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DECEMBER 2016 - £4.50

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YOGA CALM

PRACTI WAYS TCAL PRACTI O BEINGCE PRESEN T

a stress-free sequence for the festive season

Snowboards and sun salutations

Manifest your dreams

a guide to creating a life of abundance

a different kind of yoga adventure

THE JOY OF YOGA NIDRA 12 PAGE SPECIAL REPORT

Ethical Beauty cruelty-free cosmetics and skincare products

• • • •

Trust the process

OM Meets – Nahid de Belgeonne Love chakra – delicious cake recipes 360º Yoga – Chair Pose Teacher zone – overcome with nerves

follow your intuition


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Photo: www.chphotography.ch


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OM Magazine Issue 67, December 2016 Published by:

Prime Impact, Park House, The Business Centre 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

Chief Editor:

Martin D. Clark e: martin@ommagazine.com

Designer:

Tom Sanderson e: tom@primeimpact.co.uk

Art Director:

Emily Saunders e: emily@primeimpact.co.uk

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Sara Stant 44 (0) 1787 224040 e: sara@ommagazine.com

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Hannah Irons 44 (0) 1787 224040 e: hannah@ommagazine.com

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Accounts:

Yolande Arnold 44 (0) 1787 224040 e: accounts@primeimpact.co.uk COVER: Elizabeth Rowan (thealchemyofyoga.com) photographed for the cover of OM Yoga and Lifestyle magazine issue 67 by Raftermen Photography (raftermen.com)

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 programme. 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.

Welcome

Welcome to our December issue. Yes, it’s the end of another year, but like all good endings it also heralds the start of something new as well. Let’s frame our outlook in the positive and look ahead to great things, both this month and in the coming year ahead. There’s certainly plenty to get excited about in this issue with some amazing stories and lots of inspiring people to keep your practice fresh and alive on and off the mat. Our talented roll call of teachers profiled this month includes Nahid de Belgeonne, founder of the Good Vibes yoga studios in London (page 38). We’ve also got Caleb Packham, an Australian former TV presenter who’s made his home in the capital to bring yoga’s teachings to as many people as he can, especially more men (page 54). In the Teacher Zone section you’ll find more on the debate on the possible introduction of occupational standards into the realm of yoga, a topic that has sparked one or two heated opinions. Read all about it on page 108 (and do let us know your thoughts as well). And, of course, in the run-up to Christmas we’ve got plenty of fun and fabulous yoga themed gift ideas inside if you’re still looking to buy something special for your loved ones (page 70). Our Ethical Beauty report (page 58) should provide a few clean-living, all-natural ideas for those Xmas stockings too. If that all sounds a bit hectic for you then unplug and explore the wonderful practice of Yoga Nidra (page 44), a magnificent and tranquil exercise that’s sure to reset your calm and zen levels. From all at OM HQ we’re signing off for this year, but we’ll be back and raring to go again in 2017. Look out for our January issue in-between Christmas and New Year, and remember that we’re going monthly now, so there’ll be a separate February issue too for the first time ever. Have a great Christmas all you amazing people, keep sharing the yoga love and see you on the mat real soon.

facebook.com/ommagazine twitter.com/omyogamagazine


OM in 30 seconds “This standing posture is often part of a Sun Saluation and opens the chest, armpits and ribcage allowing us to expand our breath. Chair Pose can be great for developing focus and concentration.” 360˚ Yoga (Page 42) “Anything you picture vividly in your mind’s eye with repetition, and with an authentic emotion, will be manifested and become a reality for you. Your sub-conscious mind will draw you to what it understands your destiny to be.” Manifest your dreams (Page 86) “Cruelty-free cosmetics and skincare products are aligned with many of yoga’s core values, including the central tenet of ahimsa, or nonharming…so let’s celebrate the rise and rise of ethical beauty.” Ethical Beauty Report (Page 58)

This month’s competition & subscription

Competition

Win a Purple Valley Ashtanga Yoga retreat with Greg Nardi and Juan Carlos worth £1350*

See page 47

Subscription SUBSCRIBE TODAY and save over 35% Receive 12 issues (1 year) for £36 instead of £54.

See page 32

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Contributors Lucy Sabin

Lucy Sabin is a freelance journalist and social media ninja. She is passionate about yoga as an instrument for finding wellbeing in our busy, technophile lives. As a trained Embodied Yoga Principles teacher, Lucy believes that embodied wisdom can help you succeed in just about anything. Find her on LinkedIn and Twitter and follow her blog about women working in technology, based on her personal experience of learning website development. Lucy holds a First Class degree in French, Spanish and Philosophy from Durham.

Emma Després

A dedicated Guernsey born and bred yogini, Emma Després is a mummy, earth spirit, Reiki teacher, holistic therapist, published writer and poet, professional company secretary, keen sea swimmer and mountain trekker, and lover of all things nature-based. She has developed an eclectic approach to her teaching, healing and life in general, which encourages the heart to lighten, the energy to flow, the spirit to shine and compassion for all beings.

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 favourite 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 Meg Jackson; Real Life Yoga Victoria Jackson; OM Lite Jill Lawson; Meditation Of The Month Deb Mac; What’s Your Affirmation Andrew McGonigle; 360˚ with Doctor Yogi Sarah Swindlehurst; Yoga Therapy Charlotte Watts; De-stress: Yoga Off The Mat Julia White; Yoga & Aromatherapy

WORDS OF WIDSOM “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” Ralph Waldo Emerson


December 2016

Contents OM Regulars

OM FM

5

Editors Letter

54

10

My Secret Place

57 Man On The Mat: Extended Bound Revolved Side Angle

12 Letters 14

Yoga Changed My Life

16

All You Need Is Understanding

18

Takeout Yoga

19

What’s Your Affirmation

20

Let Your Chakras Shine

Cover Story

SPECIAL

Ethical Beauty

58 Because You’re Gorgeous: Cruelty-Free Cosmetics & Skincare

60  Buyer Beware: Be Vigilant For Unwanted Ingredients

21 Yoga & Aromatherapy:

62 A Commitment To Kindness: Kind To

22

64 Made In Switzerland: Akamuti Love

The Planet

Myrrh Essential Oil

Amazing Spaces

24 OM Loves:

66 The Dark Side Of Feminine Hygiene:

26

Fashion: Elle-ivation

68 Absolutely Fabulous: Clean-Living

30

Planet Yoga

Natural Alternatives

Beautiful Things For Beautiful People

Beauty Products

115 OM Books: Great Yoga Reads

OM Mind

116 Yoga Is For Every Body: Your Photos.

76 Meditation Of The Month:

Your Community

130 OM Lite: Practicing Like A Bear

The Winds Of Change

Cover Story

OM Body

8

The Man From MTV: Caleb Packham

Cover Story

34

Yoga At Home:

Cover Story

38

OM Meets…Nahid de Belgeonne

Cover Story

42 360˚ Yoga: OM’s Anatomy Academy.

Cover Story

44 The Joy Of Yoga Nidra: A Gentle But

80 Eating With Awareness:

From Mindful Eating To Mindful Living

Yoga Calm

OM Spirit

This month: Chair Pose

82 Be A Better You: 5 Ways To Better Quality Relationships

Powerful Practice

48

Flow In The Dark: Feel-Good Yoga

50

Yoga Therapy: Hyperthyroidism

52

Yoga A-Z: Z Is For Zero

78 6 Practical Ways To Practice Being Present

84 The Ecological Crisis As Spiritual Initiation: An Author’s View Cover Story

86 Manifest Your Dreams: Creating A Life Of Abundance


54 48

Christmas Gift Guide

58

From page 70

OM Living 90 Eat Drink Yoga: Healthy Eating Goodies Cover Story

92

Love Chakra: Let There Be Cake

96 A Healthy Eating Guide To The Planet: Healthy Diets Around The World

98 Gut Ready For Christmas: Festive Digestive Tips

OM Family 100 Conscious Parenting: Let The Children Decide

OM Actions

86

102 The Sacred Space: New Miami Wellness Centre

Cover Story

104 Trust The Process: One Teacher’s Journey

OM Teacher Zone 106 Life & Loves Of A Yoga Teacher

38 120

108 The Yoga Standards Controversy: National Occupational Standards (NOS)

110 NOS Viewpoint 1: Traditional Yoga Association

111 NOS Viewpoints 2 & 3: British Wheel of Yoga; Yoga Alliance Professionals

112 NOS Viewpoints 4 & 5: BGI Insurance; Independent Yoga Network

Cover Story

114 Teacher’s Tales: Overcome With Nerves

OM Travel 118 OM Travel News: Awe Inspiring Retreats & Ideas For Yoga Explorers

Cover Story

120 Snowboards And Sun Salutations: Yoga In The French Alps

124 Winter Wonderland: Austria’s Hotel Jagdhof

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My secret place Location Guildford, Surrey Yogi Claire Berghorst Photo Elizabeth Boyle The photo shows Ashtangi Claire Berghorst playing in the birch trees outside Guildford, photographed by Elizabeth Boyle (with the back-drop yarn by @ladywulbits). Berghorst enjoys having access to these beautiful natural surroundings and rolling out a mat when the British weather allows. She says that yoga is her rock, providing a safe foundation for life that she can access at any time. Playing outdoors on the uneven surface feels both real and playful, challenging her balance but also providing support. She also enjoys long walks with her family through the woods, allowing the tapestry of yoga to infuse her life.

