stretch or against a wall. Without putting strain on the lower back you can tone your gluteus muscles to help stabilize the back, tone the core and release the

Yoni Mudra: this is the mudra (hand gesture) that sends electrical signals to the whole of the reproductive system. It helps to boost fertility and keep your reproductive organs healthy throughout your pregnancy.

Taking time to meditate is essential for pregnancy health and wellbeing.

hip flexors.

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Before and after

Move through the trimesters, and beyond, with yoga. By Katy Appleton

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ith all the body’s incredible changes during the first trimester it understandably feels the need to cocoon itself and shut down in order to cope with the wonder that is evolving. Within this hibernation period it is still possible to do yoga but clearly only an appropriate practice, which will depend on whether a person has done yoga before, and their physical starting point. It is essential to work with a teacher that has trained extensively within the prenatal realm to be safe. As the baby grows, knowing how to adapt the physical postures for a changing body is of paramount importance. There is a combination at play of creating space, openness and strength throughout the body to promote a well of being within the structure as it goes through immense change. There is a mental and emotional approach also to cultivate in preparation for this rite of passage, offering contemplation and meditation time, for the building of mental and emotional strength, for the task ahead. As a pre and postnatal yoga teacher it is our duty to prepare and empower women, and demystify the story around the pregnancy and the birthing process. So women can go into these chapters armed with true knowledge; and to feel like they are making choices rather than having choices made for them. During the birth itself, yoga breathing, simple and effective movements and entering into a meditative state will be an essential tonic for inducing a sense of calm and focus; this allows the birth

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hormones to flow abundantly. Then, the most incredible life changing moment arrives and here they are. On the physical level, there’s been a huge event and the body is in serious recovery mode for many months to come. Some look to get back their physical shape as quickly as possible, and in order to do this safely and effectively the focus has to be on working from the inside out first, and yoga and pilates is perfect for this. For many women this can be one of the most joyous times within life, and for others it can be the most challenging due to the great change of lifestyle, flow of hormones and lack of a support network around them. The spectrum of emotion that flows during those early days swings so quickly from one to another. The community aspect that yoga offers is invaluable to these women, to just be a sounding board to what has been occurring. Created from a depth of knowledge the simple movements of postnatal yoga will make women feel physically and emotionally better, it’s so easy to create sequences that aren’t conducive to the recovering body, mind, therefore depleting rather nourishing. There’s so much great and appropriate yoga available to us online these days, which is wonderful for the postnatal mama, so they can totally do yoga at home. Just 10 or 20 minutes to resource ourselves, and be on our game is so incredibly essential and to model self care to our children. For they are a reflection of us, they are our dharma print and legacy for this world. Katy Appleton is the creator of appleyoga.com


om pregnancy special

Tara Lee’s Bump, Baby & Beyond Yoga for pregnancy, preparation for labour and support after the birth.

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om pregnancy special

Babies first

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How yoga can help with a smoother birthing experience

et’s talk about optimal foetal positioning. Babies that are well positioned in a woman’s pelvis at the end of the pregnancy can have a major influence on the birthing experience. A lot of women will work up to 36 weeks in pregnancy, often seated at a desk, leaning back in a chair. This seated position can cause the heaviest part of the baby (the back of the body) to fall towards the woman’s spine in the Occipital Posterior position (OP), or back-to-back, as it is sometimes called. So what does this mean and what are the implications?

Occipital Anterior position (OA)

Babies in the Occipital Anterior (optimal foetal position) have an easier passage through the pelvis. Women delivering in the OA position tend to have shorter and more comfortable labors, with rapid cervix dilation and efficient contractions. Ultimately, it means there is less likelihood of medical intervention or complications during the birthing process.

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Occipital Posterior position (OP)

Babies that are in the Occipital Posterior (foetal back towards the mother’s spine) have a much more difficult journey to make. Women delivering babies in an OP position tend to have ‘back labor’, longer deliveries, and will sometimes need medical intervention to assist them. Yoga can help encourage a baby to rotate into optimal position. Using yoga poses that are forward-leaning, or that are on all fours, especially during the last six weeks of pregnancy (or last two-three weeks with second and subsequent pregnancies), can help create space for a baby to move into an OA position. Yoga poses such as cat/cow, hip rotations, and pelvic floor rocking can all assist with this optimal foetal positioning and help babies on their journey into the world. By Cherie Lathey, director, Yoga Mama (yogamama.co.uk)


om pregnancy special

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Sukhasana with Anjali Mudra

Spinal Mobilizer

The calm zone

Calm, happy and stress-free: four poses for pregnancy by Sally Parkes Supported Savasana

Hip Stretch and Anjaneyasana

aliwphotography.co.uk

Supported Savasana

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om pregnancy special

regnancy is a wonderful and sometimes weird experience. Whilst it is a very calm and happy experience for some women, it can take other moms-to-be through a roller coaster of physical and emotional ups and downs. The asana below are specific to a pregnancy yoga practice and can help with fatigue, anxiety and back and hip ache.

Sukhasana with Anjali Mudra

Sit in sukhasana with the hips elevated on a cushion. Move the feet and ankles away from the pelvis a little to create some space in the hips and draw the crown of the head upwards until more space is felt in the spine and rib cage. Move the hand into anjali mudra and bring your awareness to the breath. Breathe slowly and deeply before moving in to ujjayi breathing. Reflect on how your body feels, how your baby feels, and be in the moment. Reflect on what you are grateful for and remain here for at least two minutes, focusing on the ujjayi breath.

Spinal Mobilizer

birthlight teacher training

1

Birthlight Teacher Training

Now rest your hands on the knees, palms face down. Inhale and draw the chest forwards, lifting the chin from the chest and allow the pelvis to tilt forwards a little. Feel the stretch through the front of the body. Now exhale and move the spine in the opposite direction by tilting the pelvis under, rounding the spine and drawing the chin in towards the chest. Let the arms straighten, still holding the knees and feel the stretch up the spine. Now keep moving the spine forwards and back for at least two minutes. Moving the spine in this way after quiet reflection will help to relieve anxiety, back ache and help lift fatigue.

Birthlight offers unique continuity of care from conception to the third year with simple yoga practices both on dry land and in water.

Hip Stretch and Anjaneyasana

For more details about the above courses please visit:

Begin in box position before placing the right foot to the outside of the right hand. Slowly let the hips sink forwards until you feel a stretch in the pelvis and the front of the left thigh. Let the elbows bend a little and relax the shoulders and neck. Inhale and move the hips back for a moment, exhale let the hips move forwards again. Repeat this movement for one minute, moving and breathing slowly. Now let the hips drop forwards and place the hands on the right thigh before stretching the arms up over head. Stretch the arms and spine directly upwards, feeling the stretch through the upper body. Lift the gaze towards the hands and let the hips sink further forwards until the spine is in a slight back bend position, always being mindful of the lower back. Pause for five ujjayi breaths. Place the hands back to the ground before repeating on the other side. This stretch will help to relieve hip and back ache and will increase energy levels.

Supported Savasana

This asana allows the mom-to-be to rest with her baby and it is of endless benefit to take your time with savasana. Ideally it should be at least 10 minutes at the end of a yoga practice or it can be a yoga practice in itself. Lying in regular corpse pose, however, can stress the lower back as well as compromise the mothers’ circulation from around 20 weeks, and so props should be used accordingly. From 20 weeks place some props (a bolster and block work well) underneath the spine and support the head and neck. The legs can be straight or in baddha konasana, with the arms resting out to either side. From 30 weeks, lie on your left side to take the weight of the baby off the spine and the vena cava (the vein that carries oxygen back to the heart). Support the right leg with a bolster and the head with a block or cushion for maximum comfort. Breathe deeply and enjoy this special time with your baby. Visit sallyparkesyoga.com for pregnancy teacher training information

Birthlight offers training in the following areas:

Birthlight’s overall approach is integrated and holistic, in partnership with mainstream health care. In today’s fast paced world, despite medical advances, ensuring the physical and emotional nurturing of pregnant women and new families remains a priority that’s so simple that it can be forgotten.

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There is increasing research evidence that positive experiences of pregnancy, birth and early parenting have numerous and lasting health benefits. From conception to the third year, parents can join birthlight classes at any point to create what we call an ‘expanding spiral of joy and wellbeing’.

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om pregnancy special

Get yourself together

PREGANCY YOGA TEACHER TRAINING WITH SALLY PARKES, BSC, SYT

How important is it to do the right exercises postnatally? By Tara Lee

I 80 HOURS

FULLY CERTIFIED

Brighton, UK 18th – 20th September plus 16th – 18th October 2015 Dubai, UAE 20th – 26th November 2015 2016 Brighton and London dates tbc “Sally is a wonderful teacher, patient, experienced and so much knowledge to share with her students. We all have the utmost respect for her as she takes time with everyone” S. Fryer (Yoga Teacher)

www.sallyparkesyoga.com

Teacher Training Retreats CPDs

n the first couple of months after having a baby, most women don’t partcularly feel like exercizing. The deep seated exhaustion from endless sleepless nights makes new mothers want to curl up on the sofa rather than roll out their yoga mats. This is a time to recuperate and adjust. Most countries encourage mothers to only bond and rest for the first few months after having their babies, whereas in our society, where postpartum depression is at an all-time high, women feel the need to keep going and return to their busy lives. Many women start to feel aches and pains setting in during this time. Back pain can develop, from lack of movement due to so much feeding. Tightness around the neck and shoulders is a common complaint from all the feeding and carrying of babies. Once new babies start to develop a routine and lack of sleep is less of an issue, many women are keen to get moving again. They feel motivated by the idea of taking up an exercise routine or getting back to their yoga practice to help release tension, improve their mood and get their bodies ‘back into shape’ again.

Slowly, gently

It is so important to start exercizing gently and slowly after the pregnancy and birth, not to do too much too soon and to do appropriate postnatal exercises and

movements. It is essential to rest properly and conserve enough energy for breast milk production as overdoing it can hinder postnatal recovery and diminish the milk supply making babies grouchy, hungry and unsettled. Most women do not realize that their bodies are still under the influence of pregnancy hormones for a long time after childbirth. It takes about 6 weeks for the first stage of soft tissue healing after delivery and will take abother 6-8 weeks for the ligaments and connective tissue to return to normal if women are not breastfeeding. For mothers who are breastfeeding, it can take a further 3 months after they stop nursing for the connective tissue to support the body in the same way it did prior to the pregnancy. Hitting the gym too soon will be counterproductive for many postnatal women. The abdominal and pelvic muscles need plenty of time to heal and if they don’t get this opportunity or are strained, practicing exercises such as sit ups or crunches can make the recovery longer. Strained muscles, tears or incisions can be aggravated by doing too much exercise, prolonging the healing process. On the other hand, being too sedentary can interrupt the normal flow of blood to the tissues, delaying healing and making women feel stiff and tired. Exercise and movement are important, but finding the right balance of effort and the correct type of exercise


om pregnancy special POSTNATAL TIPS FOR IMPROVING RECOVERY

AVOID ALL SUDDEN ABDOMINAL MOVEMENTS, like sitting straight up from lying down in bed. Roll over to one side and use your hands to come back up. This helps take the pressure off your abdominal muscles.

DO NOT DO ANY STRONG ABDOMINAL EXERCISES such as sit ups or crunches (these can cause diastisi recti). When bending down or lifting, always bend your knees. Massaging your abdomen will help speed up the healing pocess and help the abdominal muscles to start working again. Massaging the scar tissue area after a C section can speed up healing (once the stitches have been removed) if there is no pain in the area. DON’T LIFT ANYTHING HEAVIER THAN YOUR BABY Place a cushion underneath your baby when feeding so you don’t strain your back and develop a habit of good posture whenever feeding. Breathing exercises are great for alleviating muscular tension or pain in the back, neck and pelvis. If you think you may have diastisi recti (commonly referred to as abdominal separation), incontinence or pevic organ prolapse, consult a specialist women’s health physiotherapist for an examination and avoid any strenuous exercise C-SECTION TIPS AND CARE Take it easy Don’t wear tight clothing Avoid any deep back bends, lunges or wide legged positions. Be careful bending forwards or sideways Massage around your scar after 6 weeks Avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activity

i

i

i

i

i

i

will help women on their road to a speedy postnatal recovery.

Choose yoga

Yoga is a great choice for encouraging postnatal healing, if the correct postures and movements are used. Women should avoid too many wide legged poses (as during pregnancy) and should concentrate on postures such as twists which will massage the internal organs and help the muscles to reintegrate. Here are some suggestions for poses to use postnatally: Breathing/pranayama practices. Focus on the inhalation to counteract lethargy from sleep deprivation or focus on the exhalation to encourage relaxation and letting go of tension.

o

o

Tadasana with a block between the thighs to improve posture and lift and tone the pelvic floor.

o Vipariti karani (legs up wall) to soothe the nerves.

o Supported child’s pose for relaxation and to promote calm.

o Plently of chest openers including supta baddha konasana or supta virasana on a bolster.

o General restorative yoga poses during

the first few weeks of practice and then gradually move onto more strength building postures.

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o Bhujangasana (cobra pose) and

salambhasana (locust pose) will help regain strength in the back and abdominals.

o Sukhasana with a gentle twist helps engage the abdominal muscles.

o Viparita Namaskar (Reverse prayer pose,)

gomukhasana (cow face pose) and Garudasana (eagle pose) will help release tightness from the neck and shoulders.

o Panasana (supine knees to chest) to

release a tight back. Gently rock from side to side.

o Kegel exercises to help heal the pelvic floor and strengthen the muscles.

Join fertility and HYT expert

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A fertility specialist since 2007 and global leader in fertility yoga for a life transforming course, helping women achieve better health, harmony and even achieve their dream of parenthood

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o Savasana and Yoga Nidra are also very

important to allow new mothers time to relax fully and recuperate. This may be the only chance they get to focus on their own needs.

These postnatal yoga tips are from the new Postnatal Yoga DVD with Tara Lee. Visit: taraleeyoga.com

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om pregnancy special

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om pregnancy special

Take good care of yourself Eating right is just as important as yoga and rest during pregnancy, says Fiona Kacz-Boulton

G

et an extra 300 calories a day in your second and third trimesters; focus on organic foods so you get twice the essential nutrients as commercially farmed produce.

Remember to include:

CALCIUM (1,000 MILLIGRAMS): May help prevent pregnancy-induced high blood pressure. Sources: dark leafy greens and sesame seeds (tahini). MAGNESIUM (350 MILLIGRAMS FOR WOMEN AGES 19 TO 30; 360 MILLIGRAMS FOR AGES 31 TO 50): Helps ensure strong bones and a healthy nervous system. Sources: sunflower seeds, marine phytoplankton, spinach, wild rice or get a magnesium body spray. FOLATE (600 MICROGRAMS): Prevents some birth defects, including spina bifida. Sources: spinach, parsley, asparagus, lentils and sesame seeds (tahini). FIBER (25 TO 50 GRAMS): Prevents constipation. Sources: bran, oats, barley, fruit, vegetables. IRON (27 MILLIGRAMS): Prevents anemia and can protect against low birthweight. Sources: leafy greens and marine phytoplankton. VITAMIN C (85 MILLIGRAMS): Helps protect your body from oxidation damage. Sources: citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, kiwi and mangoes. PROTEIN (70 GRAMS): Helps build tissues, including the placenta and your baby’s body. Sources: Marine phytoplankton is a complete protein that can be absorbed directly into the body without the need

for digestion. Nuts and seeds are also a good source. Beans are too but they are gas forming which can make pregnancy uncomfortable. VITAMIN B12 (2.6 MICROGRAMS): Helps carry oxygen and other nutrients to your baby. Sources: the best source is blue-green algae followed by tempeh, miso, sea vegetables and leafy greens.

“A wonderful double DVD” Yoga Magazine, May 2015

Yoga &

Mindfulness for Pregnancy & Birth

with Nadia Raafat “Simply and exquisitely beautiful, mindful and effective” Dr Francoise Barbira-Freedman, Founder, Director of Birthlight International

On the go

In a hurry and want to get wholefood nutrition? Check out Awakening Fertility’s range of bio-available SuperHealth and SuprFood products (all sold at awakeningfertility.com/af-shop) BLUE-GREEN ALGAE The most natural and bio-available source of B12 for energy. GLOW Packed full of whole food, wild crafted and organic anti-oxidants to keep your cells healthy. MARINE PHYTOPLANKTON For cellular repair, growth, energy, magnesium, Omegas, EPA, DHA, protein, iron, selenium and electrolytes. SHINE Natural Vitamin C Powder (most vit C sold in chemists and health food stores is synthetic so can not be absorbed). SHIELD Medicinal mushrooms for iron, immunity, healthy thyroid and energy. REVIVE SuperFood blend combining everything listed above and more offering your complete pregnancy nutrition including alkalizing greens and anti-oxidants for a healthy body and baby.

Fiona Kacz-Boulton is a yoga teacher trainer, fertility expert and the founder of QiYoga (QiYogaFoundation.com)

Available via Amazon.co.uk Yogamatters.com Birthease.co.uk For classes, courses and workshops with Nadia Raafat please visit www.nadiaraafat.com

Facebook.com/BecomingMother


om pregnancy special

Chair Pose(s) Nadia Raafat takes us through a chairbased yoga sequence for pregnancy In yoga the chair is a familiar prop enabling greater access to a wide range of postures. During pregnancy the chair is an invaluable way to adapt and practice many yoga postures including inversions, forward bends, twists and balances. Before we begin please ensure you place all four legs of your chair upon your mat to ensure a safe practice or alternatively place your chair legs agains the wall. Those with PGP (pelvic girdle pain) should avoid straddling the chair and avoid the standing lunge twist.

1 Breath Awareness

Coming to sit on your chair, feet flat on the floor in front of you, hip width apart. Bring your hands to your belly. Allow your eyes to close. Take some time to settle into your body, feeling the ground beneath your feet, the chair beneath your seat. Once grounded, focus awareness on your breath to effortlessly and steadily lengthen the breath.

2 Head Circles

Begin by gently dropping the chin forwards on the exhale and inhale return to center. Exhale release the head back, inhale return to center. Repeat this a few times before you start mindfully rolling your head back and forth across your chest in half circles. Inhale, lift a quarter turn to the right. Exhale, rolling your head across and inhale lift a quarter turn to the left. Again repeat a few times to mobilize the neck. If that feels good you might like to expand into full neck circles continuing to flow with the breath.

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3 Shoulder Rolls and Scapular Rolls

Release your arms by your side, isolate the shoulder joints and circle in both directions, flowing with the breath. Three times in both directions. Next, cross your arms in front of your heart and roll your shoulder blades in both directions initiating as much movement as possible to awaken the area. Now we need to stand up, turn around and come into a straddle position on the chair, left hand on the center of the chair, right arm by your side ready for some lateral bending.


om pregnancy special 4 Lateral Bend Flows

Raise the right arm on an inhalation. Exhale small lateral bend to the left. Draw the chin down, the shoulder away from the ear. On the next in-breath be aware of the right intercostals stretching and waist lengthening. As you exhale move gradually into a deeper side bend. Repeat across another cycle of breath then inhale, up to center and release the right arm down. Swap sides. Essentially you are waiting for the breath to open the sidebody and then let that take you slowly into your side bend. Follow the held pose with a dynamic side-bending practice, lifting on the inhale, side bending on the exhale. Repeat five times on each side.

5 Pelvic Circles

Leaning forwards on your chair, holding the back of the chair with your hands, press down through the feet and circle the torso. Shifting the weight around the pelvis using your upper body to massage your pelvic outlet – pubis, left sit-bone, tailbone, right sit-bone. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with the birthing body and the space through which your baby will emerge. This movement can be used effectively during labor to encourage the baby deeper into the outlet. Be aware of all the soft tissue between those four points which makes up the layers of your pelvic floor muscles.

7 Standing High Squat Flow

6 Kneeling Tricep Stretch

Lowering your knees to the floor. Slightly pushing the chair forwards, so that your knees and hip bones are aligned. Bending your elbows place the backs of your upper arms on the seat of the chair. If you are uncomfortable, try a blanket beneath your arms. Rest your forehead on your upper arms. Close your eyes and bring your awareness to the breath using it to let go of any resistance to this gentle tricep stretch, breath by breath. Be aware of the triceps starting to soften and lengthen.

Pregnancy yoga teacher and birth educator Nadia Raafat is the co-founder of Battersea Yoga Center in SW London, a popular independent yoga and meditation center. She is also founder of Becoming Mother; a Mindful Birth Education Program (www.nadiaraafat.com)

Turning your chair around and clasping your hands to the back of the chair. Bring the feet wider than the hips, externally rotate the hips and ensure the hips, knees and ankle joints feel aligned and comfortable. Come into the high squat on an exhale and push up to standing on an inhale. As you squat, take care to ensure that the weight of the body is spread evenly across the soles of the feet. Be aware of the space in the pelvic outlet opening up as you squat and closing as you stand. This is a golden pregnancy movement that can be used antenatally for pelvic awareness and tone, and during labor to open up the pelvis and bring your baby down.

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om pregnancy special 8 & 9 Standing Lunge with Twist

This time we are going to use our chair to come into a twist. Place your left foot on the chair. Hips in neutral. Right arm by your side. Breathe in to raise the right arm forwards, up and round in a large circle following your hand with your gaze to bring you into a spacious open twist to the right. Repeat three times then lower the left foot to the floor. Raise the right foot to the chair and breathe in to raise the left arm forwards and up twisting to the left on the exhalation. Repeat three times. If you need more stabilization, hold the back of the chair. Once complete, lower your foot to the floor and roll away any stiffness from the hips.

10 Standing Half Squat, Half Lunge

From here transitioning into half squat, half lunge – a fantastic pelvic and hip opener. Placing the left foot on the chair, and bring your hands to the back rest for support, both hips and ankles are externally rotated. Spine tall, bending both knees, exhale. Inhale to push up. Notice the space created in the right hip as you squat. Inhale to push up. Lower the left leg. Step up with the right. Opening both hips. Moving with the breath. This is a very useful position for a stalled labor especially if you know your baby is on one side.

11 Adapted Flowing Three Legged Dog

Clasp the sides of the chair, place the feet hip width apart. Inhale and raise the right leg behind you, open the right hip and bend the right knee. Exhale and lower back down. Swap sides. See if you can stack the left hip on top of the right behind you, pointing the toes as you flow from one side to the other. Stretching the hip flexors, the psoas and strengthening the back body in a back bend, this easy dynamic version can feel very satisfying in late pregnancy.

12 Adapted Downward Facing Dog

This pose is suitable for all stages of pregnancy. Plant the feet wider than hip width, clasp the back of the chair and reach back through the sit bones elongating the spine. Feel the length through the front and back of the torso. Draw back and up through the tail. As always with dog pose, drawing the ribcage forwards and down towards the hips. The head and neck are in a neutral position. This pose is a mild inversion and so calms the nervous system and releases stress. Spend 5 breaths here. To come up, bend your knees, step forwards and roll up slowly through the spine to standing. To counterpose the inversion, inhale reach the arms wide and up and exhale lower your hands to prayer position.

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om pregnancy special 13 Seated Pigeon Pose

Sitting down on the chair with feet planted, hip width apart. Inhale raise and open the right hip and place the right ankle on your left thigh, flexing that right ankle joint. You can use this opportunity to massage the feet which can suffer from oedema especially in late pregnancy. Stimulate the soles of the feet and stretch the toes. Keeping the ankle joint flexed, ensure you are sitting upright, before tilting forwards from the hips. Keep the torso long and the neck and head aligned. Coming to the breath as you feel the big opening in the right hip, and the stretch through the right gluteals. Use the breath to release any tension inviting a quality of softness to your pose. Spend at least five breaths here. To deepen and intensify, tilt the torso further forwards. Inhale and slowly bring yourself back up to an upright position, releasing the right foot to the floor. It’s a big movement so allow your body to integrate it before you swap sides.

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14 Wide Kneeling Pose

In this classic position for labor and birth, the body is upright, the pelvis is tilted forwards and open and you are in a position to turn your attention inwards without disturbance. Have a rolled up blanket placed between your heels and sitting bones. You may not need it but most people have a little bit of discomfort initially while they get used to this position. Bring your awareness all the way down to the pelvic outlet which you may notice is open and spacious in this position. This is an ideal position to practice pelvic floor awareness with the breath; gathering the pelvic floor towards the center and lifting the perineum on the inhalation and releasing down and open on the exhalation. Alternatively, simply hold your awareness here and watch the breath gently and subtly stretching and releasing the pelvic diaphragm. After 10 breaths, raise your torso upright and bring your hands to your heart to close your practice.

To find out more email:

teachertraining@lushtums.co.uk LushTums founder, SYT, Clare Maddalena, has been teaching yoga since 2003. Specialising in Pregnancy Yoga & Birth Education, she is also a Doula and teaches Postnatal Yoga & Women’s Yoga. She has personally taught over 4000 pregnant women and shares her passion, knowledge and insights throughout the course. Midwife, Kate Thorman, with over ten years experience, currently practices at Kings, London, delivers a specific module on the A&P of Pregnancy & Birth. We also cover how yoga can help women with PND and PTSD.


om pregnancy special

Home sweet home What better way to bring a child into the world than at home? Yoga can help, says Clare Maddalena

H

ome births are on the rise in the UK, but they are still not the norm. Yoga and learning good breathing techniques can help moms-to-be prepare for a home birth and instill confidence that the big day (or the middle of the night!) doesn’t have to involve a trip to the hospital. In fact, Brighton – which has the highest concentration of yogis in the country – has the highest home birth rates too. It’s not that surprising really. The benefits of yoga breathing are incredibly helpful for women in labor, both during contractions and in between contractions. These include: reducing pain, keeping the mind focused and quiet, staying present and calm, and keeping oxygenated blood fueling the uterus, where it’s needed. Deep belly birth breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This acts like a switch to promote relaxation and calm, and thus turn off the sympathetic nervous system which responds to stress, danger or fear. Interestingly, statistics now show that it is safer to give birth at home. The latest NICE guidelines state that all babies planned to be born in hospital have a much higher increased rate of interventions than those to be born at home or in a midwife-led unit. Of course, individual circumstances and any health concerns must always be taken into account, but research shows that home birthing remains very safe, if not yet a part of the cultural norm. For those having their first baby, 99% of those born at home are healthy (just 9.3 out of every 1,000 had an adverse outcome) according to recent research. It is twice as safe for women having their second, third or fourth babies at home (just 4.3 per 1,000 had an adverse outcome). At a time when the incidences of interventions, and particularly emergency cesarians, have increased overall, it’s important to consider the safest place to give birth. Who knew, for instance, that 7% of planned home births will end in cesrarian compared to 37% of planned hospital births? Yoga and breathing exercises can all play a role in more informed decision making. Unfortunately, due to the media, films, and anecdotes from friends and family about those ‘horrendous’ birth stories, we are led to believe this is the hospital. But actually research is showing that birthing at home is the safest place for all women regognized as ‘low risk’ at birth. It was, after all, only a few generations back when everyone had babies at home, and many other countries still encourage this. Ultimately, the goal is for all women to be able to make informed decisions and to have the most enjoyable pregnancies and births and postnatal experiences possible. Again, yoga, breathing exercises and meditation, can only be of benefit here. Clare Maddalena is director of LushTums (lushtums.co.uk)

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om mind

The

De-Stress: Yoga off the Mat

daily yamas Reconnecting our attitude and energy. Part 1: non-violence (ahimsa) and truthfulness (satya). By Charlotte Watts

W

hen I first started yoga nearly 20 years ago, I could immediately feel the physical aspects of the practice were what my body deeply needed. I was very disconnected with my being, neck down, living up in my head and crumbling in that vessel so often viewed as just ‘housing the mind’. Working with an emphasis on being guided by the breath and really beginning to listen was a revelation, and not always easy. What really helped this budding sense of connection grow with supportive guiding roots was learning about the yamas; codes of self-regulation laid out by the sage Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras several millennia ago. These are often discussed in yoga philosophy as ways of living, but my teacher always taught them woven in to a physical practice so they were continually applied and experienced. The five yamas are precepts for building relationships with the world around us in action, speech and thought. This includes everything that we meet in our postural (asana) practice – including our inner voices, often so critical and comparative. Holding the intentions below whilst moving, holding and exploring our bodies helps open us up to possibilities of change and new ways of operating, on and off the mat. We have the opportunity to fulfill what we truly need, not just what we are used to wanting. Here we explore the first two – nonviolence and truthfulness – to give us the grounding of awareness of how we approach our practice. Letting the breath guide, and truly listening to each moment, can help us cultivate kindness, compassion and space in our practice and our daily lives.

ahimsâ = not harming, nonviolence, harmlessness, non-injury

satya = truthfulness, truth, sincerity, genuineness, honesty

Ahimsa is a way to remove actions and practices that work against the idea of peace and goodwill, within and without us. When I was younger and definitely more self-punishing, ahimsa was a revelation. I could see that my relationship with my body was not kind or connected and yoga helped me notice when I tended to create even the smallest types of aggression.