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Seriously. A crème fraiche without the crème, which means that for the first time ever, everyone can enjoy it. You might be thinking: “No crème? How can it be a crème fraiche?” Which is exactly why you should consider putting this ad down and picking up a carton to try yourself. In Sweden, where we make this amazing

product, it has done nothing less than revolutionise the lives of our veggie, vegan and lactoseaverse friends because not only is it completely dairy-free, it performs just like fraiche, which is pretty fraiche if you think about it. Oh, one more thing. You’ll find it in the chilled section at Tesco. Enjoy.


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YOGA CHANGED MY LIFE

Yoga helped Ali Schilling bounce back from a difficult divorce Why did you start yoga

NAME: Ali Schilling AGE: 39 OCCUPATION: Photographer, yoga teacher, single mum

YOGA YEARS: 15 (three years In 2013, my husband walked out on our marriage, extensively) leaving me with two little girls aged just three and 11 months. My whole world literally collapsed overnight and two years of acrimonious divorce were to follow. The anxiety and stress took its toll – I couldn’t eat or sleep and would frequently run to the bathroom, tearing off my clothes in agony to find my whole body covered in hives. But mostly, I couldn’t breathe. It sounds so silly, but it was like my body had forgotten how. Someone suggested I tried yoga. I had dipped in and out for years – never properly connecting with the practice – but I was so desperate I was willing to try anything. I found a class locally and was instantly hooked. The teacher was amazing and the way it made me feel was indescribable; it was lifesaving.

How has yoga changed your life

After one particularly intense week of divorce battles, I arrived at my class. I will never forget my teacher’s face – I must have looked terrible. She walked over to me, placed a hand on my shoulder and said: “You need an angel. I can help”. It was the first time anyone outside of my immediate circle of support saw how much I was suffering and I felt so much love and kindness. The class that night was very emotional for me but it confirmed one thing – I wanted to make yoga a major part of my life. Roll on almost two years, I am now a fully qualified teacher and about to open my own little studio in Muswell Hill, north London.

Favourite yoga haunts

My ‘angel’ of a teacher sadly left the UK not long after but I have continued to practice locally in north London. I also like to try out different studios around the city – there is a never-ending pool of extraordinary teachers out there and there is something to gain from everyone I think. But I also really enjoy my home practice, upstairs in the tranquility of my bedroom with the happy sounds of my children playing downstairs.

Best yoga moment

Learning to breathe again. That’s been the biggest revelation for me – the power of deep restorative breathing. But also when my little girls take an interest and want to join in. I will never force yoga on them but often, when I’m practicing at home, they will creep into my bedroom to watch and inevitably we end up trying out poses together.

Anything else

Opening a studio is the most terrifying thing I have ever done and I am fully aware that it will be a long, tough road ahead to make it work. But the driving force for me is that feeling of love and support I received when I needed it most. If having this space can do anything remotely similar for someone else then I will have achieved everything I set out to do with it. Send your Yoga Changed My Life story to: editor@ommagazine.com


We’ve been trying to bring this amazing product to you since we introduced it in Sweden and saw how it changed people’s lives. What’s so amazing about it? It’s a single cream that performs exactly like regular cream but is completely free from dairy making it perfect for our veggie, vegan and lactose-averse friends. What about the taste? Perhaps you should answer that yourself by picking up a carton and trying it out rather than relying on the writer of this ad. You know writers of ads, they always try to make things so positive. Oh yeah, for your convenience, you will find it in the chilled section at your favourite Tesco from now on.


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All you need is understanding Take time for a little peace, love and understanding

A

ll you need is love…plus a little bit of understanding. We so love this inspirational red neon and steel piece of artwork by the British artist Martin Creed with the Public Art Fund, which was installed at the end of the Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York throughout the summer months. The installation, ‘Understanding’ - which rotated 360 degrees - is captured here by Francesca Magnani (francescamagnani.com), a journalist and street photographer who has been living in the Big Apple since 1997. “The result was a magnificent experience that New Yorkers enjoyed everyday,” she told OM. “The interaction with the surroundings was amazing, and the turning sign had a meditative aspect to it, almost hypnotic.” You can see people in the photograph

curious and entranced by the statue. The giant revolving installation was meant to be part of a larger art project called, ‘Peace, Love and Understanding’. but which ended up being too expensive. Still, we think this piece is wonderful in it’s own right, and it carries an important meaning for all of us, especially at this time of year. “Maybe all you need is understanding,” Creed told The Guardian newspaper in an interview back in May.

Find out more about the art installation: publicartfund.org/view/exhibitions/6103_ martin_creed_understanding On the OM interactive app you’ll also find a link to a short YouTube video.

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Takeout yoga

I

Can’t make it to a yoga class? No problem, just order a teacher to your home t’s no big deal ordering a takeaway meal to your home these days, so why not a great yoga class as well? Yogi2Me (yogi2me.com) is a new service allowing users to ‘order’ a class straight to their door via a clever online app you can access on your iPhone. The Y2M app provides registered users with access to a leading pool of top quality, carefully selected yoga teachers for a private class, at their convenience – all without the hassle of leaving their home. Whether it’s Sun Salutations at sunrise or helping insomnia with a restorative practice at sunset, users can experience world class private lessons at their home, office or hotel room, at the touch of a button. Choose your preferred style – Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin or pregnancy yoga – and get a feel for the instructors from watching short video clips online. The genesis for the Yogi2Me idea was the realisation that people are often too busy and struggle to find time for yoga. It’s ideal for people who work long or unusual hours or those who like to practice yoga in their own home space. “A lot of people want to start their yoga journey but don’t have the time or are intimidated taking up their first group yoga class. Private instruction is the best way to get started,” said Sarah Drai, one of the Y2M founders and a yoga teacher herself. “Yogi2Me is about making yoga more accessible to people and optimise the schedule of yoga teachers. Our mantra for teachers is: Teach more, commute less. For clients it’s: Fit Yoga to your schedule.” Initially, the service only covers parts of London but the hope is to increase coverage later on. Private lessons cost from £85 per hour.

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WHAT’S YOUR

AFFIRMATION? An affirmation for being in the now and for moving forward with ease and acceptance. By Deb Mac

BWY accredited school, Yoga Alliance US registered school, Yoga Alliance Professionals UK registered school

Yoga Academy Teacher Training Course 2017 BWY accredited, Yoga Alliance UK and Yoga Alliance US registered teacher training course Commences in the UK in November 2017, limited to 20 students

Yin & Yang Yoga Teacher Training and Study Immersion Yoga Alliance (US) and Yoga Alliance Professionals (UK) registration 27 January—25 February, 2017, Samahita Retreat, Koh Samui, Thailand

Ongoing Training and Study Immersions

Options for BWY and Yoga Alliance Professionals (UK) CPD and Yoga Alliance US 500-hour upgrade 50-hour immersion, 11—18 March, Samahita Retreat, Koh Samui, Thailand 20-hour immersion, 21—23 April, Bore Place, UK Yin/Restorative training

“I am in the process of creating change - it’s all imperfectly perfect”

Everything in life has a process: there will always be a beginning, a middle and an end. Make the steps you take count. In order to reach our desired destination, goal or dream it’s really important that we make the effort to enjoy the journey. So, can you dance with life, and not battle with it? If your life is messy then can you bless the mess and look for the gold in all the chaos? There’s always gold and juiciness to be found somewhere. When things are challenging and life feels hard, know that change is inevitable and you’re just in the process. Breathe. Everything eventually changes. Remember: “This too shall pass”. It’s not the destination that matters, but how you get there certainly does. Savour the journey. Be in the moment. Honour your thoughts, your feelings and know that it will all work out perfectly for you. Life really does love you…and it’s all imperfectly perfect.

By Deb Mac (contentedlittlesoles.com)

www.theyogaacademy.org info@theyogaacademy.org theyogaacademy YogaAcademyUK yogaacademyuk

BRITISH WHEEL OF YOGA

ACCREDITED GROUP

yoga with

simon low Retreats, weekends and workshops 2016/2017 RESIDENTIAL YOGA RETREAT WEEKENDS 2—5 December 2016 Kamalaya, Thailand 14—17 April 2017 Kamalaya, Thailand 28—30 April 2017 Bore Place, Kent

YOGA RETREATS 2017 7—14 January: Samahita Retreat, Koh Samui, Thailand 14—21 January: Praiwan Rafthouse, Khao Sok National Park, Thailand 14–21 May: Santillán, Spain 26 June – 3 July: Huzur Vadisi, Turkey 8–15 July: Santillán, Spain

www.simonlow.com yoga@simonlow.com simonlowuk yogawithsimonlow yogasimonlow

yogasimonlow


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Let your chakras shine Banish the winter blues and balance your chakras from the comfort of your own bed with these cool yoga-inspired innovations

L

et your chakras shine! We love these new chakra balancing products from Australian-based company Chakra Shine (chakrashine.com). The idea is that the seven colours are perfectly aligned with your chakras, providing powerful energy healing and balancing whether you’re on the yoga mat or even in bed. The range consists of chakra balancing luxury bed linen and pillow cases, a yoga mat, and even some cool looking beach towels. Chill out on the beach or sleep in bed as you ‘do yoga’ and rebalance your energy centres. Trademarked in Australia, India, the UK and the USA, the products are designed to capture the healing vibrations of colour energy and to assist the human body absorb this energy, via the chakras, to help you realign. The company says that with more and more people participating in some form of complementary therapy and with an ever increasing awareness on health and wellbeing, the Chakra Shine brand provides the easiest way to balance your chakras on a daily basis. “The seven visible colours of the spectrum are perfectly aligned with your chakras and provide powerful energy healing and balancing,” it states.