Satya frees us from the artifice that confuses our actions, thoughts and decisions away from the truth at any given time. Being truly honest with ourselves can mean the difference between recovery and injury in a yoga class. In self-practice we can really examine how this open view can make yoga more of a dance than a regime.

ON THE MAT: By feeling movement, attention and decisions moment-tomoment guided by non-violence, we can see where we might push into postures against readiness, acceptance or intuition. Practically this might be how we push past tight feelings in the lower back to get further into that forward bend. On some level we might regognize that this is driven by ambition not true listening, but we just want to get there. AHIMSA YOGA ENQUIRY: exploring the subtleties of where we might push, hold or grit our teeth to be in a pose can be seen well in those that require strength. Plank pose is a good example as we are holding our weight sideways to gravity, so there is a big pull downward to lift up from. This means if our technique to draw up the breastbone and press-lift up from the hands as we engage the belly isn’t quite there, then we can easily hang weight off our shoulders and over-pressure the wrists. Practicing with knees down at the beginning of a practice, whilst learning and if tired can help us grow into it without harm.

“The five yamas are precepts for building relationships with the world around us in action, speech and thought. ” 78

ON THE MAT: Being truthful with ourselves is a moment-to-moment enquiry and in asanas we use the breath to ‘read’ the reality of what is true right now. From there, we can begin to really see what is happening beneath the surface, so we don’t just follow the same, automated responses. This means we can more accurately gauge our energy, openness, physical ability, emotional resonance in each posture and so move in, pull back, use a prop or change our sequencing to fit our needs as we go along. This is where yoga – and our minds – can become creative, adaptable and helps us practice from ahimsa. SATYA YOGA ENQUIRY: we can use satya to feel our way into variations of poses, so we don’t just head blindly to an ideal end point, but move in as the pose unfolds – or not. Supta padangustasana is a good way to explore this as our hamstrings can feel quite different depending on their use during the day and any tensions we’re holding. Starting with the first variation with lower leg bent allows us to give space to open and evaluate from a sense perspective whether lengthening out to deepen comes from space offered or is imposing our will upon the pose.

In part two of this mini series we will explore the energetic subtleties that can be felt from the last three yamas: not stealing, right effort and non-grasping.


om mind

NATURALBODIES

Gary Carter’s

Anatomy & Myofascial Movement Course for Yoga Teachers A 9 WEEKEND COURSE Structural, Functional and Experiential Anatomy for Movement for Yoga Teachers Gary Carter shows how a thorough knowledge of anatomy can help teachers to make intelligent choices about the way they teach their pupils. His workshops involve the use of props, illustrations, and hands-on work in class to help demonstrate the principles that underlie the practice. These courses of experiential anatomy will run for nine weekends (approx. 1 per month), exploring the anatomy of movement in relation to asana practice and Pilates Practice, movement analysis and 3-D work. It will encourage teachers to “see” their students more clearly, thus helping with rehabilitative issues. The course aims to help teachers take a flexible, intelligent approach to Yoga and Pilates, Gyrotonics and with individual students. Including newer understandings of the Fascial and Elastic Body in Movement. New findings of Gravity Relationships to movement. New courses now booking: Glasgow • starting October 2015 – July 2016 Bath • starting April 2016 – March 2017 London • starting October 2016 – July 2017 London Pilates & Gyrotonic Myofascial Movement Anatomy • October 2016 – August 2017

For booking details please contact: info@naturalbodies.co.uk Call +44 (0)7778 403578 Charlotte Watts is a UKbased yoga instructor and the author of a new book The De-Stress Effect: Rebalance Your Body’s Systems for Vibrant Health and Happiness (charlottewattshealth.com)

www.naturalbodies.co.uk


om mind Meditation of the month

for the

love of pets

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om mind

True love never dies: a meditation for the passing of your furry (or feathered) friends. By Jill Lawson

T

here is a certain sadness we feel after losing a pet. Grieving the loss of a furry friend brings on sensations that are different than those we may encounter after losing a loved one. When a human dies, we may have trust in god, or some kind of universal order that leaves us to believe that person’s soul will be cared for as they journey into the ‘great beyond.’ We can embrace someone’s death as a natural part of life, and after the grieving process, we come to accept it. But, when a pet dies, many feel that they are gone forever, and where they go far exceeds our understanding. Perhaps it is because they can never tell us not to worry, or that they believe in a higher power to take care of them. Trusting the process of death and rebirth can be difficult when it comes time to saying goodbye to our pets. If you have lost a pet, and have not felt comfort with their passing, the following meditation may help. Before you begin, gather a few items that instill the memory of your pet. It may be a collar, a photograph, or your pet’s favorite toy.

Do it now

Close your eyes, and imagine subtle details about your pet. You may see a glistening nose or a wagging tail. Next, silently repeat your pet’s name, and let them know that you feel their love. During this time, notice the sensations you encounter. You might cry, or feel a deep connection with your pet. Whatever your feelings, know that they are born out of unconditional love. Let your heart settle on the impression of unconditional love. Understand this type of love is ever present. It does not change, fade, or ever go away. While your pet was alive, he or she embodied this love. The bonds you felt were of this love, and even though your pet has passed, the love you shared still exists.

“Understand this type of love is ever present. It does not change, fade, or ever go away. ” Now, take a moment to look outside. See the birds flying high, the bugs buzzing around, and the trees swaying in the breeze. Trust that the energy that moves and breathes us is the unconditional love you have with your pet. It is all around you, and your pet is now part of this exuberant life-force energy. While you may have had to say goodbye to your four-pawed friend, you never really separated. The love they once embodied now embodies you.

Jill Lawson is a writer and yoga teacher in Colorado (jilllawsonyoga.com)

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ONE MINUTE MINDFULNESS Simple meditations to bring you back into the present moment

Breath of Life

Breathing exercises are a simple and profound way into mindfulness because they gift us with the present. Wherever our thoughts or emotions may be taking us, backward or forward in time, our breathing is refreshingly present and invites us to join it there. You could notice your breathing now. As you count each breath in and each breath out, you are inwardly strengthened, simply by the return of your being to the present. The present is nourishing because it’s where you’re meant to be; it’s like putting a plant in sunlight. As you breathe in and out, distractions will appear; one thought after another will try to snatch you from the present. Note each distraction kindly, however many there are; and return each time to your breathing; to being present, to being strengthened to being conscious.

Stormy Seas

Sadness and anger are closely related. Both are concerned with loss and longing, past and future. They come, when allowed, with devastating power. It is good to allow them; but it is dangerous to be drowned by them. Like a stormy sea, they can frighten us with their turbulent power and crashing waves. If you fear drowning, stay with your breathing, because stronger than the loss and longing is the fragile now. Like a lighthouse along the rocky coast, mindful breathing can guide you to a safe harbor through the crashing water and battering winds.

Is This an Alien?

Opening up the shop in the morning and turning the key, I am aware that I am opening up the shop in the morning and turning the key. Looking at the clouds in their shifting patterns, I am aware that I am looking at the clouds in their shifting patterns. Becoming irritated by the traffic jam and approaching the end of my tether, I am aware that I’m becoming irritated by the traffic jam and approaching the end of my tether. This is mindfulness; and it’s not complex or alien to us.

A Five-Year Plan

Every company has a business plan. ‘This is where we want to be in five years’ time,’ they say. But what’s it worth when the future doesn’t exist? We can speculate about possible future scenarios. But we can neither plan for them all nor even guess at them all; for much of life appears from nowhere. We can respond presently to events...but we cannot predict them. We’ll be fine...as long as we remember plans can be held no more firmly than smoke. We can pretend to plan...and laugh a little as we do. And perhaps one day, a company will say: ‘Where do we want to be in five years’ time? Present, as we are now.’

Taken from the new book, One-Minute Mindfulness: How To Live In The Moment, by Simon Parke. Out now with Hay House (hayhouse.co.uk), £8.99

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All GOOD choices

Merge the often competing interests of your future and present selves for a happier, healthier you. By Leo Babauta

T

here’s a conflict that often happens when we try to be disciplined about something: I want that cinnamon roll right now, but I know I’ll regret it later. Which interest should win out: your future self, who doesn’t want you to get fat and unhealthy...or your present self, who doesn’t care so much about that and just wants to taste something delicious? There’s no right answer. The present self usually wins, because he controls the action and so his interests are more important. But the future self actually has a stronger case: he’s actually a bunch of future selves (you in 10 minutes from now, an hour from now, a day from now, three days from now, a year later, and so on). So shouldn’t a thousand future selves outweigh the current self’s interest? Well, we usually just say, “Screw it, I don’t care what future me wants, I’m going for the cinnamon roll.”

Make a change

So, let’s share a simple method for avoiding the junk food. And finding discipline across the board, whatever that might be: exercise,

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meditate, eat healthily, write your book, find focus instead of distraction. We do this by merging the two interests. Imagine you were going to lunch with your friend, and you had to decide where to eat. You each have different preferences. Choosing one over the other — going to Japanese food (your friend’s preference) instead of vegan Mexican (yours) — isn’t fair. So maybe you pick a third choice that you both like (a place that serves sushi burritos, perhaps). Or maybe you choose this time, and your friend chooses the next time. Either way, both are happy (hopefully). So how do we merge the interests of future and present selves? I call it ‘savor discipline’.

It’s three short steps: 1. CONSIDER FUTURE YOU Take a few seconds to consider what future you would want. In the case of the cinnamon roll, your future self would prefer that you not eat the roll. It will contribute to his weight problem and make his health worse (in conjunction with other similar eating choices), but not give him any benefit. You

know this because your present self can look back on similar choices in the past — and you can see that you wish you hadn’t eaten all that junk. Future self will have similar feelings about what you do right now. 2. CONSIDER PRESENT YOU The interests of your present self might seem obvious: you want to eat the pastry. But, actually, present self has other interests. For example: present self would like to be healthy and fit, and perhaps present self would also like to learn, be mindful, grateful, successful, and more. The taste of the cinnamon roll is just one interest of many. 3. NOW MERGE YOUR INTERESTS If future and present you were two friends, with different interests, how could they make it work? One idea is to take turns:

“We usually just say, “Screw it, I don’t care what future me wants, I’m going for the cinnamon roll.”


om spirit

Insurance for Yogis & Holistic Therapists present self eats the pastry this time, future self gets the carrot next time. After all, why should just one of you get the choice all the time? It would be no fun if you only ate vegetables, but it would not be healthy if you only ate the pastries. Another way to merge the interests is to find something that both would be happy with. Not a compromise as much as a third option that both would like. I call that option ‘savor discipline’.

Savor discipline

So, what’s savor discipline? It’s basically not choosing the pastry (only present self would like that), and it’s not sacrificing and being unhappy (future self might be cool with that but present self wouldn’t) - it’s finding something to savor in the present moment. Here’s an example: skip the junk food and savor some berries, slowly and mindfully. Or take a walk and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful sunlight. Or read a book and enjoy the quiet time alone.

Good?

Or learn something, dance to music, do something good for someone else, create something cool. And for each of these activities, savor the activity as if it were the most amazing thing in the world. Because it can be. If you eat a berry with the fresh eyes of a two-year-old, you stop taking it for granted and start seeing how much of a miracle it is. You can savor its deliciousness, just as much as you could enjoy the junk food. You can savor many things in the present moment, and your present self can enjoy the living daylights out of it. Your future self will be thrilled.

Bad?

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om spirit Ayurvedic clinic:

THE AYURVEDIC THEORY OF ILLNESS Finding perfect balance and health through ayurveda, yoga’s sister science. By Sebastian Pole

B

efore we can fully understand why ayurvedic cleansing is so beneficial to our health, we should consider the nature of illness and the course it takes in the body. Ayurveda approaches this in a typically holistic and metaphorical manner. It says that along with genetic diseases, traumatic accidents and karmic reasons (the effect on us from previous actions), illness has four primary causes: crimes against wisdom; restraining your natural urges; unwholesome attachment of your senses to their objects; and seasonal influences.

Four primary causes

The phrase ‘crimes against wisdom’ means to deny our inner sense of intuition and ignore our past experiences, for example, acting inappropriately for what you really need or not learning from any mistakes. It usually gets us into trouble. When I consider the meaning of ‘restraining your natural urges’, it conjures up memories of when I was younger and having to hold back the giggles when I definitely should not

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have been laughing. Of course, this doesn’t hurt, but regularly holding back our natural functions leads to repression of the body’s energy flow. Ayurveda points out that thirst, hunger, sneezing, yawning, crying, urinating, defecating, farting, burping, orgasm, sleeping, waking and panting due to over exertion should never be restrained. It teaches that withholding any of these leads to various stagnations and blockages, resulting in headaches, pain, bloating or, more seriously, dizziness, fainting and even death. But this is not a license to indulge and it’s important to maintain a balance. When we strongly ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ something, we display an ‘unwholesome attachment of the senses to their objects’. The overuse or inappropriate application of the senses, such as desiring something too much, too little, or when inappropriate for your constitution, can unbalance your dosha, leading to illness. Ayurvedic teachings emphasize moderation in all things as essential for health. The phrase ‘seasonal influences’ describes common and predictable patterns that disturb our health and make us unwell: spring flu,

summer allergies, autumn aches and winter colds. In my practice I always see more eczema in the spring, hives in the summer, insomnia in the autumn and depression in the winter. However, when you understand why they occur, you can protect yourself against these seasonal tendencies.

The pathway of disease

The learned Ayurvedic doctors of the past worked out a six-stage pathway which many acute and chronic diseases take, showing how a few minor symptoms can turn into a fullblown disease (see below): n n n n n n

I mpaired digestion/low agni I mbalance is disturbed I mbalance spreads, toxins spill over A ggravated doshas move to other sites D isease arises D isease manifests with unique characteristics

When digestion is faulty and agni is low, an imbalance builds up in a place associated with the particular dosha:


om spirit

Ayu

Sanskrit (from Ayush meaning lifespan)… vata imbalances start to collect in the large intestine, with signs of bloating, gas, constipation, pebble-like stools, dryness, cramps, coldness, anxiety and insomnia. pitta accumulates in the small intestine, with signs of acidity, yellowing of the eyes, urine and stools, sensations of heat, irritability, bitter taste in the mouth and loose and smelly stools kapha gathers in the stomach, with signs of sluggish digestion, lethargy, paleness, heavy limbs and heavy head.

Early action

Illnesses occurring at this stage, such as constipation, stomach acidity or sluggish digestion, are relatively easy to remove. But if things are not addressed quickly, the situation can deteriorate. The second stage is when the imbalance becomes disturbed. If the causes continue, then the aggravated dosha – the imbalance of vata, pitta or kapha – will start to irritate the organs; in a sense, the increased dosha becomes a toxin. At this stage, the aggravation is still relatively easy to remove via the digestive tract. Next, if left untreated, the imbalance spreads. Having reached maximum capacity in their respective sites, the accumulated and aggravated toxins now cross their threshold and spill over into other parts of the body. They move out of the digestive tract and spread to other associated locations via the blood and lymph. With vata they spread to the skin causing dryness, to the joints causing cracking and pain, to the air passages causing a dry cough and to the intestines causing further pain and obstructed peristaltic motions. With pitta they move to the skin causing inflammatory skin problems, to the eyes causing redness, to the stomach causing nausea and to the bowels causing burning diarrhoea. With kapha they spread to the lungs causing a wet cough, breathing difficulties and vomiting, to the joints causing swelling and to the bowel causing mucus in the stool. However, even at this late stage the toxins are still relatively easy to clear from the system.

Latter stages

During the fourth stage the illness becomes more apparent. The aggravated doshas actually settle in a fixed location and collect

either in an area of weakness or in one of the areas of the body that the particular dosha is associated with: vata in the ears, joints, bones, skin or colon; pitta in the liver, eyes, skin, intestinal lining or glands; kapha in the lungs, stomach, joints, mucus membranes and fluid parts of the body. This is when the signs of disease develop. The doshas are now difficult to clear and require deep cleansing techniques. During the fifth stage a ‘real’ disease arises, manifesting as a pathology with a specific set of characteristics and a defined name, such as diabetes or asthma. When the dosha has penetrated this deeply and mutated so far from its normal healthy balance, finding a cure is often difficult. And then we arrive at the sixth and final stage of disease, where it expresses its own unique characteristics. Once a disease is fixed in a particular place it takes on a life of its own and its dominant features are reflected by the primary causative dosha and often involves the other doshas too. For example, eczema is dry, fissured and itchy when caused by vata; red, inflamed, bleeding and hot when caused by pitta; and wet, suppurating, itchy and oedematous when caused by kapha. The disease is now chronic; some become incurable.

DEFINITION:

Health…Life…

Veda Sanskrit

(from vid meaning to know)…

DEFINITION:

Knowledge…Science…

Ayurveda Sanskrit • Science and art of improving quality of life and longevity… • ageless knowledge of health through life… • the oldest complete health system…

DEFINITION:

THE SCIENCE OF LIFE

Clear the toxins

But the remedy, at least in the early stages, is usually near at hand: clear the ‘toxins’ from your system and come back within the safety of your threshold. The natural qualities of cold, heat, dry and damp can become toxic if they build up, and the best way to rectify this is to eliminate them via the bowels, bladder, stomach, lungs, skin and, for women, via the uterus with the monthly period. The classic herbal laxatives (encouraging bowel motions), diuretics (encouraging urination), expectorants (encouraging clearing of mucus), diaphoretics (encouraging sweating) and emmenagogues (encouraging menstruation) help to do this. In the past, some of these practices were called ‘heroic’, as they were used at high doses to cause extreme cleansing, but these days herbalism has developed a much more gentle approach.

For more information on ayurvedic cleansing techniques read the second part of this article in next month’s OM.

Sebastian Pole is co-founder and herbal director of Pukka Herbs (pukkaherbs.com) and a member of the Ayurvedic Practitioners Association (apa.uk.com)

www.apa.uk.com

Qualified Trained Insured Ayurvedic Professionals

For your health needs


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Ayurveda yoga T Find ways to incorporate ayurveda into your daily yoga practice. by Faye Hart & Dr Brennan

he Vedas are known to be the oldest scriptures in India; they hold a wealth of knowledge concerning religion, philosophy and provide practical, ethical and moral guidance. These ancient scriptures are said to be the the root of ayurveda, and similarly yoga. Immediately, we see that the two are inherently connected. Ayurveda translates as ‘the science of

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“Learning about Ayurvedic dosha types and how this links to yoga has completely changed my whole approach to my own daily asana practice.” - Vanessa

life’, and is thought to be the oldest system of health in the world. The basis of ayurveda teaches how to keep the body and mind in balance and optimal health, preventing illness. This is achieved with the right diet and lifestyle choices to suit people as individuals. This is a key part of ayurveda – ensuring that we each know what suits us best, regarding diet and lifestyle, based on our specific mind-body type.


om spirit “Integrating Ayurveda into your practice can bring about a greater sense of balance, harmony, self-awareness and health” - The Ayurveda Institute Ayurveda teaches that we are governed by three fundamental qualities which are present in us all. These qualities determine the characteristics of our minds, bodies and emotions. These are known as doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The Vata dosha represents space and air, and is responsible for movement. Pitta represents fire and water, and is responsible for transformation. Kapha represents earth and water, and is responsible for structure. We have a specific amount of each dosha in us which makes up our mind-body type, but one dosha is usually more prominent. When each dosha is in balance we are healthy and happy. Below are some qualities of the doshas when in and out of balance.

Finding balance

Our doshas can become out of balance from time to time, and ayurveda states that this is where illness and stress originates from. There are various ways to balance your doshas – enter yoga, the sister of ayurveda. Essentially, opposites balance doshas. During yoga this principle can be applied to the pace, focus and the breath, making it an easy way to adapt your practice without

needing to select particular doshabalancing poses. As Vata is concerned with movement, and can be erratic when out of balance, aim to practice in a steady and systematic way, in order to ground Vata. Remaining still for longer, focus on both strength and flexibility with slow and steady breaths. For Pitta it is useful to practice in a non-goal orientated and effortless manner. This helps to balance the eager, impulsive and sometimes fiery energy of Pitta. Exhaling through the mouth is useful to release excess heat. Kapha dosha types benefit from an energetic, dynamic yoga practice. This helps reduce excess Kapha energy which can lead to lethargy – the aim is to lighten the Kapha dosha. Steady breaths are appropriate with less time in each posture, to allow more movement. These basic adjustments allow us to create a yoga practice to suit particular dosha types. Like yoga, ayurveda is a vast subject and these adjustments are a basic introduction, simply a way to begin making changes. Through using both yoga and ayurveda we can discover a yoga practice which brings more than physical benefits. Your own dosha qualities will become more apparent and, over time, ayurveda becomes almost intuitive.

Faye Hart is a yoga teacher at Ahimsa Yoga Company. Dr Brennan is an Ayurveda Practitioner and Founder of the Ayurveda Practitioners Association.

DOSHA CHARACTERISTICS VATA IN BALANCE: light, quick, creative, sensitive, refined OUT OF BALANCE: forgetful, anxious, withdrawn, erratic

PITTA IN BALANCE: focused, ambitious, organized, passionate, competitive OUT OF BALANCE: impatient, demanding, irritable, loud

KAPHA IN BALANCE: steady, reliable, grounded, relaxed, calm OUT OF BALANCE: lethargic, sluggish, unproductive, depressed To learn your own mind-body type visit livingayurveda.co.uk/questionnaire


om living

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Art well om living

The

of eating

Celebrating fine food and fine health, by Amy Chaplin

Zucchini Flower Orecchiette (With Matured Sheep’s Cheese And Red Chilli) Serves 4

Ingredients • • • • • • • •

Sea salt 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 6 garlic cloves, chopped I large red chilli, thinly sliced 3 golden courgettes, grated 10 g (¼ oz/¼ cup) torn basil leaves ½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes, optional 225 g (8 oz) zucchini flowers, cut into 1.8-cm (¾-in) slices (about 45 flowers) 350 g (12 oz/3½ cup) grated matured sheep’s cheese, plus more to garnish

Method 1.

Fill a large pan with filtered water, add a generous pinch of salt and bring to the boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook 10 to 12 minutes or until al dente. 2. Meanwhile, make sauce. Warm olive oil in a wide frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and chilli; sauté for 2 minutes or until garlic is golden. 3. Stir in zucchini and a pinch of salt; sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until softened and slightly reduced. Add basil and chilli flakes (if using), and cook for another minute. Stir in courgette flowers and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until soft and completely wilted. 4. Drain cooked pasta, reserving 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) cooking liquid. Stir drained pasta and reserved cooking liquid into courgette flower mixture. 5. Remove from heat, add cheese, briefly stir and season to taste. Divide pasta among bowls and garnish with extra cheese.

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Spicy Chickpea Stew (And Quinoa Pilaf With Sultanas And Almonds) Serves 6

Ingredients • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1.8-cm (¾-in) triangular pieces (about 840 g/1 lb 14 oz/6 cups) 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Sea salt Freshly ground black pepper 2 onions, diced 8 large garlic cloves, finely chopped 10 g (¼ oz/¼ cup) finely chopped parsley stems 1½ teaspoons toasted ground cumin 1 teaspoon paprika 3 carrots, roll cut into 1.2-cm (½-in) pieces 240 ml (8 fl oz/1 cup) chickpea cooking liquid or filtered water 800 g (1 lb 12 oz) chopped tomatoes 400 g (14 oz/2½ cups) cooked chickpeas 3 to 4 teaspoons Harissa, or to taste 20 g (¾ oz/½ cup) chopped parsley leaves, plus more to garnish

Method 1.

Preheat oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and add butternut squash. Add 1½ tablespoons of the olive oil, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper and toss well. Spread out in a single layer and roast for 30 minutes. 2. Stir and continue roasting for another 10 to 15 minutes or until browning and cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside. 3. Warm remaining 1½ tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until golden. Stir in garlic and cook 3 minutes more. 4. Add parsley stems, cumin, paprika and ½ teaspoon salt; cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in carrots and 240 ml (8 fl oz/1 cup) chickpea cooking liquid (or water) and bring to the boil over high heat. 5. Cover pan, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until carrots are cooked. Add tomatoes and chickpeas. 6. Raise heat and bring up to a simmer; re-cover pan, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 more minutes. 7. Stir in Harissa paste, chopped parsley leaves and roasted squash; simmer uncovered for another few minutes to allow flavors to meld. Season to taste and serve warm.

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top tip

Amy Chaplin highly recommends that you cook your own chickpeas for this stew. The flavor of home-cooked chickpeas is worth the effort, and the cooking liquid adds a nice body to the stew as well. You will need about 190 g (7 oz/ 1 cup) of dried chickpeas to end up with 400 g (14 oz/2½ cups) of cooked chickpeas. If you want to use canned chickpeas, you will need about two 425-g (15-oz) cans. Make sure you drain and rinse them thoroughly before using. And use water in place of chickpea cooking liquid.

Quinoa Pilaf With Sultanas And Almonds Cooking quinoa with sultanas gives the grain a delicate, sweet taste and an added burst of flavor. The almonds deliver crunch and great contrast to the dish – feel free to use toasted pistachios or walnuts in their place. Serves 6 • 250 g (9 oz/1½ cups) quinoa, washed and soaked 12-24 hours in 960 ml • (32 fl oz/4 cups) filtered water • 420 ml (14 fl oz/1¾ cups) filtered water • ½ teaspoon sea salt • 60 g (2 oz/1/3 cup) unsulphured sultanas • 50 g (1¾ oz/1/3 cup) toasted almonds, chopped 1. 2.

3.

Rinse and drain quinoa. Place in a 2-liter (3½-pint) pan and add filtered water, salt and sultanas. Bring to the boil over high heat. Cover pan, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Add almonds and mix gently to combine. Serve warm.


om living

Fragrant Eggplant Curry (With Cardamom-Infused Basmati Rice, Tangy Apricot Chutney And Cucumber Lime Raita) Serves 6

Ingredients • • • • • • • • • • •

1.35 kg (3 lb) Asian eggplant (about 10 medium), roll cut into 3.5-cm (1½-in) pieces 6 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil, melted Sea salt 1½ teaspoons black mustard seeds 2 onions, cut into 2.5-cm (1-in) dice 2 tablespoons peeled and grated ginger 5 large garlic cloves, crushed 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Curry Powder 1.15 kg (2½ lb/about 28) tomatoes, peeled and chopped 60 g (2 oz/1 cup) coriander leaves, roughly chopped (optional)

Cardamom-Infused Brown Basmati Rice Serves 6-8 •

• 1. 2.