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Yoga & Aromatherapy Myrrh Essential Oil (Commiphora Myrrha)

December is a month of festivities and holidays and also marks the official start of winter. What better way to celebrate than to use myrrh essential oil (Commiphora Myrrha). Myrrh was one of the earliest aromatic substances used and was considered a way of wishing good health and happiness. It is perfect to use during winter as it brings much needed warmth and stimulation to the body during these colder months. Add 3-4 drops to some jojoba oil and massage into the body after a warm bath to boost your immune system and stimulate mind and body. The cold winter air can also play havoc with the skin. Myrrh is excellent for chapped and cracked skin. Put a couple of drops in some coconut oil and rub into the affected areas, cover with socks or gloves and let the oil heal and protect the skin. It can also be used on cold sores: just apply a small amount of the same blend with a cotton bud. Myrrh oil is excellent for all those winter coughs and colds too. Place a couple of drops in the bath or a bowl of hot water and let the oils steam away all congestion. Myrrh oil is also known to help raise vibrations and encourage spiritual awareness. Place a couple of drops in a diffuser to help aid your meditations. It also brings a sense of peace and tranquillity so use around the home and studio during this busy festive time. Do not use during pregnancy.

By Julia White (beautifulmindbeautifulbody.co.uk)

SHARING KNOWLEDGE since 2003


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Amazing spaces Stylish and inspiring studio design ideas and interiors Heavenly Fitness Unit 2 Bridge Industrial Estate, Wharf Road, Tovil Maidstone, Kent ME15 6RR heavenlyfitness.co.uk Heavenly Fitness opened in May 2012 as an independent fitness and yoga studio. The building had been empty for over 10 years but after extensive renovations, and plenty of love and care, it was reshaped into two studios plus a spacious reception area. Nowadays, you’ll find around 40 classes a week including Ashtanga, aerial yoga, pole fitness and aerobics, among others. The bigger studio has lots of windows and also ceiling lights, so enjoys great natural lighting. The smaller studio has just window lights which makes it easy to heat for hot yoga sessions and a nice private place for the pole classes. As a yoga centre offering aerial classes, the ceiling is super strong too, as you’d expect, so you can hang out in comfort as you enjoy your stretch. Both studios are mirrored and have great heating and air conditioning as well. A small and friendly yoga and fitness space, Heavenly Fitness has become an important hub for the area’s growing wellness community.

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loves Y

Beautiful things for beautiful people YogaSpinner Game - £11.99

Players give the spinner a whirl and perform the corresponding pose to win the pose card. To win the game, players need to collect a card from each of the four categories of yoga poses. Ages 5 and up, two or more players. coiledspring.co.uk

Mission Cooling Yoga Towel $14.99

Pretty yoga towels by Mission made from Enduracool fabric which provides instant cooling. Wipes away water and sweat. Great for exercise and fitness classes, super lightweight. Machine washable. mission.com

Dietox Organic Cosmetics Range - £12-£80

New cosmetics range based on organic fruit, vegetables, plants and essential oils. Includes purifying shampoo, repair rescue conditioner, exfoliant gel, firming oil, firming and cellulite reducing cream and a flash serum. All products come in a handy 100ml size (perfect for hand luggage!) and contain only 100% organic and natural ingredients. dietox.com

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Limber Stretch Yoga Harem Pants - £22.99

7 Beautiful colours, all in 100% Cotton. One Size fits all with Customisable Length! Handmade in India. Available on Amazon.co.uk & Limberstretch.com


om beginnings Westlab Pure Epsom Salt £5.99 for 1kg

Westlab’s Epsom Salt relaxes tired muscles and achy feet after dance floor fun, ideal for the party season ahead. Packed within the salt crystals is miracle mineral, magnesium, which the body naturally loses through sweat. Soak feet in a foot bath or dive into a warm bath to soothe tired limbs and relax overworked muscles. westlab.co.uk

Ono Organic Luxury Handbags - $320.00

Mixing luxury with kindness and sustainability. Elegant ethical handbags, hand-crafted by skilled artisans and experts under fair trade conditions, made from a unique natural and vegan material combination. onocreations.com

PHB Ethical Beauty Gift Sets - from £14.95

Give the gift of naturally beautiful skin! PHB Ethical Beauty are passionate about creating the finest ethical beauty products. Their range of Gift Sets are handmade in the UK with love, making them the perfect treat for a loved one or yourself! Plus they donate 20% of profits to charity so not only will you put a smile on your friend’s face – you’ll help make a positive impact on lives around the world too. phbethicalbeauty.co.uk


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Fortitude collection Prices start from ÂŁ28 ellesport.co.uk/shop/performance/collections/fortitude

-ivation

Lift your practice up to a new level with these feminine and flattering soft yoga styles from ELLESPORT

Photographer: Jason Moore Model: Albina Kireeva

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om beginnings Studio hi-neck slouch tee, £32 ellesport.co.uk

Fortitude upstyled classic hoodie, £42 Fortitude upstyled classic slimleg jogger, £42 ellesport.co.uk

Fortitude thermal long sleeved top, £48 Fortitude thermal stirrup tight, £42 ellesport.co.uk

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om beginnings Fortitude long sleeved performance top (peony marl), £38 ellesport.co.uk

Fortitude performance vest with built in bra (midnight/steel), £36 ellesport.co.uk

Fortitude performance support bra, £28 Fortitude printed fashion performance jacket, £70 Fortitude fashion performance tight, £42 ellesport.co.uk

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Teaching faculty led by Good Vibes Founder and Director Nahid de Belgeonne with Ruth McNeil, Gary Carter Uma Dinsmore Tuli, and Christopher Gladwell

200 HOUR YOGA TEACHER TRAINING

Become an informed and nurturing yoga teacher, skilfully sharing the joy and empowerment that yoga can bring

April 2017

Accredited by Yoga Alliance USA Held in Central London

To apply please register at: tt@goodvibesfitness.co.uk 2 years yoga experience is preferred

yogafurie

www.goodvibesfitness.co.uk/teacher-training

academy

@goodvibesstudio

@goodvibesstudio

/goodvibesstudio

As seen at the

OM YOGA SHOW 2016 London

yogafurie.com

Yogafurie 07807 789875 info@yogafurie.com 201 Ashley Down Rd, Bishopston, Bristol, BS7 9DD

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

UK USA Netherlands

USA

On your bike

Fitness bike maker Peloton has teamed up with celebrated yoga instructor Colleen Saidman Yee for an innovative new video-based service. For the first time, Peloton has introduced streaming yoga content – taught by Yee – through a new Beyond the Ride | Yoga video series, marking another milestone for the company which already offers a world-class indoor cycling experience while at home. “We are collectively passionate about fitness as a motivating and empowering experience for all,” said John Foley, co-founder and chief executive officer, Peloton.

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Downward donkeys

The US elections. Trump v Clinton. Phew! If you’re still standing after what seemed like the longest and most tortuous election campaign ever, it’s time to forget it all with yoga. One of America’s most prestigious newspapers, The Wall Street Journal, recently printed a guide to surviving the whole Trump/Clinton circus with yoga - but not yoga as we know it. Now, there are new postures like The Everlasting Email, The Big Deduction, The Secret Speech and, our favourite, Downward Donkey. Politicians, huh? Who needs them?


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Mansfield MP Sir Alan Meale has revealed that yoga is something close to his heart. The Labour MP was a supporter of celebrating the International Day of Yoga (now held every year on June 21) during an early day motion (EDM) in parliament. An EDM is a formal motion submitted for debate in the House of Commons. They are seen more as a way for backbenchers to draw attention to an event or cause. Other motions supported by Meale were pretty eclectic, including welcoming the success of the Northern Ireland football team at Euro 2016 and praising presenter Colin Murray for quitting TalkSPORT.

Born to chill

The Dutch army is turning to yoga to help soldiers deal with stress more effectively. A yoga teacher has been brought in by armed forces chiefs to get military personnel working on yoga exercises to better process their stress and deal with other traumatic experiences. Initially, it means training up army sports instructors to incorporate yoga into their general exercise and fitness programmes. The military in other countries, including the UK and USA, also incorporate elements of yoga into their overall fitness programmes. Yoga is also widely used to help combat veterans returning from war.

India

Jesus did yoga

An Indian author has claimed that Jesus was actually born in India, not in Israel, as Christians have long believed. – and he did yoga too. Ganesh Damodar Savarkar, in his book ‘Christ Parichay’, claims that Jesus was actually from Tamil Hindu. Moreover, Savarkar claims that Christ practiced yoga, which he learned from India. The controversial claims have been played down by experts, however. “Such a book will hardly disturb true Christians,” Father Warner D’Souza, senior priest and the director of the Bombay Archdiocesan Heritage Museum, was quoted as saying by an American online news service.