Method 1.

Preheat oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment and set aside. Place eggplant in a large bowl, add 4 tablespoons of the coconut oil and ½ teaspoon salt and toss together. 2. Divide over baking trays in a single layer, placing larger cut-side down. Roast for 25 minutes, turn pieces over, rotate trays and roast for another 15 minutes or until golden brown and soft inside. 3. Remove from oven and set aside. Warm remaining coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and stir until first seed pops, about 1 minute. Add onion and 1 teaspoon salt; cook for 2 minutes. 4. Reduce heat to low and cover pan; cook for 10 minutes or until onions are soft and golden, stirring occasionally. Return heat to medium and add ginger and garlic; cook for another 3 minutes. 5. Stir in curry powder, add tomatoes and bring up to a simmer. Cover pan, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and sauce-like. 6. Gently stir in roasted eggplant and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Season to taste, add coriander (if using), and transfer to a bowl to serve alongside rice, chutney and raita.

275 g (9½ oz/1½ cups) brown basmati rice, washed and soaked 12 to 24 hours in 960 ml (32 fl oz/4 cups) filtered water 10 cardamom pods

• • • •

550 ml (18 fl oz/21/3 cups) filtered water 3 bay leaves 3 whole star anise Large pinch sea salt

Drain and rinse rice. Place in 2-liter (3½-pint) pan with a tight-fitting lid and add filtered water, cardamom pods, bay leaves, star anise and salt. Bring to the boil, cover pan, reduce heat to low and simmer for 50 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to sit covered for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove and compost cardamom pods, bay leaves and star anise before serving.

Tangy Apricot Chutney

Makes 420 Ml (14 Fl Oz/1¾ Cups) • • • • 1.

2.

180 g (7 oz/1 cup) (packed) unsulphured dried apricots, sliced 1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger 1 teaspoon crushed garlic 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) unpasteurized apple cider vinegar

• • • •

360 ml (12 fl oz/1½ cups) apple juice Pinch cayenne pepper, ¼ teaspoon salt, Chopped toasted pistachios to garnish

Place all ingredients except pistachios in a small pan and bring to the boil. Cover pan, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Chutney is cooked once apricots are soft and liquid has reduced. Allow to cool then add more juice or water as needed to get desired consistency; season to taste and sprinkle with pistachios just before serving. Store in the fridge for up to a week.

Cucumber Lime Raita

Makes 480 Ml (16 Fl Oz/2 Cups) • • • 1. 2. 3.

1 large (225-g/8-oz) cucumber 360 ml (12 fl oz/1½ cups) whole-milk yogurt ¾ teaspoon sea salt

• • •

1 tablespoon finely sliced mint leaves, packed Zest of 1 lime Fresh mint leaves to garnish

Grate cucumber on the largest hole of a box grater and place it in a medium bowl. Add the yogurt, salt, sliced mint and lime zest; mix well. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with mint leaves. Stored in a jar in the fridge, this will keep for a couple of days.

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om living

Almond Butter Brownies (With Sea Salt)

Makes Fifteen 7.5 × 6-Cm (3 X 2½-In) Brownies Equipment: 33 X 22-Cm (13 X 9-In) Cake Tin

Ingredients • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

75 g (2½ oz/½ cup) packed pitted deglet noor dates 150 g (5½ oz/1½ cups) whole spelt flour 90 g (3 oz/¾ cup) unsweetened cocoa powder 1½ teaspoons aluminium-free baking powder 60 g (2 oz/¼ cup) plus 2 tablespoons toasted almond butter, shop-bought or homemade 180 ml (6 fl oz/¾ cup) extra virgin olive oil, plus more to oil tin 180 ml (6 fl oz/¾ cup) maple syrup 100 g (3½ oz/¾ cup) maple sugar 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) plus 2 tablespoons almond milk or plain soya milk ½ teaspoon sea salt 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 100 g (3½ oz) dark (85 per cent) chocolate, coarsely chopped and divided 70 g (2½ oz/½ cup) toasted almonds, chopped Maldon, fleur de sel or other flaky sea salt

Method 1.

Place dates in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for 20 minutes or until softened, then drain well. Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4. Line cake tin with baking parchment; brush baking parchment and sides of tin lightly with oil and set aside. 2. Sift flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a medium bowl; whisk to combine and set aside. Place almond butter, olive oil, maple syrup, maple sugar, almond milk, salt, vanilla and drained dates in a food processor; blend until smooth. (It’s okay if a few small date pieces are not blended.) Pour into sifted flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until almost combined. Reserve 2 tablespoons chopped chocolate and stir remaining chocolate into brownies, being careful not to overmix. 3. Transfer mix to prepared tin and spread out evenly. Sprinkle with toasted almonds, remaining chocolate and a large pinch of sea salt. 4. Bake for 30 minutes or until edges pull away from sides of tin and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. For best results, refrigerate until completely cold before cutting. These brownies keep well for three or four days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge. At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin, published by Jacqui Small, £25, out now from all good bookshops and online

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om living Nutrition Zone:

Real world cleansing

Is your fight-or-flight reflex making you stressed? Purify your system, body and mind, to feel fabulous inside and out

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e all know that feeling of nervous excitement, or that sinking feeling: ‘It’s a gut feeling’; ‘My stomach is in knots’; or ‘I have butterflies in my stomach’. Our language is peppered with these kinds of phrases linking our stomach to our emotions, but actually there is a good reason for these expressions. The brain-gut axis theory is simple, and links emotions to the digestive system, explaining how an imbalance in one can cause dysfunction in the other. Through the central nervous system, the brain sends signals to the gut which can make you feel sick with nerves, and vice versa. “This link dates back to our cave dwelling roots. Transforming food into usable energy is a complex procedure and takes a lot of resources,” explains Caroline Harmer, (pictured) expert nutritionist with Renew Life. “Typically, in fight or flight situations our bodies would divert energy away from peaceful processes like digestion, and instead prepare our bodies for action – so we avoid danger. The digestive system will work better in a ‘rest and digest’ state rather than the fight or flight mode.”

The stress connection

So what does this have to do with stress? In modern life we are constantly experiencing low level stress so we’ve become programd to be in a fight-or-flight mode, which can interfere with our digestive health. This, combined with regular exposure to toxins such as air pollution, household cleaners, processed food and drinking water can all negatively affect our metabolism, make us feel sluggish and increase stress levels. Moreover, up to 90% of the feel good hormone, serotonin, is produced in the digestive tract. “Toxic load reduces serotonin levels, which can cause low mood and contribute to digestive issues,” adds Harmer. Luckily, there are things we can do to detoxify and de-stress, promoting greater harmony between our digestive system and the mind.

“In modern life we are constantly experiencing low level stress so we’ve become programd to be in a fight-or-flight mode.”

Get some happy head space: De-stress by taking time for yourself and clearing your mind. Meditation has countless proven health benefits from reducing stress and improving general wellbeing to possibly even slowing the rate at which we age. Start by doing just 10 minutes per day and aim to build up to half an hour. You’ll soon start to see improvements in your day-to-day life. Rest and digest: Take time out to eat lunch away from your desk. Focusing on your meal and chewing your food thoroughly allows you to digest your food effectively. Healthy digestion ensures you are absorbing the maximum amount of nutrients from your food and prevents bloating and digestive issues. This relaxed state can bring a feeling of contentment and balance to both your digestive system, and your mind. Swim for serotonin: We know that exercise is great for cardiovascular health but it’s also great for the brain. Many studies show that regular exercise elevates serotonin levels in the brain, reducing stress levels and improving general wellbeing. However, certain exercises can raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol and put stress on the joints, so try swimming instead. It’s a fantastic, non weight bearing exercise to help you tone and relax at the same time.

Fight or flight

Virtually every illness in the body has some psycho-emotional element, and this includes the digestive tract. Our thoughts and emotions affect us physically, and no matter how balanced and calm we think we are, if we live on planet earth, we all experience stress. What creates stress for one person may not stress another, but most people spend the majority of their lives ‘living by the clock’, meeting deadlines, rushing from one task to the next, grabbing a bite to eat at our desks or on the run. Do we ever stop to consider how our fast-paced, toxin-laden modern lifestyle affects our cave man or woman bodies? Technology and the pace of our lives has changed so rapidly over the last 100 years, or even just 50 years, that our great grandmothers simply would not be able to comprehend the pace of our lives, what many of us eat, the disconnection from the family unit and even ourselves. Humans are ancient beings trapped in a modern world. We have evolved through times of feast and

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om living famine. If the family unit or tribe had food, it was a great day; you celebrated, ate and chilled out. In this relaxed state, our bodies engaged the parasympathetic nervous system and we ‘rested and digested’ our food, thoughts and emotions. Today, most people spend the majority of their time operating under the sympathetic nervous system, which is known as ‘fight or flight’. We are designed to engage the ‘flight or flight’ mode for a short period of time, and then once the danger is over, return to the calm ‘rest and digest’ mode. The problem is the perceived dangers that engage the flight or fight mode have increased in modern society to the point that most people suffer low level daily stress and a daily activated fight or flight response. Every system of the body will be affected, but none more so than the digestive system, which will slow down, or not function efficiently.

Poor digestive function

Poor digestive function leads to inadequate assimilation of nutrients, leading to nutritional deficiency. Poorly digested foods ferment in the digestive tract, resulting in toxic chemicals and gases being produced. This toxic environment encourages the growth of negative bacteria, which together

“One of the first places in the body where stress and toxin overload will be noticed in the body is in the digestive system.”

CLEANSING TIPS

3 TIPS TO SOOTHE THE FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT RESPONSE TO AID BETTER DIGESTION l Cleanse the body and bowel. In the natural health community, toxicity is one of the underlying causes of disease, dysfunction and health symptoms, including anxiety, stress and low mood. Performing a herbal 30 day cleanse that supports all of the bodies elimination channels (the liver, bowel, kidneys, lungs, skin, lymphatic system and blood) once or twice a year literally helps lighten the body’s load, aids better digestion and eliminations. Removing toxins and stressors from organs and tissues supports better metabolism and feelings of wellbeing. l Left nostril breathing. In yogic tradition, breathing through only the left nostril engages with moon energy, which is reflective, calming and cooling. This soothing energy calms the ‘fight or flight’ sympathetic nervous system and helps the body transition into the ‘rest and digest’ parasympathetic nervous system. This will support better digestion, elimination and sleep. l Shake it out. Shaking is one of the best and easiest ways to release stress from the body. Shaking relieves anxiety, reduces tension and lets our thinking mind take a break, thus helping remove stress hormones and tension, allowing us to let go of stress, negative thoughts and energy. While shaking stress out may seem weird at first, it is a perfectly normal behavior in animals. After a stressful event animals will shake vigorosly to let the stress go, then carry on as if nothing had happened. Full body shaking in an open plan office may not work for everyone, so shake some stress out in the bathroom or an empty lift.

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with toxins can damage the gut lining, increasing permeability and causing it to ‘leak’ toxins into the bloodstream. Toxins tend to settle in the weakest organs and tissues. One of the first places in the body where stress and toxin overload will be noticed in the body is in the digestive system. A toxic environment in the bowel makes it difficult for beneficial bacteria to survive; pathogenic bacteria get the upper hand and bowel movements may slow down or become changeable and erratic. As the burden of toxins build up, an increased load is placed on the body’s seven channels of elimination (the liver, bowel, kidneys, lungs, skin, lymphatic system and blood). We can then increase our toxic load by ingesting processed foods, alcohol, and prescription medications, using chemical-based household and personal care products. Common side effects and signs of toxicity include: acne/skin rashes; allergies; pain or inflammation; fatigue; constipation and digestive issues; headaches; hormone issues; anxiety/sleep disorders; and obesity or difficulty losing weight. We cannot necessarily change or stop the pressures of modern life, but the good news is that we can cleanse and support our bodies to better deal with modern stresses. Caroline Harmer is expert nutritionist at Renew Life and is fronting the Cleanse Challenge campaign to improve digestive health and reduce toxins in the body. Try Renew Life’s CleanseSMART, an allnatural herbal cleansing program available at selected UK health stores or visit cleansechallenge.co.uk


Sri Dharma Mittra in London December 4th, 5th & 6th 2015 at Lord’s Cricket Ground Join us for a weekend with the legendary yoga teacher, who has taught and inspired hundreds of thousands of students around the world. Friday, December 4th Maha Shakti for Psychic Energy, 6.30-8.30pm Saturday, December 5th Maha Sadhana: The Great Practice of Dharma Yoga, 10-12pm Maha Shakti for Wisdom and Energy with Dharma Yoga Nidra, 2-5pm Sunday, December 6th Body, Mind and Soul Energizing Master Class, 10-12pm Maha Shakti for Psychic Energy, 2-4pm Full weekend £240 The workshops will take place at the Nursery Pavilion Lord’s Cricket Ground St John’s Wood Road London, NW8 8QN

For bookings please contact: Indaba Yoga Studio +44 (0) 207 724 9994 www.indabayoga.com welcome@indabayoga.com


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In the

Night Garden A little bit of nature action goes a long way to bring balance to family life by Siri Arti

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y grandma always used to tell me: “You’re closer to god in a garden than anywhere else on earth.� I was young when she told me that and, although she was passing on sacred wisdom down the female line, I was too busy planning strategies to steal her cigarettes. It was a long time ago. Years later, I too became an adult and found myself responsible for running a household, building a business and growing my own children. At night, after long, exhausting days, I sought solace in the quiet. With the children asleep, the night garden called to me in a whisper, and I obeyed. Every night, in the darkness, I found my peace again. My night garden activities continued, and I replaced the glow of a cigarette with the glow of a candle flame. In the night garden I meditated, counted stars and made endless garden fires. But none of these things took the pressure off completely.

Flower garden

Then, one day, I moved into a house with a well-established English garden with flowerbeds galore. Sitting in my night garden one beautiful dusky evening, I heard the familiar voice of my favorite grandma. This time I received the message and the next day I started planting. Tomatoes, artichokes, lettuces, sugar snaps, beetroot, carrots, maize, pak choi and endless herbs. I reinvented myself as the green goddess of the night and the healing began. Each night, as my children fall asleep, I step into the garden inviting it to embrace

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me. I softly water the plants, taking time to be present and slow. I take in the aroma of the strawberry plants as the water moves their leaves. I weed the beds, tie up the sugar snaps and make space for the carrots to expand. Sitting on the earth, getting my hands dirty, I whisper to the plants and watch them glow in my care. In the night garden, I am put together again; ready to embrace yet another day.

Family time

My night garden escapades got me pondering how to roll the benefits out to my family. My secret nights, playing with soil and growing our salad, made me a far better person. I had become a more patient and grounded parent, my sleep had improved and I was less reactive than normal. Nighttime routines in the house were calmer, and the most exciting part of all was the sheer abundance on our dining table, not to mention the early morning green smoothies, fresh from the garden. I wanted to integrate my garden into our daily family life and this is how I did it: l Itaught my children what I had learned, and started spending time with them in the garden - during the day, of course night times remained sacred ‘me time’. l Itook them shopping for plants and allowed them to choose whatever they fancied. l Ishared my excitement with them by showing them the daily changes that took place as if by magic.

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l Iasked for help when I needed to stake the tomatoes or pick the strawberries, and found that while we work alongside each other, we chatted about our days. l Iadded weeding to their weekly chore list and sent them out to collect salad ingredients at night, or sugar snaps for packed lunches in the morning. l Isaw my children learn patience watching vegetables grow, and compassion when a plant didn’t make it. l W e started to share our abundance with visitors and neighbors and the children showed pride in choosing collections for them. My family shared the bounty and reaped the benefits of doing so within the community. l Inoticed that we were having more and more ‘gardening moments’ and realized that just as my night garden adventures balanced me, our day garden explorations were balancing my family. I was ecstatic, but played it cool. There was a subtle change happening in my family and I planned to give it space to bloom. I will finish with these sweet words by Alfred Austin: “The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but also the soul.”

Siri Arti is the lead trainer of Starchild Yoga and is passionate about educating for peace. Join the family at: starchildyoga.org Courses in 2016 in London, Israel and South Africa.

Younique Yoga

“Lollipop” Funky Yoga Leggings

£45 www.youniqueyoga.com


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Conscious Parenting Trust your teen genius. By Siri Arti

Communication in adolescents is in a constant state of change. Before they even fully arrive into a new version of themselves, it is modified, and their adaptation to this change is done with lightening speed. Rather like a technical gadget, if we can’t update to a new version, the older version starts to glitch. What that means to us, as adults, is that as we struggle to keep up, it becomes more difficult to understand our own children. Their need to separate from us, to create a new crew or identity, is about survival, and their innovation to do this is both impressive and frustrating. According to Daniel J. Siegel, the author of Brainstorm, adolescents are hardwired for adventure and connection. It is during the adolescent years that it becomes risky to not take a risk. They are full of novelty and impulsivity, and this can be seen in their ability to adapt and change their language so creatively, time and time again. There is no space for stagnation. It is in the coding of adolescents to create groups that become their ‘family’. Their peer groups mean everything to them, because their survival depends on a shared journey. This group energy is about connection, safety and belonging. At times, when you can barely get a few words out of your teenager, they will be communicating with plenty of friends, in varying mediums, using as many screens and apps as they have at their disposal. With each conversation, their words are seeped in deep love and adoration,

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ending conversations with LY, ILY or LYSM (I know right!). To enable privacy, new languages are created. It’s no wonder we can’t keep up with the ever-changing means of communication - we aren’t supposed to. This is about their world, their connection, and their survival. These kids are intelligent, skilled, hardworking, creative geniuses. Their communication skills and ability to connect is far more enlightening than ours. So give them the space to create, and the trust to connect and their ingenuity will provide the means for our species to survive.

Siri Arti is the founder of Starchild Yoga (starchildyoga.org)


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books Restorative Yoga Therapy - The Yapana Way To Self-Care And Well-being Leeann Carey New World Library (newworldlibrary) RRP: £14.99 Yapana Yoga Therapy is a Hatha yoga practice designed by Leeann Carey to address the imbalances of a busy modern day lifestyle. The practice consists of a series of simple movements to first warm up the body. This is then followed by more dynamic (doing) and then relaxing (being) poses held for an extended time with yoga props, and ending with a final relaxation (still) pose to complete the practice. This book explores in depth the ‘being’ and ‘still’ aspects. “Because we live in a fast-paced world, restorative poses are necessary to help restore us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually,” says Carey. The book includes over 100 photos and clear instructions for seated and supine forward bends, back bends, twists, inversions, as well as breath work and final relaxation poses. Helpful hints also on relieving common complaints like stress, lower back pain and stiff shoulders.

Further reading: NLP - How to use Neuro-Lingustic Programming to Change Your Life

Ali Campbell, Hay House (hayhouse.co.uk), £8.99 From the popular Hay House Basics series, this book is a great introduction to one of the most powerful and exciting psychological techniques in use today. Learn how to overcome fears and make positive changes in your life. From life coach, NLP practitioner and hypnotherapist Ali Campbell.

Practice in paradise www.paradiseretreats.yoga Upcoming Yoga, SUP Yoga, and Yoga and Kiteboarding Retreats in Tulum, Mexico

The Concise Book of Yoga Anatomy An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Motion Jo Ann Staugaard-Jones, Lotus Publishing (lotuspublishing.co.uk), £14.99

Perfect companion for any yoga teacher seeking to understand the biomechanics of the body. Designed in quick reference format to offer information on the main skeletal muscles that are central to yoga, with asanas to demonstrate particular muscle groups. Includes over 230 full color illustrations.

www.oceanflow.yoga caroline@carolinegwyoga.com


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THE BUSINESS OF YOGA

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Why do some yoga teachers struggle with the idea of charging for their classes? Lea Schodel explores the arguments

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s it okay for yoga teachers to earn money? Views are split about this question and both sides have clear arguments supporting their views. Ultimately, it will come down to personal opinion. But before we explore the different views here, let’s look at the history of yoga and how the practice came about.

Yoga history

The practice of yoga has undergone four distinct phases: PreClassical Yoga, Classical Yoga, Post-Classical Yoga and Modern Yoga. Some scholars argue that yoga has been practiced for as many as 10,000 years, others say it has only been around for about 5,000 years. Yoga was first practiced in Northern India by the IndusSarasvati civilization. The Brahmans, or Vedic priests first wrote about yoga in the Rig Veda, a sacred text of songs, mantras and rituals the priests often used in their religious practices. With development of the yoga practice, the Brahmans documented both their practices and beliefs in a collection of over 200 scriptures referred to as the Upanishads. The Upanishads took yoga from ritualistic sacrifice to the practice of sacrificing of the ego through the knowledge of oneself, through action and wisdom. The classical period was when yoga began to take on a more systematic approach into an eightlimbed path towards enlightenment. These developments are credited to Patanjali, who is considered to be the father of yoga.

“In addition to teaching, yoga instructors may also fill the role of counsellor, mentor and trusted advisor or confidante – all requiring time and commitment.” Post-classical yoga signaled the rejection of the Vedic teachings in exchange for the embracement of the teaching of the physical body as the means to achieving enlightenment. This led to the development of Tantra Yoga which involves making connections between the spirit and the physical body to cleanse both the mind and the body. These practices laid the foundation for Hatha Yoga which is yoga as known and practiced in Western societies. The Modern period of yoga began in the late 1800s when yoga masters began to travel to the West. These yoga masters or ‘gurus’ attracted many followers and gained lots of attention. Hatha Yoga was strongly promoted by the Gurus T. Krishnamacharya and Swami Sivananda and the first yoga school was opened in Mysore in 1924 by Krishnamacharya. The school started with three students and grew from there. The practice slowly trickled into Hollywood in 1947 when Indra Devi opened her first studio. The practice of yoga has grown and blossomed from there into what is known in Western society as Hatha yoga. From these beginnings, yoga, as we now know it, has evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry and attracted millions of followers world-wide.

Modern yoga teachings

In the US alone, 2005 estimates indicated that there were over

70,000 instructors of yoga. Across other western societies, there are growing numbers of yoga teachers. The practice in the US and other western societies is for yoga teachers to be compensated for their time and expertise. However, the pay is considered to be small in comparison to other professions. Being a yoga instructor can be an expensive venture with costs to cover such as the initial cost of training, yoga props and clothing and the cost of transportation to and from yoga studios, to name a few. If studios are rented then the cost to lease a studio, as well as marketing expenses, other instructor’s wages, insurance and utility costs all need to be met to keep the facilities running. However, the biggest cost is usually the cost of ongoing development and additional training which can run into thousands of dollars. There are many instructors who take more than a year to break even and some instructors take as many as five years to pay off the costs of training alone. Many yoga teachers struggle to pay their bills based on what they make from instructing. In addition to teaching, yoga instructors may also fill the role of counsellor, mentor and trusted advisor or confidante – all requiring time and commitment. If students decide not to show up at yoga classes, often the yoga instructor will not be compensated for those sessions. Obviously, being a yoga instructor in the modern world is a costly undertaking, not to mention highly-demanding and oftentimes stressful. It’s likely that many yoga teachers pursue their career out of passion as opposed to monetary reward.

Opposing arguments

There are some who believe that it is not ‘yogic’ to ask for compensation as a yoga instructor. This belief has its base in the historical practices of yoga in Eastern societies where yoga was taught for free as a religious undertaking on the path to enlightenment. Many believe that business and spirituality should not be mixed. In the same way that many believe that a pastor should not be paid for their job as a pastor, many believe that yoga instructors should not demand or expect to be compensated for their role as teachers. For many, however, Modern Yoga is not seen purely as a spiritual practice but instead a form of physical discipline to produce health benefits.

The verdict

Whether or not a yoga teacher charges for their services should be a personal decision. In modern western society, it is the norm, it is an acceptable practice to charge for being an instructor. Yoga teachers certainly are not breaking yogic ethical rules by charging for their services since often the compensation is small in comparison to what is invested in students in both time and effort. One can hardly consider charging small amounts as greed. The fact is yoga teachers need to earn in order to be able to pay their bills and in order not to have to depend on handouts for their survival. The practice of yoga instruction is a valuable and demanded practice that deserves proper compensation like any other type of instructing. Of course, those who are not comfortable charging for their services as yoga teachers, have the right to make their services available free of charge or to offer donation only classes.

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My yoga business: Teacher tales

Take your time

The 365 Savasana Project – 365 days on

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ime flies when you’re talking Savasana. In September 2014, I embarked on a 365 day Savasana practice. The aim? To practice savasana for 20 minutes each day. I did not know what to expect. But I knew I had to do something about taking some time out more consistently, as well as address my difficulty with allowing myself to be still (without that guilty feeling that there was something else I should be getting done instead). I find it hard to believe 12 whole months have passed. Some days, 20 minutes has extended into 30 and felt like no time at all. But on other days I kicked myself for deciding to do this. Ah, 365 days of savasana sounded like such a good idea at the time! A lot of resistance came up, yet this was undoubtedly when I needed savasana most. I’ve found (especially on the days where I thought, “I don’t have time!”) that practicing does not take time, it gives time. Always. I never thought, “Ah, I shouldn’t have bothered with that savasana.” Along the way I noticed when working long hours or feeling more stressed there was a high likelihood of falling asleep. I took this as

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a clear signal to ask myself if I was filling my diary with anything unnecessary. Falling asleep during savasana tends to be a sign of exhaustion (an insight from Judith Hanson Lasater that has stayed with me ever since studying with her). So, has it all been worth it. Definitely yes. Overall, I am more content and more determined to be less ‘busy’. That does not mean I want to sit around doing nothing all day, but rather it has made me more aware of looking at how much of my time is spent doing things I want to do versus things I do not want or need to do. And for those times when ‘busyness’ seems unavoidable, practicing savasana has had a positive impact on how I respond both physically and mentally. Is 365 days of savasana not for you? I still encourage you to find healthy ways to look after yourself, especially when feeling out of balance. Having your own personalized self-care toolkit at your disposal when you most need it will serve you very well.

For more information on The 365 Savasana Project or to try it for yourself visit ucanyoga.co.uk


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Teachekr Spea

Ever wondered what your teacher’s going on about? Adam Hocke demystifies popular yoga terminology

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s postural yoga teachers and students we employ a variety of words and phrases that wouldn’t make much sense in polite society. We overload their meaning and use so heavily that we create a hugely subjective muddle. Let’s reclaim an understanding of these words, use them consciously, and deepen their effect.

FLAT BACK

Anatomically Speaking

‘Flat back’ or ‘straight spine’ instructions are often delivered, often vilified, and often misunderstood. As is commonly known, the spine has and will always have curves along the sacral, lumbar, thoracic, and cervical segments. The shape and balance of these curves differs slightly in each practitioner due to skeletal variation, muscular balance, and

postural habits. When instructing towards a ‘flat back’ or ‘straight spine,’ teachers are generally asking you to engage a state of neutral and efficient equilibrium between the spinal curves. In practice, maintaining engaged equilibrium of the spinal curves has a role in active forward folding to strengthen and stretch the spine and efficiently release thigh and hip muscles. In seated and standing postures, ‘straight spine’ instruction may aid practitioners in visualising a supportive neutral alignment. Beyond neutral, ‘flat back’ can be taken more literally into axial extension, which modestly lengthens the spine and reduces its curves.