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om body

Yoga Calm YOGA @ HOME

It’s time to take it easy. Use this calming yoga sequence whenever things get too much. Words: Andrew McGonigle. Model: Cheryl Mokhtari

1

Effortless Rest Pose

Start by lying back on your mat with your head and neck supported with a blanket. Place your feet flat on the ground, underneath your knees and hip-distance apart. You have the option to loop a yoga strap around your mid-thighs to keep them hip-distance apart and allow your hip joints to release. Place your hands a few inches away from the side of your body with your palms turning up. Either softly close your eyes or soften your gaze as you look upwards. Take a couple of deep breaths to help you settle and begin to tune in to notice how your body and mind feel. Try not to judge any of the emotions, feelings or sensations that may arise but just simply observe them.

3

Reclining Head-to-Big-Toe Variation (Variation of Supta Padangusthasana)

Reach your right foot towards the ceiling and clasp your hands behind the back of your leg allowing your head and shoulders to stay supported onto the blanket. You have the option to straighten your left leg onto the mat, pointing your toes up towards the ceiling. Breathe into wherever you feel sensation at the back of your body and start to make circles with your right ankle, clockwise and then anticlockwise. Release both feet flat to the ground and repeat on the left.

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2

Breath Work

Place your hands on your lower abdomen with your little fingers resting into your groins. Without making any changes begin to observe your natural breath and any associated movements of your chest and abdomen as you inhale and exhale. Notice the quality of your breath and the length of your breath. Begin to inhale and exhale through your nose allowing your lower abdomen to rise into your hands as you inhale and fall away from your hands as you exhale.

4

Windshield Wipers (Variation of Supta Jathara Parivartānāsana)

Step your feet as wide as the mat and on an exhalation slowly take your knees over to the right, keeping both shoulders on the ground. Inhale to squeeze your knees back to the centre and exhale to take your knees to the left. After a couple of rounds on this stay on the right side for a few breaths with the option to place your right outer ankle on your left thigh to take you a little deeper into the posture. Repeat on the left.


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6

Knees to Chest Pose (Apanasana)

Gently draw both knees in towards your chest and breathe into the back of your body. You can stay still or sway side to side with the intention of broadening the back of your body onto the mat as you massage the muscles of your mid and lower back. Gently roll to your right side, supporting the weight of your head with your right arm and pressing yourself up onto all fours, allowing your head to come up last.

7a

7b

7d

7e

Cat Cow (Marjaryasana and Bitilasana)

Step your hands shoulder-width apart so that your wrists are underneath your shoulders and your knees hip-distance apart right underneath your knees. If your knees feel uncomfortable kneel on a blanket. Spread your fingers wide with your index fingers parallel to each other. As you inhale begin to lift your bum and curl down through your lower back, middle back and upper back, lengthening your neck as you look forward. As you exhale push you hands down and curl up through your lower back, middle back and upper back, drawing your abdomen up and tucking your chin in towards your chest. Repeat for a few rounds with the option of closing your eyes to allow your attention to draw inwards.

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7c

Revolved Child’s Pose (Parsva Balasana)

Place your right hand onto the base of your spine, rolling your shoulder back and looking wherever feels comfortable. You have the option to place your hand at the back of your head, pressing your head into your hand and rolling your chest open more, or on an inhalation reach your right arm towards the ceiling. After a couple of deep breaths, exhale to weave your right hand through the space between your left hand and left knee. Reach as far along as you can and rest your head and right shoulder onto the mat. Inhale to press back to all fours and repeat on the left side.

Continue sequence >> 35


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Flow from Child’s Pose (Balasana) through to Baby Cobra (Ardha Bhujangasana)

With your big toes touching and knees wide, sit back towards your heels and rest your forehead onto your mat for Child’s Pose. On an inhalation, draw your chest forward towards your hands with your elbows wide and lower your abdomen to the ground, lifting your chest off the mat a couple of inches for Baby Cobra Pose. Exhale to press back to Child’s Pose. Repeat for a few rounds flowing with your breath.

10

Neck Release

Place your finger tips under your left collar bone and gently draw downwards. Inhale to lengthen through both sides of your neck and exhale to slowly take your right ear over towards your right shoulder. You can move your head slowly backwards or forwards or roll your chin towards your shoulder. After a few rounds of breath exhale to roll your chin towards your chest and inhale as you press one of the bases of your hands into your forehead to bring your head back up. Repeat on the left.

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9

Shoulder Rolls

Find a comfortable seat using the support of a blanket or cushion to allow your hips to be at least the same height as your knees. Begin to roll your shoulders in one direction, making small circles to start and then allowing the movements to get bigger. Draw your attention to each of the movements that you are making. Stay connected to your breath and after a few rounds repeat in the opposite direction.

11

Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Get comfortable on your back on the mat and once again place your feet flat on the ground, underneath your knees and hip-distance apart. Pressing your feet down begin to lift your hips up and slide a bolster, cushion or stack of blankets underneath the base of your spine. You have the option to strap your thigh in the same way as Effortless Rest Pose. Stay in this position for several minutes allowing the weight of your body to be completely supported by the props and ground beneath you.


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200hr Vinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher Trainings & Advanced YTT in Spain

Supported Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Press your feet down and slowly lift your hips as you push the props towards your knees. Gently lower your pelvis and back to the mat, resting the back of your knees onto the props. Place your hands a few inches away from the side of your body with your palms turning up. Either softly close your eyes or soften your gaze as you look upwards. Stay in Savasana for at least 5 minutes.

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200hr YTT Intensives in Spain at Suryalila Retreat Centre 07 January – 28 January, 2017 25 March – 15 April, 2017 24 June – 15 July, 2017 For Advanced Modules and additional 2017 dates, check our website

Images courtesy of: Movement For Modern Life (movementformodernlife.com) Visit the website for more online yoga classes from the best teachers

www.FrogLotusYogaInternational.com Location: www.suryalila.com I Email: FrogLotusYoga@gmail.com


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OM meets...

Nahid de Belgeonne After a career in publishing, Nahid de Belgeonne, founder of Good Vibes yoga and fitness studios in London, tells OM that yoga has now helped her carve out a life that she truly loves How did you first get into yoga Everyone told me that I ought to do yoga and I tried a few teachers at local gyms and yoga studios but it didn’t resonate with me. I didn’t get the language and didn’t feel the vibe of the teachers. When I left a stressful job without a plan, I wanted to give it one more go and after searching for somewhere hot and nearby, I booked into a yoga holiday in Turkey taught by a teacher whose language appealed to me. I was fortunate enough for the venue to be Huzur Vadisi and the teacher was Simon Low. I took my husband, who didn’t want to do the yoga, but Simon gave him such a warm welcome that he and I have been practicing since. What inspired you in those early days Simon Low was my first inspiring teacher; up until then yoga felt a bit mystical and exclusive. His philosophy is that yoga is for all bodies and his articulate and inclusive teaching really resonated with me.

Any favourite teachers or studios Yes! My most inspiring teachers have been and are Judith Hanson Lasater, Simon Low, Gary Carter, John Stirk, Michael Stone, Uma Dinsmore-Tuli and Jean Hall. I favour teachers with a few years under their belt! I have my own home practice but at the studio I love all of our teachers’ classes as they are mindful but with enough of a challenge to keep me interested. Any transformational yoga moments That first yoga holiday transformed me completely. Over the next two years I turned my love of fitness into a business and opened up the first independent power plate studio in the UK. And, five years later, after graduating from Simon Low’s Yoga Academy, I refurbed the space and added Europe’s first Far infrared heated yoga studio as an addition to our other classes; the room is warmed to a sunny day. So my yoga journey has helped me to carve out a life I love.

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How would you describe your own teaching style I teach a Hatha flow, restorative yoga, Yoga Nidra and meditation. It’s considered, intelligently sequenced and inclusive. How do you want people to feel after class I hope that people feel curious, awakened, empowered and that they leave feeling connected and peaceful.

What are your own plans going forward We launch our first 200hr yoga teacher training in April 2017, an accredited Yoga Alliance International course held in central London. We will take just 20 students each year. Our teaching faculty includes myself, Ruth McNeil, Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, Christopher Gladwell and Gary Carter. Oh, and I am currently talking to a few interested people to help the business grow as the third studio is now due! How would you reassure a yoga novice Take your time in finding the right teacher and class for you and remember that yoga is not about making shapes. A restorative yoga class or a Yoga Nidra class is an accessible way into yoga as you lie on the ground or are supported by props. And when you are ready to try a more physical practice, build up your knowledge in a beginner’s class first. Yoga is a life long journey so take your time in learning the fundamentals. What do you do when you’re not doing yoga I study, a lot! I really believe that a good teacher is one with a lot to learn. I love being outdoors and am a big walker with my husband and dog both of whom make me laugh out loud every day. I’m a culture vulture and make good use of all London has to offer. Any personal motto or mantra This proverb by American educator Thomas H. Palmer: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” My dad used to say this to us when we were children and it always goes round in my head if something isn’t working for me. You could apply it to your yoga practice!

Find out more about Nahid de Belgeonne at: goodvibesfitness.co.uk

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with katy appleton & incredible guest teachers

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• Module I - Architecture of Asana Module II - Teacher Training • 19 Days in London - over 5 months • Ready to teach full spectrum yoga classes • appleyoga Syllabus - Asana Architecture & Technique • appleyoga signature Asana & Teaching Methodology

• 95hrs, 8 days • Ready to teach full spectrum pre & postnatal yoga •A  ble to adapt a regular yoga class to support pre & postnatal needs. •P  ostnatal module combines yoga with Pilates to empower new mothers •B  aby Yoga & Massage day within Pre & Postnatal Training

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Katy and appleyoga are delighted to offer you these weekend & week-long transformational retreats.

• 100hrs towards the 500hr appleyoga certificate • 8 Days in London • 12hrs of exclusive workshops • Assisting appleyoga’s 250hr Training •D  eeper teaching skills with emphasis on anatomy, alignment & adjustment • Assisting & supporting Katy Appleton & 250hr trainees

“I can’t put into words the life changing effect these courses have had on my mind body and soul!” Phillipa Woodgate “The passion and dedication that has gone into these training programs are mind-blowing.” Deepa Shah

www.appleyoga.com info@appleyoga.com Telephone +44 (0)845 643 7027

• S oul Shine Bali - 15 - 22 March 2017 •W  inter Shine UK weekend - 6 - 8 Jan 2017 • S pring Shine UK weekend - 19 - 22 May 2017 • S oul Shine Iceland - TBC - 2017


om body presents...

360Ëš yoga with

Doctor yogi Detailed alignment cues for Chair Pose

REACH YOUR ARMS HIGH

An overview of...

Chair Pose (Utkatasana) Chair Pose is a strong asana that helps us to develop strength in our feet and legs while working deeply on our core stability.

T

l Imagine that your are reaching from the base of your lungs l Ideally your arms are in line with your ears and your hands are shoulder width apart with palms facing each other

his standing posture is often part of a Sun Saluation and opens the chest, armpits and ribcage allowing us to expand our breath. Chair Pose can be great for developing focus and concentration.

EXTERNALLY ROTATE YOUR SHOULDER JOINTS

l Gently rotate your upper, outer arms towards the ground so that your armpits begin to turn in towards one another

ENGAGE YOUR SHOULDER BLADES

FIND A NEUTRAL CHEST

l Lengthen through all four sides of your waist to create more space between your hip bones and your lower ribs l Soften your front, lower ribs towards your spine and breathe into your back lower ribs to create space in the back of your chest l Keeping this space, widen across your collar bones (clavicles) to stabilise this space

l Gently draw your shoulder blades onto the back of your ribcage l Draw your shoulder blades apart and feel the back of your chest broaden

SHIFT YOUR WEIGHT BACK

l Glance down to check that your knees are tracking over your ankles and that you can see all 10 toes beyond your knees l If you can’t, shift your weight back into your heels slightly and move your pelvis further back

FEET HIP DISTANCE APART

l Find the boney points at the front of your pelvis (these are known as the ASIS, Anterior Superior Iliac Spines) and line these up with the mid-point of each of your ankles

FEET PARALLEL

l Line the mid-point of each ankle up with the base of your second toe

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ACTIVATE YOUR FEET

l Engage the inner (medial longitudinal) arches of your feet by lifting your toes off the mat, spreading them and gently lowering them back onto the mat l Gently draw your outer ankles in to stabilise your ankle joints


om body The benefits of Chair Pose

l C hair Pose strengthens your ankles, calf muscles, thigh muscles and hip flexors l The asana helps to develop the inner arches of your feet l C hair Pose works your inner core muscles while strengthening the muscles of your lower back l I t opens the chest and shoulders improving your posture and allowing you to breathe more fully l C hair Pose puts healthy stress on our bones helping to prevent osteoporosis l T he asana has a stimulating quality to it and allows you to develop your focus and concentration

Contraindications

l I t is suggested that Chair Pose may not be an appropriate asana to practice if you have low blood pressure, migraine/headache or insomnia

Variations

There are many different variations of Chair Pose that you may have come across in class: l I f you have tight shoulders you can take your hands wider than shoulder width and in front of your torso l Y  ou can also reach your arms forward in line with your shoulders l T  ry squeezing a cork block between your thighs to engage your inner thigh muscles more l O ne variation involves students coming up onto the balls of their toes and lowering down with a vertical spine l Y  ou can also step your feet together, hug your thighs towards each other, lift your heels an inch off your mat and see how far you can lower keeping your spine vertical l S ome teachers like to incorporate a back bend into the posture, arching through the upper back l Y  ou can also practice Revolved Chair Pose where you twist your torso to one side

FIND A NEUTRAL NECK

l Ideally your head is in line with the rest of your spine l Gently slide the sides of your throat back and then lower your chin slightly towards your chest feeling the back of your neck lengthen

FOCUS YOUR GAZE

FIND A NEUTRAL TILT TO YOUR PELVIS

l Roll your upper, inner thighs back to soften your inner groins and create space at the back of your pelvis l Into this space lower your sacrum and tailbone down towards your heels to stabilise your pelvis l Notice your abdominal muscles engage as the pit of your belly draws up and in

l Your focal point (drishti) is towards the centre of your eyebrows (third eye). If this doesn’t feel comfortable, soften your gaze and look at a fixed point in front of you or above you

Andrew McGonigle is Doctor Yogi, a medically trained yoga teacher based in London who specialises in teaching anatomy applied to yoga. Visit doctoryogi.co.uk

For the full, exclusive 360° detailed and interactive version download our App now 43


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joy Yoga

The

of

Nidra

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om body A simple, gentle but very powerful yoga practice that can transform your life. By Emma Després

W

hen I first ventured out to Byron Bay in Australia to immerse myself in yoga a year into my practice, I shall never forget my first two-hour yoga session (the normal length of the classes out there at that time). While I loved every single minute of the asana practice, the problem came with the 20 whole minutes of quiet relaxation at the end of the class. Proper quiet, that is, with no music, no distraction, nothing. Those were the longest 20 minutes of my life, or so it seemed in that moment. Still, with me attending these two-hour sessions once or twice a day every day for a month and unable to leave the class early (many teachers will understandably discourage you from doing so), I quickly developed my own way of dealing with the mental chatter. I imagined in my mind a train line with open trucks in which I placed each of my thoughts and then watched them pass by, one after the other, until I was able, eventually, to experience some relief from the constant background mental chatter.

“Essentially Yoga Nidra is a powerful meditation technique inducing complete physical, emotional and mental relaxation.” Over the next year I practiced a lot of yoga as I developed my practice both on and off the mat, qualifying as a yoga teacher in the process. My ability to relax improved hugely, but it wasn’t until I assisted on a teacher training course at Govinda Valley, Sydney, that I discovered the joy and, indeed, benefit of Yoga Nidra. The relaxation became something I enjoyed rather than something that I endured at the end of a class. I can still remember the experience of that first Yoga Nidra clearly. There we were, the whole class of students, lying comfortably in Corpse Pose, a bolster under the knees and a blanket covering each of us to keep us warm. The teacher’s gentle voice soothed us into a state of cosy bliss as we relaxed each


om body part of our body, part-by-part, experiencing sensations and bringing awareness to the natural breath; it was a journey like no other I had experienced previously. Time lost all meaning. What was actually 30 minutes felt like five, and before we knew it we were back in the room, on our mats, in our bodies, feeling much more centred and grounded than at the beginning of the class. What was also noticeable was that the mental chatter had eased. I had managed to drift beyond it into that wonderful state of being between being awake and asleep, the hypnotic state, where real healing takes place. I felt brighter, lighter, rested and renewed.

Setting a Sankalpa

Essentially Yoga Nidra is a powerful meditation technique inducing complete physical, emotional and mental relaxation. During Yoga Nidra one appears to be asleep but the consciousness is functioning at a deeper level of awareness so that you are prompted throughout the practice to say to yourself mentally, “I shall not sleep, I shall remain awake”. Before beginning Yoga Nidra you make a Sankalpa, or a resolution for the practice. The Sankalpa is an important stage of Yoga Nidra as it plants a seed in the mind encouraging healing and transformation in a positive direction. The Sankapla is a short positive mental statement established at the beginning of the practice and said mentally to yourself in the present tense, as if it had already happened, such as, “I am happy, healthy and pure light”, or “I am whole and healed”.

“The Sankalpa is an important stage of Yoga Nidra as it plants a seed in the mind encouraging healing and transformation in a positive direction.” A Sankalpa can also be used to encourage you to let go of something in your life like smoking or overeating, focusing on the underlying feeling that leads you to smoke or to overeat. For example: “I love and care for myself and my body”, or “I choose to eat foods that support my health and wellbeing” or “I am relaxed and contented”. In fact, simply having the opportunity to establish a Sankalpa is powerful in itself as it gives you a focus and enhances your awareness of self. It is actually in connecting with yourself

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that you come to realise all the deep-seated tensions that Yoga Nidra helps you to release. These are all the unconscious and unresolved issues that are playing a role in some of the unwanted habits and behaviour patterns you are noticing consciously. This is the stuff that goes through your mind time and again, the stuff you resolve to change at the beginning of each year - but that ‘will’ alone will not change. What you need to do is get to the root of the problem and Yoga Nidra provides you with a means to do this. With all the letting go of this ‘stuff’, such as trapped emotions and feelings, you become lighter and there is more energy available to be used in a more positive manner. Plus, with the power of intention in the form of a Sankalpa, that which we attract into our life also changes. It is in this way that Yoga Nidra offers us so much potential for transforming our lives in an even more positive direction than we can ever imagine.