Spiritually speaking

The emphasis on ‘flat back’ and ‘straight spine’ originates partially in postural instruction from early texts on meditation. It was taught that an erect and alert spine was conducive to one’s journey towards enlightenment. In the modern

stew of yoga, these instructions have been coopted into the preferred alignment of the shapes we now make. In general, most people breathe more naturally and feel anecdotally better when sitting upright or finding spinal equilibrium. Computer posture tends to round us down into an ever more compressed and depressed state. When spinal curves are not in balance, one can also feel persistent physical pain that interferes and blocks deeper exploration of asana and meditation. However, like all instructions it can become rigid from overuse. Work towards becoming upright and not uptight. ‘Flat back’ is not an accurate instruction, nor is it the only movement of the spine conducive to therapeuticor meditative work, but it can be a helpful visualization to refine one’s asana and meditation practice. Be deliberate, skillful, and clear with this instruction to reassert its power and efficacy. By Adam Hocke (adamhocke.com)

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How To Be A Yoga Rockstar:

Part 6 of 9

Think of designing your workshops and retreats as though you’re creating the party of the century

Amazing workshops & retreats

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orkshops and retreats are great ways to grow your yoga business. They can be profitable, and they can be a lot of fun, but they are also hard work too, and require detailed planning for success. If you’re a new teacher, then it’s best to start small. That dream holiday retreat in the Seychelles may be very appealing, but the prohibitive costs involved will put you under a lot of pressure. It’s just common sense. One small but successful event with lots of happy, smiley faces at the end will nurture your confidence; one big retreat that ends badly may shatter it. Designing both workshops and retreats should be fun, no matter how modest (or grand) the occasion is.

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When you first start planning your event, think of it as though you are creating a wonderful party for all to come to, whether it’s a short, two-hour workshop close to home, or a full week away in the sun. Yes, there’s a business goal behind it all, but let your imagination fly; don’t limit your creative thinking. This is one of the fun parts, so get your friends involved in the process too. For themes and ideas, ask your students what they’d like, or look for ways in which you can support their learning from regular classes. Think up some audacious names, and find one that captures the essence of what you’re hoping to teach. Create an event that you’d want to go to yourself. Now that’s a party! Here are a few other things to ponder when working out workshops and retreats:

COSTS: list everything (otherwise you’ll never know if you made a profit or not) STRUCTURE: create a logical plan for a natural flow to all your events TAKEAWAY: make sure students learn something to take away afterwards FEEDBACK: this will be invaluable when you put your next event together.

Next time: The Next Level (yoga travel, video, online, teacher training) For thousands of inspiring yoga business ideas on workshops, retreats, and all other areas of teaching (plus dozens of case studies from leading teachers), read the new book ‘How To Be A Yoga Rockstar: The Ultimate Guide To Making A Living Teaching Yoga’ by OM editor Martin D Clark. Available on Amazon


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OUT NOW A new book by OM editor, Martin D Clark What people are saying about it: “I wish this book had existed when I did my yoga training course” “I will add it to the recommended reading list for my yoga trainings”

Order: ommagazine.com/shop & amazon.com


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Love spreads

Training Palestinian yoga teachers to spread the love in the Middle East

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BROGA® FITNESS YOGA CERTIFICATION

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pioneering yoga group is looking to bring peace and reconciliation to one of the world’s most infamous trouble spots, the Middle East. The Yoga Beats Conflict project – led by tattooed teacher trainer David Sye (yogabeats.com) – has for years supported yoga as a path to peace among both the Israeli and Palestinian communities. His joint classes, incorporating Jewish and Muslim students, have long provided hope in a region more commonly ruled by fear and separation. Now, a week long retreat is planned, away from the gritty streets of Gaza and the West Bank, to train up to 25 more Palestinians to spread the yoga love. Popular retreat center Azul Yoga and Pilates (azulfit.com) has invited Sye to lead the group in November at their Fuerteventura base in the Canary Islands. It will give participants skills to help themselves and their communities cope with

life in a conflict zone, where civil liberties are controlled and the possibility of arrest and intimidation is ever present. Karissa and Jamie Isaac, the founders of Azul Yoga and Pilates, are supporting the project as part of their SEVA mission to ensure Yoga Beats Conflicts is able to continue its work. The training is also being supported via a crowd-funding initiative. For the first time, it means students from the Palestinian Territories will be able to escape the region to train and learn in a completely safe environment. The training primarily concentrates on giving students psychological skills to cope with life in a conflict zone, whether that conflict is internal or external. Since 2004, Sye has travelled regularly to the West Bank using yoga as a means to break down barriers and change perceptions. Last year, he held his first Yogabeats foundation teacher training course in Bethlehem.

4 night REPS accredited residential course October 23rd-28th Cheltenham College Yoga is the biggest fitness trend in the market ARE YOU CERTIFIED TO ATTRACT THE GROWING MARKET OF MEN AND BRINGING NEW YOGIS TO THE MAT? Rigoros fitness and yoga training combine so students can directly apply sport and anatomy to the need for yoga movement. You will learn to work with people who have always been curious about yoga, sports teams and develop skills to become the most inspiring group fitness presenter you can be.

Read the full course brochure and booking form on broga.uk.com or email heybro@broga.uk.com

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$ELLING UP or SE££ING OUT?

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When Deyna Hirst (pictured) tried to sell her yoga business and classes recently, she was met with a torrent of abuse from other yogis. Here she tells her story...

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t is indisputable that yoga is big business in contemporary times. As a yoga student, there is a weird and wonderful mix of styles, studios, teachers and classes to choose from; prices vary between classes, geographical location and individual teachers. There are also an increasing number of people ducking out of the conventional ‘rat race’ and training to be yoga teachers, often as a second career or for personal development. Once trained, teachers need to spend time building up a timetable of classes, venues and clientele: it is a process that can take years and a lot of hard work. Some opt to be part-time and combine yoga teaching with a ‘day’ job; others strive to be fulltime which is often a daunting proposition if you have a mortgage and bills to pay, especially in a market that is becoming close to saturation. So, as a teacher you’ve spent years building a yoga business and you have students that return each term and a reasonably healthy income. What happens if circumstances change and you are ready to move on or move away? In any other sector you would be encouraged to sell your business for three times your annual profit and reap the rewards of your early endeavors. This could be selling ‘goodwill’, a client base, or a service, such as window cleaning. But is it ethical to apply this model to a yoga business? Are your students ‘followers’ to whom you have duty or are they your customers who when you leave want continuity of class times and venues? If you ‘sell’ rather than ‘give away’ your classes are you offering an opportunity to a newly qualified teacher who can put time and energy into teaching rather than marketing and organizing classes, or are you exploiting students and fellow yoga professionals alike? When some of our yoga work is about building selfesteem, and confidence to walk your ‘true’ path, is it not valuing your own self to regognize the time and energy spent creating a yoga service?

My story

Well, here’s my story: I have spent 15 years teaching yoga in venues around South Lakeland, Cumbria and qualified as a Dru yoga teacher in 2009. Over the years I have developed a timetable of 6-9 classes per week generating an income around £13,000 per annum. These are 5-8 daytime classes with some including retired

attendees (though not exclusively), a class for people with MS, some at a senior school and one stronger evening class at a climbing wall. Most students have been coming to the classes for many years and sign up each term. Four of the classes have a guaranteed fixed fee of £50 per class. Due to a change in circumstances I am taking a sabbatical for a year and exploring different ways to work with my yoga skills. Dru encourages its teachers to conduct their yoga work as a business and after talking to friends and associates, plus meditating on my personal yoga ethics, I decided that I wanted to try and sell my business so that I have a financial base from which to move forward in yoga and the services I want to promote and offer. My students were fully informed about this and although they are sad to see me leave they are happy that I am seeking a replacement so that their classes can continue. What I am offering is the class timetable with established venues, timings and clientele. I would not feel comfortable handing over my database without the consent of people on it but I would invite my students to be part of a new teacher’s database and I would actively promote the right person. I know they would retain the goodwill of my clients and their continued attendance.

Here’s what I did

I advertised my business at offers around £20,000 on Facebook sites for yoga teacher groups. I was then shocked to receive a torrent of outrage about my post (and some support, particularly from one teacher who would also like to sell the yoga business she has spent 10 years building). My post was subsequently removed and I was banned from the group for not being a ‘true yogi’. So, how do we define and decide what is a ‘true yogi’ when we are all working within a capitalist culture? Why is it okay to charge a substantial sum for yoga teacher training, for retreats, classes and continuous professional development but not reasonable to then expect a fair sum for an established business? It’s a debate that may not be resolved to the satisfaction of all in the yoga community. But in these evolving times, it is a conversation that perhaps needs to happen in a non-judgemental, open and considered way so that we may grow both as professionals and yogis.

Have your say

What do you make of the idea of selling on a yoga business? Is it right for a yoga teacher to sell and pass on classes and schedules or is it unethical? Let us know what you think. Email: editor@ommagazine.com

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Yoga is for every body Your pictures. Your community

Cheyenne Ravarino gets down with her dog

Lucciana Pereira at the OM Yoga Show Manchester

Maeve Bayles teaching

Flora Lee

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Tree Pose: Stella Tomlinson at Mottisfont Abbey, Hampshire, England

Melissa Gall at the Botanic Garden in Chicago


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Leslie Kaminoff workshop, Glasgow

Cat nap: Carrie A Groff in savasana (with her cat)

Liz Jackson in vertical selfie

Pip Daffurn

Leanne Leggo

We want your photos!

Send us happy shots, fun pics, great asana (or bad asana!), big smiley faces, anything at all – and see them in OM Magazine. It doesn’t have to be you doing a yoga pose either. We want to see your yoga life: a pre-class group hug, a cup of tea after class, what you got up to at the weekend, send them all via email to: tom@primeimpact.co.uk

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23rd, 24th & 25th October 2015 Alexandra Palace London N22 7AY

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Life & loves of a yoga teacher

OM writer Lesley Dawn quizzes yoga teachers up and down the country to reveal their life and loves Name: Jude Williams Age: 40 Location: Birmingham Training: BWY Diploma. Teaching since 2002. Specialism: Hatha yoga

Describe yourself as a color Green. It’s a restful color and I think I am a fairly relaxed sort of person. Morning or night person Definitely a night person. I thrive much better at night and I cannot do early mornings (I hate getting up for the school run). My yoga classes are taught in the evenings, I just seem to be at my best then. Favorite meal I am an Italian food addict. When I was little I grew up on traditional English food until my mom decided to change our diet and use lots of garlic and pasta. Now I cook with garlic all the time. As a family, we all love curry too. We have some fabulous Indian restaurants in Birmingham. Most memorable holiday The Adirondacks in New York State, a massive area of lakes and surrounding forest where there’s the opportunity to see bears in the wild (it’s where The Last of the Mohicans was filmed). We were expecting to do a lot of walking but my husband broke his foot, and then I caught an infection, so we decided to canoe down the lakes instead. I was pregnant at the time and was looking forward to an adventure! Favorite book My favorite book is ‘Yoga and the path of the urban mystic’ by Darren John Main, a very accessible guide. I’m on my second copy as my first fell apart. Also, the children’s book, ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’, by Michael Rosen. The copy that I read to my sons is very worn.

Best light-bulb moment In my twenties I had ME and could get quite anxious. My enlightening moment was probably to question myself on how to relieve my anxiety. I decided I needed to be more creative. I had made some jewellery but somehow I’d allowed my creative side to die, thinking that concentrating on a career was more important. So I decided to return to my jewellery making again and found a yoga class for people with ME. Once I was able to relax again, my yoga really took off and I took my teaching exams. I haven’t looked back since. Happiest moment to date Well, there have been two: when my two sons were born, Danny (seven) and Arlo (three). Wish for anything – what would it be World peace, naturally, but closer to home it would be for all my family to enjoy good health and happiness. Naughty but nice Chocolate eclairs. We all love them so I can’t say they are just a love of mine, they are something that we all share as a family.

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Awe-inspiring retreats and ideas for yoga explorers

Stretch out in Sri Lanka

Rediscover your inner self on a yoga experience of a lifetime Ride off into the sunset in tropical Sri Lanka. New luxurious yoga and wellbeing retreats, designed to nourish the mind, enliven the body and soothe the soul, are taking place next February, so get to the front of the queue now. Pure Body Balance Center for Wellbeing – run by husband and wife team, Karen Maidment and Adrian Stokes – are launching their first retreats to this Indian Ocean paradise which will be life defining events for the individuals that take part. The pair have been dedicating their life to the health and wellness industry for the past 15 years, so bring plenty of experience with them. They’re also working with guest yoga teachers, Jennifer Harvey and Emily Young. The holidays take place on the far northern tip of Sri Lanka, in a colonial style house on a hillside overlooking a small and remote sandy bay, close to the village of Dondra. It’s an incredibly peaceful spot, ideal for a restful and rejuvenating retreat. “This is your space to breathe, relax and nourish your body and soul,” says Maidment. “The lapping waves of the Indian Ocean are set to soothe your soul whilst the sounds of the jungle calm your busy mind. The spectacular scenery, fresh sea air, handmade bespoke cuisine and an extensive range of activities, workshops and therapies will leave you feeling refreshed and refocused.”