Physical benefits

Of course, let us not forget the physiological benefits too, such as lowering of the heart rate and blood pressure, the release of lactate from the muscles that can cause anxiety and fatigue, a more restful night’s sleep and, ultimately, a calming and unwinding of the nervous system, which is basically the foundation of the body’s wellbeing. So our physical health and sense of wellbeing can improve too. Over the years Yoga Nidra has helped me

in so many ways. At times of crisis, when I have been tired and exhausted, sick and stressed, it has helped to restore, renew and heal me. At confused times in my life when I have been unclear of the way forward it has provided me with much needed clarity. At other times it has helped me to let go of unhealthy addictions and behaviour patterns. The most profound was changing my relationship to myself, enabling me to effortlessly let go of the need to smoke tobacco after so many years of battling with this nicotine addiction. These days relaxation comes easily to me and I positively seek out and embrace any opportunity for Yoga Nidra for it is just such an amazing practice. In this stressful and fast paced world we live in, where we can feel so disorientated and fragmented, it really helps to bring us back together and connect with ourselves again. Needless to say, I cannot promote the benefits of Yoga Nidra enough. But of course you cannot benefit from merely intellectualising; and reading about it will not necessarily change things. What we really need to do is make a commitment to take the time out for ourselves. Lie comfortably, cover yourself with a blanket, close your eyes and allow yourself to be guided through a Yoga Nidra session. I doubt you will regret it, in fact you may find it a life changing experience. Emma Després is the founder of Be Inspired (beinspiredby.co.uk)


Competition Win a Purple Valley Ashtanga Yoga retreat with Greg Nardi and Juan Carlos worth £1350* (Retreat dates: 25th February 2017 – 10th March 2017)

* flights and transfers are not included The prize consists of a 2 week yoga retreat with Greg Nardi and Juan Carlos. This includes high quality accommodation at the retreat, daily yoga classes (6 morning classes and 4 afternoon classes weekly) and 3 vegetarian meals a day. Accommodation in a single room, with en suite bathroom and toilet. The flights and transfers are not included in this prize. Purple Valley Yoga Retreat is located in a peaceful valley in Assagao, North Goa, between the Arabian Sea at Anjuna beach and the small market town of Mapusa. Set in landscaped tropical gardens, there are communal areas for eating, relaxing and socialising as well as private spaces for contemplation or meditation. Purple Valley is quiet and safe, making it the perfect place for a yoga holiday. The yoga taught is of the Ashtanga Yoga tradition, and by the world’s most experienced teachers. The morning walk to the shala is through the tropical gardens of the yoga retreat with the scent of frangipani in the air, the sun rising over the field of palm trees and the birds and cicadas singing. The shala itself is an amazing space with a peaceful energy and the perfect place to deepen and explore your yoga practice. Greg Nardi has studied yoga and eastern healing arts extensively since 1996. Since 1999 he has studied at the KPJ Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, South India. In 2004, Greg was authorised to teach by his guru, Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois. Shortly after Guruji’s passing, Greg attended an authorisation level 2 training course in Mysore with Sharath Jois. He is an internationally renowned teacher of workshops in yoga asana and philosophy. Greg and his husband Juan Carlos founded Ashtanga Yoga Worldwide a Yoga shala in Fort Lauderdale. in the United States. Juan Carlos is a graduate from The University of Texas at Austin and has a Master’s degree in Industrial Psychology. He travels regularly to Mysore, India to continue his journey as a student of yoga under the guidance of his beloved teacher Sharath Jois. Juan Carlos has been blessed with the authorisation to teach from Sharath.

For more information please visit yogagoa.com

Closing date: 15th December 2016

To enter please go to ommagazine.com/purplevalley2017

* Terms and conditions apply. Void where prohibited. No member of OM Magazine can participate. The prize is non-refundable, non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered; nor it can be sold or be subject to any commercial profit. No replacement prize will be offered if Greg Nardi and Juan Carlos’ course becomes unavailable or delayed for any reason, including circumstances beyond anyone’s control. To be eligible, contestants need a valid passport and visa for India covering the period of the workshop (Feb/March 2017).

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First there was Party in the Park, now there’s Flow in the Dark… sweat dripping feel-good yoga for all

S

ince we’re heading into the party season, we thought we’d show you some cool club yoga pics if you want to head out before Christmas and get your fun fix. These shots were taken at Flow in the Dark, which is currently done as a monthly pop-up yoga event at various locations in London, organised by The Wellscene. Founder Iris Louwerens says she’s now looking to open up a popup Flow in the Dark yoga studio to offer daily classes. “At The Wellscene we do yoga differently. We turn off the light, crank up the music and bend to the beat. We call it Flow in the Dark. It’s sweat dripping feel-good yoga,” she tells OM. “Leave your worries at the door and lose yourself in the moment.” Led by Kelly Brooks, you can expect 60 minutes of high intensity and strength work combined with deep breathing, a clearing of the mind and all-round good vibes. And, unlike most other yoga classes, these ones take place in the near dark. “We’ll only use black light and candle light to illuminate the room,” says Louwerens. “To make things extra spectacular, we ask you to come in your whitest and brightest active wear. We give you glow sticks when you arrive and have a UV face paint station set up so you can literally flow and glow in the dark.” Pop-ups cost £20 for early bird tickets and £25 for regular tickets. Next event: December 2 (6:45pm + 8pm class) in Maida Vale, London. For more dates and locations visit: thewellscene.club

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YOGA THERAPY Hyperthyroidism

Practical yoga therapy The Problem The Solution Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the The thyroid gland regulates the metabolism techniques to start you thyroid overproduces hormones. Common through the release of the hormones it symptoms include weight loss, weakness, produces which are tetraiodothyronine (T4) on the road to health: irregular heartbeat, and difficulty sleeping. and triiodothyronine (T3), which are two physically, mentally, Graves’ disease, the most common cause of primary hormones that control how your cells is more prevalent in women use energy. Hyperthyroidism occurs when emotionally and spiritually. hyperthyroidism, than in men. the thyroid makes too much T4, T3, or both. Energy work with the chakras and pranayama By Sarah Swindlehurst techniques can help balance the hormones.

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om body Yoga Cat Posture (Bidalasana)

Cat Posture (Bidalasana)

Begin on all fours with your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Inhale and curl the spine downwards whilst looking upwards towards your third eye. Then moving smoothly, exhale and round the spine upwards and look towards the navel. Repeat inhaling looking up and then exhale looking towards the navel. Continue for as many rounds as you wish. Focus internally on your breath. Affirmation: I am present in the now and flow calmly in life (exhale/inhale).

Yoga Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)

Start standing. Inhale raise the arms above the head and at the same time raise the right foot off the floor behind. Pause and hold here if you like, or for the full posture, fold forwards from the hip and place the left hand fingertips on the floor under the shoulder. The right leg is up and parallel with the floor with the foot turning out to the right side. The right arm/ hand reaches up towards the ceiling. Exhale as you twist round to look up towards the right hand (look to the floor or side if the balance goes). Hold here for three breaths and then release up and out the same way you went in. Repeat on the other side. Twice on each side. Affirmation: I let go of frustrations and angers (exhale) and am happy with myself (inhale).

Yoga Tree Posture (Vrksasana)

From standing place your weight on to the left foot and bring the right foot up so that the sole of the foot is resting on the inner left leg as far up the leg as you feel comfortable with (not the Tree Posture (Vrksasana)

knee). Inhale and bring your hands into prayer in front of you. Exhale ground the standing leg and strengthen up your whole body. Inhale and lift the chest to pull up the spine. Hold for three breaths and then exhale release the foot down. Repeat on the other side. Affirmation: I am centred and send my energy downwards through my feet to the Earth. I am grounded and serene (inhale/exhale).

Pranayama Shankh Mudra

This mudra is very good for problems of the throat. Close your eyes, focusing inwards on your breathing. Focus on a calm flowing breath that is easy. For the mudra, encircle the thumb with the four fingers of the right hand. Touch the right thumb to the extended middle finger to the extended middle ringer of the left hand. Now, together, the two hands resemble a conch shell. Hold the hands in front of your sternum and chant OM with it. This can be done three times every day for 15 minutes. Affirmation: I am calm and present (inhale/exhale).

Nutrition

With thyroid issues a diet without refined sugars and stimulants will help to balance symptoms as the thyroid craves sugar when unbalanced but this then aggravates it if consumed. Cutting down on grains such as oats, rice, pastas will also help. Eating more food that contains calcium and sodium is important, especially in preventing hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism can also cause your bones to become weak and thin, which can lead to osteoporosis. Taking vitamin

D and calcium supplements during and after treatment can help strengthen your bones. Consult a naturopathic nutritionist for more help with food balancing.

What your body is saying

This over activeness is a symptom telling you that you need to slow down and calm down from the constant rushing – whether that is physically, in emotions, mentally or in spirituality. You are possibly trying to cram in as much as possible into your life, perhaps in case you miss something, or in being a little anxious. You may be experiencing that there never seems enough time to do what you need or want to and might even feel a persistent guilt about not doing more. Overwhelm is also a symptom as things sometimes get on top of you and you don’t always know how to deal with them. Deep down there could be an emotion (energy in motion) of anger and resentment which is encouraging you to keep striving forwards. This symptom is an indication that you need to focus on becoming more mindful, have less speed and more haste perhaps. Attending a weekly yoga class which is more yin than yang (slow flowing or restorative) may help. Slowing down will also help you discover what it is you are distracting yourself from. Sarah Swindlehurst is the founder of The Yogic Prescription. If there is a particular ailment or issue you would like covered in OM please e-mail her at sarah@theyogicprescription.com

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om body

Yoga A-Z

And so, friends, we come to the end of the alphabet, letter Z. By Carole Moritz

Z

is for zero. It’s neither positive nor negative, it just is; it’s formless nature, without beginning or end. Zero denotes the cyclical eternity of birth and rebirth in its circular shape. Pythagoras, the revered Greek mathematician and scientist, best known for the Pythagorean Theorem, thought zero as the starting point of all numbers that follow. Notice how in the numerological system, when counting 1 to 9, we start again with zero in 10, 100, 1,000, and so on. The property of zero is a central aspect in separating positive and negative numbers on a number line. Zero in its numerical value is indivisible; multiply anything with zero and the answer is zero. Zero on its own represents the absence of things. To ancient civilisations zero represented the spirit finding its way back to source, freed from the limitations of the material world in its wholeness and nothing. In Hinduism, zero represents the eternal mystery that bridges the physical and metaphysical, what stands for us between reason and faith. But what does zero have to do with yoga? The limitless nature of zero as infinity represents the birth and rebirth of our practice every time we step on the mat. Zero’s meaning as potential can be applied to the journeys we take, stepping into the unknown when we attempt a new shape. And then we start all over again, triumphant in our learning, our consciousness magnified as we reach a higher plane of physical and spiritual awareness. As our bodies change with age, so must the nature of our practice. So that when it’s time to leave our body behind, our practice is not lost, but is safely stored in our consciousness, and continues on in another form. Thank you for coming along on this journey with me. It’s time to start again. I’ll see you on the page. Namaste.

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OMFM OM FOR MEN

Inside:

Page 54: The Man From MTV Page 57: Man On The Mat

Photo & Yogi: Andrew Smith

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FM

THE MAN FROM

Photo credits: Laurent Guinci

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FM

From high profile TV presenter to Sattva yoga specialist, OM chats to Australia’s Caleb Packham who is making it a mission to bring yoga to people who wouldn’t otherwise walk into a studio Tell us about your early TV career I began my career as an actor in Australia then pretty much fell into the coolest job on the planet – a VJ on MTV. From there I progressed to terrestrial TV, presenting a variety of entertainment programmes... a candid camera show, a travel show. Yes, it was fun. Very exciting, glamorous. It was all those things. But ultimately I was very much enamoured with the external world and always reaching for more, more, more, yet never really satisfied. I came to London initially with the ambition to break into UK television, but literally as I arrived, my course of destiny was set on another path. I found myself surrounded by some new, amazing friends, very conscious, spiritually evolved people who inspired me to look deeper within myself for all the things I had been looking for externally. I guess you could say over the course of a year I had a big awakening. Then, one day, I sat down to update my showreel for my new agent. As I scanned through the tapes of footage, I felt a huge sense of achievement looking back over my career, yet in that moment I knew that chapter was over. I just didn’t feel the ambition anymore. I was so content with just being me. I no longer needed the validation that I was once searching for from the media and the public. And that was it. Over.

Satt’wa) means ‘whole’, ‘complete’, ‘balance’. It’s a union of many yogic paths. Asana, kriya, pranayama, meditation, mantra, free movement and wisdom, all brought together in one class, or ‘journey’ as we call it, to create energetic shifts in the mind, body and spirit. Typically a Sattva journey will run for between 90 minutes to two hours. I always begin with a vision, or theme, then invite the journey to emerge. Many people who come to my class have practiced yoga for many years, yet they say they’ve not experienced anything quite like Sattva. The kriyas are particularly powerful. Using the body, the breath, mantra and specific mudras, we are able to connect to energies of nature, of Shakti, of existence around us, to develop our potentiality. Specific kriyas activate specific neurological responses from your brain; they change brain chemistry. There are kriyas that help transcend certain psychological tendencies. Some are designed to develop fire within you. Some are designed to develop compassion in you. Some people go to yoga for the stretch, for the workout, but Sattva is so much more than that. If you’re looking for a deeply spiritual practice, something that can truly help you achieve your fullest potential, Sattva could be for you.

How did you first get into yoga A bad case of plantar fasciitis first led me to the yoga mat four years ago. It’s a chronic condition often triggered by tightness in the hamstrings and calves which causes inflammation on the sole of the foot. It’s awfully painful to walk and I was trying everything and anything to heal it. With yoga next on the list, I hobbled in to triyoga in Soho, London to take my first class. I didn’t know the class schedule, I just took the first class available. I think it was all meant to be because the teacher turned out to be Leila Sadeghee, who is incredible, both in terms of technique and also from the soul aspect. At the top of the class she shared some yogic wisdom which was so profoundly relevant to me, in terms of a difficult situation I was facing in my personal life at the time. In that moment, I knew that yoga was to become a whole lot more than rehab for my foot. How has your acting influenced your yoga I can definitely see how my experience on TV and stage has influenced my teaching style. I’ve been told I have a very commanding presence when I teach. I guess that’s the TV presenter in me! And there’s definitely a theatrical element to my classes, particularly in the way I incorporate the music. I’m very creative and meticulous when it comes to choosing exactly the right piece of music to bring in at exactly the right moment to arouse specific emotions. Just like we do in theatre. Recently, I held a special Sattva Journey set to live music, with sacred instruments including harmonic gongs, singing bowls and the didgeridoo. It was magic. Tell us more about Sattva yoga Sattva was developed by my master Anand Mehrotra in the Himalayas about 10 years ago. In Sanskrit, Sattva (pronounced

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FM What are your yoga plans going forward It’s my dream to eventually open a Sattva yoga centre in London. In the meantime, it’s my mission to make Sattva accessible to people who wouldn’t normally go to a yoga studio. Currently I teach classes at a gastro pub in Earl’s Court. I call it pub yoga. It’s really taken off. The great thing is I’m getting a good turn out of guys, much more than you would typically see in yoga studios. I would also like to hold classes for special needs people. I can see Sattva greatly benefiting people with autism and Downs Syndrome particularly. Tell us about Australia’s yoga scene Like London, Sydney’s yoga scene is thriving. There are a lot of large studios around now. My favourites are the ones still maintaining a sense of ‘sangha’, of community, such as Yoga Bowl in Lane Cove. It started out as a boutique studio on a bowling lawn. Last year they celebrated 10 years and this year moved to a new space in the Lane Cove Tennis Centre. It’s owned and operated by Mitch Gibson who’s a yoga teacher herself. When in Sydney I always make a point of going to do a class with Mitch. Everything she does, from her classes to her retreats, have so much love and care put into them you can’t help but have that feeling of home after being in her presence. My other favourite studio is Dharma Shala in North Bondi which offers beautiful, free flowing vinyasa classes. I particularly like the

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way the teachers explore pranayama and mantra. Marc Wittenberg is one of my favourite teachers there. He brings a lot of integrity, strength and humour to his classes. Anything else Someone asked me the other day if I’d ever go back to TV presenting. Well, never say never. But if I did, it would be different. I’d be presenting something like Yoga TV or documentaries that aim to raise consciousness. After I gave up TV, I began a writing project. A screenplay. A sci-fi thriller about human evolution and all the things that have captivated me on this spiritual path, such as ancient civilisations, quantum physics and consciousness. Screenwriting is a huge commitment. My co-writer and I get together to write three or four days a week, four hours a day. And we’ve been at it for 10 years. But we’re nearly there. We are on track to finish our final draft in time for the Cannes Film Festival next May. Caleb Packham teaches at Embody Wellness (embodywellness.co.uk). For information about his Pub Yoga classes or to discover more about him visit: yogicaleb.com


MAN ON THE MAT:

FM WITH MARK ATHERTON

Extended Bound Revolved Side Angle (Parivrtta Baddha Parsvakonasana) Benefits

This pose is a fantastic combination of binding, twisting and lunging. The bound hands mean that the shoulders and chest enjoy a lovely opening. This is a great asana for strengthening the lower body. The inclusion of the twisting action in the pose aids in lengthening the spine as well as helping with digestion. In addition, the twisting action brings awareness to the Manipura Chakra, meaning this is a pose that creates a sense of power, strength and fire.

Common Mistakes

n B alance can be a challenge in this pose, try widening the stance to find more stability in the lower body. n B e aware of the neck and keep it in one line with the spine. n T he hip of the front leg has a tendency to move back and out as we rotate and bind in the pose; keep awareness on drawing the front hip back and back hip forward finding balance in the pelvis.

Tips

n W arming up with preparatory poses such as Parivrtta Utkatasana, Parivrtta Anjaneyasana, and Parivrtta Trikonasana will help greatly with the rotation through the spine as well as waking up strength in the lower body.

n B e mindful of lengthening the spine while binding the hands; avoid compromising the spine for the bind. n B reathe! Keep the breath flowing and use it as a communicator for understanding how far to progress into the pose. n I f the opposite upper arm can’t come to the outside of the knee, try one of the other variations of this pose (Prayer Twist, Hand To Mat Twist) and progress slowly to this variation.

Awareness

n U se caution when binding, especially if there is limited shoulder mobility or injury. n B e mindful of the spine while binding. The strength of the arms in a bind can potentially move the spine past its comfortable range of motion. Go slow! n U se caution when practicing this asana if you have any knee or ankle injuries, shoulder injuries, neck injuries, back injuries, high blood pressure or headaches.