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First rate yoga sessions (on a sun-kissed rooftop yoga terrace) and wholesome local cuisine; afterwards enjoy the lounge by the junglefringed infinity pool, or sip a fresh king coconut in the shade of the lily pond meditation garden. Pure bliss. Prices start at £1,600 per person all inclusive, excluding flights. Nourish & Nurture: February 10-20, 2016 Journey to Wellbeing: February 21-March 2, 2016 purebodybalance.co.uk


om travel Ashtanga adventures There’s plenty going on in Sri Lanka this year too. Small group Ashtanga yoga retreats in September are being offered by Yoga Sri Lanka with both 6-day and 12- day options. Maximum 10 students. Stay at the Maya luxury boutique hotel in southern Sri Lanka, in the lush countryside near Tangalle, just a short drive from the beaches. Pure Ashtanga heaven. £1,100 to £1,400 for the full 12 days course. 6 nights start at £700 September 12-24, 2015 yogasrilanka.net

Kiwi warriors Bring out your inner warrior and enjoy a wild yoga and extreme sports adventure of a lifetime in New Zealand this year. Whether you’re a rock climber, a yogi, surfer, cyclist, a city worker or an adrenaline junkie, challenge your fears and test your comfort zones on this 12-day tour of the country’s stunning North Island. Off the mat, climb mountains and jump off them, sail the oceans and dive into the deep blue sea, or surf the waves. This retreat is about balancing your yin and yang energies, enjoying both the calm side of life on the yoga mat, and the thrills, as you venture into the wild unknown. £2,499 all inclusive, except flights (5% discount for OM readers) December 8-20, 2015 yogaepiphany.com

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MOVING MOUNTAINS The first full yoga retreat at Germany’s Lanserhof Tegernsee resort shifted moods and even weather patterns, writes Martin D. Clark

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’ve just landed at the Lanserhof Tegernsee, a 5-star health resort in Germany’s beautiful Bavaria region, tucked away in the Alpine foothills. From my balcony, I can see Austria, the mountain peaks clearly visible, but frequently disappearing in a dense mist. Soon after I arrived, in fact, the clouds came in for days to obscure the picture postcard view. It was only at the end of my stay, after unravelling myself on the mat during the center’s first ever yoga retreat, did the clouds really disappear. I like to think these unfathomable meteorological events perhaps reflected the group’s overall mood shift into clarity and positivity following a week of clean living and sustained yoga practice. Fanciful thinking, perhaps, but the Lanserhof Tegernsee is surely no ordinary place. Part of a small chain of spa hotels from Austria, and based on modern Mayr medicine, it’s as much a medical center as a health spa or yoga retreat. For those not familiar, Franz Xaver Mayr was a pioneering 20th century physician who helped rewrite the concept of conventional preventive medicine, tracing the root cause of many illnesses to the digestive system. As a result, the so-called Lans Med Concept includes the latest medical know-how, on top of complementary therapies,

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to provide guests with a truly state-of-the-art holistic health offer. This encompasses everything from yoga and nutrition through to DNA analysis; it’s a place where clinical doctors work side-by-side with Reiki healers and the chefs in the kitchen.

New meets old

This unique concept is to some extent reflected in the look and feel of the resort. Certainly, there’s no denying the luxury. No effort is spared in making guests feel comfortable: the surroundings are spotless and opulent, and all staff are incredibly friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. But the decor can sometimes reflect this partly clinical vibe, especially in and around the medical areas, which can be a bit emotionless (although, to be fair, DNA analysis was never meant to be a party). Having said that, many wonderful touches abound: from the sweet ‘My Thoughts & Notes’ booklets by the bedside for your evening musings, to the matchboxes marked ‘We Make You Glow’ and the complementary tea-light candles in the rooms. I especially liked the artwork in the visitor’s book when I first arrived, where previous guests had clearly


om travel gone to great lengths to show their gratitude in illustrated form. A stay at the Lanserhof is clearly good for your creative side. It’s a place, it seems, where both art and science can thrive; the team here weave together this innovative holistic health strategy in an effortless way. After a consultation with your doctor to go through your bioimpedance results or your genetics, you could be learning about nutrition in the lecture room, or discussing spirituality and watching a movie about Swami Sivananda. Or maybe just go swimming in the pool. Outside, if you want to explore, there are bicycles for hire to discover the pretty villages nearby, around the Tegernsee lake area where half of Munich escapes to on hot, sunny days, or try a round of golf on the fairways next door.

Yoga retreat

Within all of this, yoga is a natural fit. Even though this was the first retreat to be held since the Lanserhof Tegernsee opened its doors just over a year ago, yoga is one of the many regular activities on the schedule for guests. Leading this week-long Hatha retreat was a highly accomplished Swiss yoga instructor Julien Balmer, who has a natural talent for introducing complex ideas like working with subtle energies to a mainstream group. “People leave very motivated to carve out a little extra time for themselves, and feel more optimistic, more joyful and relaxed,” he says. He introduced what was a mostly mature adult student group to a range of postures, with a regular series of

poses to build familiarity, before mixing it up and testing us later on. With four hours of yoga each day (two in the morning, including a half hour meditation, and two in the late afternoon), there’s plenty of scheduled stretch time. The sound meditation first thing in the morning was more of a wake up call than a gentle rise and shine, but it was a good introduction to the session ahead. This began with various head and neck stretches and rolls, before moving on to the rest of the body. Balmer did a sterling job leading the class in both English and German (the majority of the group were either Swiss, Austrian or German) and didn’t assign too many names to his poses; it was only later in the week that we got in a ‘down dog’ for instance. After a week of four hours a day yoga, and with the view of the mountains from the mat, the group was soon loosening up and opening up. On top of that, the various extras that make up the yoga program here go a long way to restoring the body to its natural settings. My visits to the therapeutic massage table, for instance, were not at all what I anticipated, but boy did they work wonders. Not so much relaxing, these intense therapeutic sessions literally unwound the knots in my back, dayby-day, but only after some pummeling. After years of sitting at a desk working at a computer, I could feel the difference (they say you get what you need, not what you want). I even got a few tips from the treatment guys about posture to take away with me; a truly remarkable healing experience.

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Ideal world

What you eat is obviously an integral part of the overall wellness strategy here. There are various menus to pick from depending on what program you’re following and that includes options on the yoga retreat too. The food is varied, healthy and abundant (you won’t go hungry, unless you want to follow one of the stricter detox paths), and you’ll also wean yourself off the bad stuff (sugar, booze) - though there are still plenty of sweet treats to be had. Healthy teas and mineral water are also free throughout your stay and you’re constantly reminded to stay well hydrated. As my own body adjusted to a life without decadence, unwinding on the mat each day, and benefiting from the combined wisdom of the medical professionals on site, I found myself moving with greater ease, and seeing things with greater clarity. In fact, towards the end of the week, the cloud-busting dynamics of this retreat had cleared away the dull mountain haze to reveal the true, stunning landscape visible from the yoga deck. Nature at its finest, bathed in sunlight, free from the mundane concerns of ordinary life. In my ideal world, this is probably what the future might look like. Human beings being treated like, er, human beings, with daily yoga, fresh food and experts ready to listen to your troubles. Here, the emphasis is not so much

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on dealing with illness or disease (although the staff here are quite comfortable accommodating people with all kinds of ailments), but more on achieving vitality and optimum living. It’s a great feeling. Love you, Lanserhof.


om travel Retreat leader, Julien Balmer

RETREATS

Yoga, Meditation & Mantra Holiday—Algarve 12-19 September

Julien talking a class

LANSERHOF FACT FILE

£100 off for OM readers call 0800 043 0046

Hotel stay: £2,824 per person for 7 nights with basic program (prices vary depending on program level and duration)

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Directory - Holidays & Retreats PORTUGAL

Yoga Evolution Retreats, Portugal Ashtanga & yin yoga retreat with mindfulness meditation practices. With delicious raw & ayurdedic macrobiotic food set in a traditional six hectare Portuguese estate. Phone: 00351 272 634 004 Email: info@yogaevolutionretreats.com Web: www.yogaevolutionretreats.com

CRETE Yoga Rocks - Retreat to Triopetra, Crete Revitalise with internationally renowned teachers. Yoga & delicious food complements the incredible atmosphere at our unspoilt location. Spacious en-suite rooms with balconies overlook the pool and Mediterranean Phone: 020 32862586 Email: info@yogaholidaysgreece.com Web: www.yogaholidaysgreece.com

WORLDWIDE ONEWORLD retreats Weekly since 2003, ONEWORLD retreats provides travel experiences through a combination of yoga, meditation, spa and discoveries. Our distinctive retreats are offered in Ubud, Bali and abroad. Phone: +62.361.289752 Email: info@oneworldretreats.com Web: www.oneworldretreats.com

WORLDWIDE

Radiance Yoga Wellness Retreats Bali – Australia – Spain – France - Italy Radiance Retreats are an inspiring blend of quality yoga practice, guided beach & nature walks, hiking, massages & healing spa treatments, core strength classes, guided meditations, nutrition & healthy lifestyle discussions, evening yoga nidra, soulful cultural tours, healthy cooking classes, yogadance and a range of other inspiring classes with organic meals & juices set in beautiful locations. Phone: +61 0402 772 388 Email: info@radianceretreats.com Web: www.radianceretreats.com

UK Yoga as Medicine! – Mediyoga Overworked, stressed, headaches, neck/ back pains? Having problems coping? Treat yourself to a 2 day yoga course. Learn how to deep breathe, meditate and perform gentle yoga movements. Comfortable ensuite rooms, healthy food, relaxing atmosphere. Phone: 01202 555522 Email: goc.thompson@gmail.com Web: www.mediyoga.com

To advertise here please contact Sara on 01787 224040 or email sara@ommagazine.com

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Directory - Courses & Classes DEVON

UK VARIOUS LOCATIONS

The Devon School of Yoga The Devon School of Yoga. Established 1989. Two year Teacher Training Course (500hr). Five month Foundation course (100hr). Two year Postgraduate Yoga Therapy Course (250hr). Day Workshops, Weekend Residentials UK, North India Retreats. Experienced team. Twenty-six years of inspiration. Phone: 01392 420573 Email: info@devonyoga.com Web: www.devonyoga.com

Seasonal Yoga teacher Training Connecting students with their true nature. Our training is for those who wish to teach yoga or go on a journey of self development. 200 hour Yoga Alliance approved RYT, Glasgow, Cobham, Surrey, Palma Mallorca, Helsinki Finland. Phone: 07966 875208 Email: seasonalteachers@gmail.com Web: www.seasonalyoga.co.uk

ESSEX Iyengar Yoga Center for Essex (IYCE) Established 1995 to improve Iyengar Yoga in Essex. Provides: class information; workshops & yoga days; IYCE News; & teacher training. Teachers are registered to use the Iyengar Certification Mark. Email: info@iyce.com Web: www.iyce.com

UK VARIOUS LOCATIONS British Wheel Of Yoga Foundation Course 2015-2016 A BWY certified course to deepen your understanding of the many varied aspects of yoga. The course is suitable for people who have an established practice, and is recommended by the BWY as a first step for those interested in teacher training. Email: clare.harmonyoga@gmail.com Web: www.yogasp8ce.com

Seasonal Yoga Online For professionals, Seasonal conversion course, at home study online course. in season, 5 seasons, over 1 year. Over 50 videos and 30 hours of info in each season. £149 per season. Phone: 07966 875208 Web: www.seasonalyogaonline.com

To advertise here please contact Sara on 01787 224040 or email sara@ommagazine.com

Yoga teacher based in London Catia’s yoga path to self enquiry, begun in 2004 and in 2008 she became a certified yoga teacher. In her teaching she incorporates the principles of Ashtanga yoga, with a fluid creative vinyasa flow and great emphasis of the breath. With the intention to encourage self belief and the here and now. Catia’s passion for teaching allows her to fly all over the world and UK on yoga retreats and workshop. When she’s not out exploring the globe, you will find her on the mat @The power yoga co. Light center Belgravia as well as covering classes in some of London’s top studios. To follow her and learn more: :

Twitter: @yogaepiphany Instagram: @catiyoginisworld Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/ Yoga-Journey/14818885465

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THE STYLE POLICE Leave the labels for the designer shopping trips, not the yoga studio, writes Lexie Williamson

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e yogis tend to get hung up on labelling our style of yoga. “I liked it,” a man once whispered to me post-class, “but what was it?” I wasn’t sure how to respond, and not for the first time. I am a proud card-carrying member of the Vinyasa Flow Club. Anything fluid is good with me. If a sequence connects and glides I’m happy. But I also like to freeze frame poses and hold for a few minutes when it feels right. Or pause for a little pranayama refreshment. Does this brand me a Hatha yogi? I could, of course, always concoct a name to encapsulate my style (Vinihatha?) like a fellow teacher who has ‘Hathalini’ (a Hatha and Kundalini fusion) printed on her business cards. On the other hand, does it matter what it is called? I wouldn’t normally wonder but I’ve been working closely with an Iyengar devotee lately and the subject of our vastly differing styles has cropped up a lot. My student wants to apply for teacher training and must attend an interview where they watch her practice. Like many courses, nowadays, this one favors a more flowing yoga practice. For someone used to holding, tweaking and perfecting poses, the flow style seems a bit rushed and shoddy. I can see her wondering why us dynamic yogis are in such a rush. Undeterred, we began our 1-2-1 Introduction to the Fundamentals of Flow session by breaking down the Sun Salutation.

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“But where do I position my hands?” she asked. “Am I looking up?”. And, “Are my hips level?” It soon became apparent that for many Iyengar bunnies, the devil is in the detail – something often lacking from Surya Namaskar. Flow yogis, however, are just not that fussed. If it breathes and flows then it’s pretty much a goer. “Try not to overthink it,” I suggest unhelpfully. “It’s not so much the poses that matter here but how you transition in and out of them.” We returned to the mats and dialled back to Cat/Cow with the eyes closed to get a feel for the elusive ‘flow’. It worked, and by session three we had found a happy middle ground between Vinyasa and Iyengar. My student’s Sun Salutation was a thing of beauty and all of her own making. She had mastered flow but pared down the sequence and stirred in some Iyengar precision. Result? A tightly controlled but graceful sequence. Post-teacher training interview my student may return to the Iyengar camp she knows and loves, but now she also has the confidence to freestyle in flow if the desire strikes. What will her future style be called? No idea. It doesn’t need a name. Every school of yoga has its charms. I say mix and blend. Do whatever floats your boat (pose).

Lexie Williamson is a yoga teacher and health and fitness writer (pulseyoga.co.uk)


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