Mark Atherton,Yogacara Global Yoga Teacher Training (yogacara.com)

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Because you're

gorgeous Cruelty-free cosmetics and skincare products are aligned with many of yoga’s core values, including the central tenet of ahimsa, or non-harming… so let’s celebrate the rise and rise of ethical beauty

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Ethical Beauty Love your body and it will love you right back. That’s one of the big reasons we get into yoga in the first place. But there’s so much more to it. A regular practice helps us to make more informed choices in life generally. That’s certainly evident in the cleaner diets many yogis and yoginis adopt, choosing fresh, natural and organic produce where possible, often adhering to strict vegetarian or vegan diets. And that’s just the start. Making responsible, ethical choices can cover what you put on your body as well as what you put inside it. This has fuelled demand for cruelty-free, organic skincare and make up products, and spawned a new industry populated by dynamic eco entrepreneurs and vegan cosmetic brands. The days when ethical beauty simply meant a Body Shop gift set for Christmas are over. Now, it’s possible to live well and look amazing (even if takes an hour’s prep time in the mornings!) without harming the planet or those that live on it. Now that’s a truly beautiful thing.

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Ethical Beauty

Buyer BEWARE Think before you buy that next lipstick or mascara. As one vegan entrepreneur explains, you never quite know what unwanted animal ingredients might be lurking in your make up bag, by Rebecca Goodyear

R

ose Brown, 25-year-old vegan entrepreneur and founder of PHB Ethical Beauty (PHB), is passionate about promoting cruelty-free cosmetics to the world. She believes vegan beauty products are better for our health, for animals and the environment. The daughter of UB40 drummer and songwriter James Brown, she launched PHB with her partner in 2012 to provide a completely natural and ethically conscious alternative to mainstream products. “My passion is educating people about the hidden dangers and ingredients found in many beauty products,” she says. “Often people don’t realise that most beauty products contain harsh chemicals and animal derived ingredients that damage our health and cause unnecessary

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suffering to millions of animals each year.” It can be quite an eye opening education. Animal fats and crushed insects are common ingredients found in mainstream beauty products and (even more worryingly) in lots of natural and organic beauty products too. When you’ve made the choice not to consume animal derived ingredients you don’t really want to find out there’s pig fat in your lipstick! Brown insists that no product requires the use of animal ingredients to make it desirable or effective, given that suitable

“There’s still a long way to go in the fight against animal cruelty in beauty products.”

cruelty-free vegan alternatives are available. “Animal testing is another issue close to our hearts,” she adds. “Many big brands claim not to test on animals but sell their products in China where animal testing is a prerequisite. Many cruelty free companies still use animal derived ingredients, and even many companies who provide some vegan certified products use animal ingredients in their ranges. There’s still a long way to go in the fight against animal cruelty in beauty products.” But she says it’s important to show companies that continue to use these kinds of ingredients that it’s not acceptable. “By vocally demanding they stop and by choosing to purchase products from companies that only use ethical ingredients we can power a change that will encourage compassion and make a huge difference to the world we live in.”


Here is a quick list of some animal products that are commonly found in make up and beauty products on the high street, plus a few suggestions on how you can easily source cruelty-free, vegan alternatives:

7. Keratin

1. Animal Hair

8. Squaline

Used for false eyelashes and cosmetics brushes. Often made from mink, fox, sable, horse, goat and even squirrel. VEGAN ALTERNATIVES: Many high quality synthetic options are available.

2. Carmine (aka Cochineal, Crimson lake, Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470, or E120).

This red dye is commonly found in lipsticks, blushers and nail polish. Sourced from crushed cochineal insects by extracting the colour from its body and eggs. Reportedly over 70,000 insects are killed to produce just 500g of dye.

A current favourite in many hair and nail care products. It comes from the hair, nails and horns of animals. VEGAN ALTERNATIVES: Almond oil and soy protein.

Found in many cosmetics including deodorants, lip balm, lipstick, moisturisers and sun tan lotions. Often used for its anti-oxidant rich emollient properties. Obtained by squeezing the oil from the liver of a shark often via the cruel practice of ‘liver-ing’. This is a process fishermen use to expedite collection by removing the liver and throwing the injured shark back to the waters still alive and suffering. Some sharks that produce squalene are at risk of extinction in only a few years time due to the high consumer demand for this product. VEGAN ALTERNATIVES: Vegetable

derived sources of squalene from olive oil, rice bran and wheat germ.

9. Shellac

Used for nails and in hair lacquers. A resinous excretion obtained from the lac bug of India and Thailand. It’s estimated that anywhere between 50,000-300,000 lac bugs are required to make just 1kg of shellac.

10. Stearic Acid

A very common ingredient found in cosmetics, soaps, hair products, deodorants and creams. It most often refers to fats taken from the stomach of pigs. Can also be obtained from cows and sheep. It can be quite harsh and irritating to the skin. VEGAN ALTERNATIVES: Stearic acid can be derived from vegetable fats. Find a palm oil free alternative such as organic coconut oil or soya.

3. Collagen and Elastin

Found in creams, lotions and lipstick for its plumping effect, collagen and elastin are proteins extracted from dead animals. Collagen is made by cooking their bones, connective tissue and skin. Elastin is found in the muscles, neck ligaments and aortas of cows. VEGAN ALTERNATIVES: Hyaluronic acid and MSM are naturally derived skin plumpers.

4. Glycerine

Rose Brown is the founder of PHB Ethical Beauty, which is on a mission to change the way people think about their beauty product choices. The company’s range is the largest collection of natural, 100% vegan and cruelty free beauty products available anywhere in the world. Visit: phbethicalbeauty.co.uk

One of the most commonly used ingredients in cosmetics. Found in moisturisers, cleansing products, hair care, cosmetics and soaps. Often from animal fats it is a by-product of soap manufacture. VEGAN ALTERNATIVES: Vegetable glycerin. Find a palm oil free alternative. PHB uses vegetable glycerin derived from organic coconut oil or soya.

5. Guanine

Used in eyeshadow, nail polish and blusher to create sparkles. Guanine is made by scraping the scales off dead fish.

6. Lanolin

Found in moisturisers, lotions and lip balms. Especially prevalent in dry skin and eczema products. Lanolin is fat derived from the grease in sheep hair. Can be obtained from both living and slaughtered sheep and is a by-product of the horrific wool industry.

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Ethical Beauty

A commitment

T

Beauty should not just be people-friendly but kind to the planet too

he Welsh cleric Geoffrey of Monmouth once wrote that the fields of Avalon “have no need of the ploughs of the farmers and all cultivation is lacking except what nature provides.” Inspired by this concept, the Avalon Organics brand was founded on the deeprooted belief that all beauty comes from the earth. “Avalon Organics is all about natural and organic living at an affordable price and embodies the notion of combining modern science with ancient botanical knowledge,” the company states. The company believes that both the earth and all the life living upon her are deserving of respect. “To show this respect means behaving in a truly holistic and environmentally sustainable way. It’s about redefining

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to kindness

beauty from the inside out, because real beauty means nurturing body, mind and soul – and making sure the earth stays as beautiful and healthy as you are, always.” As testimony to this notion, Avalon Organics uses pure plant-based organic ingredients ranging from lavender and rosemary essential oils to quinoa protein, aloe and vitamin E from only trusted, certified sources. The aim is to ensure that every product is not just safe for humans to use and enjoy, but also safe for the earth too. And to prove the natural beauty brand practices what it preaches, each of its products is certified under well-respected organic standards: NSF.ANSI 305 Standard for Personal Care Products Containing Organic Ingredients, or the USDA National Organic Program standard. In the same vein, it never tests its products on animals and will only use ingredients if suppliers can prove they have similar ethics. This ‘commitment to kindness’ is represented by the Leaping Bunny logo, which appears on all of its product labels. Most Avalon Organics products are vegan, and all are vegetarian friendly. The secret of deep-rooted, natural beauty is nourishing not only the body, but

also the mind and soul too,” the company believes. The Avalon Organics range consists of fragrant hair and body care crafted from the finest natural ingredients and organic essential oils, including lavender, peppermint, lemon and rosemary, and three different skincare lines which each target a different skin type: Intense Defense with Vitamin C, white tea and lemon bioflavonoids to help delay the signs of ageing; Brilliant Balance with prebiotics, lavender and cucumber to help fight dullness and care for sensitive skin, and Wrinkle Therapy with CoQ10 and rosehip to combat lines and wrinkles. The company even has its packaging made from recycled and recyclable materials combined with sustainably sourced paperboard in order to minimise its carbon footprint and lessen its impact on the environment. All formulas are tested to evaluate the organic carbon to CO2 conversion rate necessary for biodegradable certification. Look out for Avalon Organics products at Whole Foods, Ocado and selected Holland and Barrett and Waitrose stores. Visit: avalonorganics.com


PADS & TAMPONS WITH 100% ORGANIC COTTON

www.organyc.uk When most feminine care brands are synthetic, Organyc products use 100% organic cotton for gentle-on-the-skin softness and super absorbency without chemicals or chlorine bleach. Complete protection in the most natural way!

Be Natural. Be Organyc. Available from health stores, independent pharmacies and online


Ethical Beauty

Made in Switzerland From the Swiss Alpine mountains comes the Nahrin brand, an all natural choice for discerning, ethical consumers

C

onsumers in the UK may be more familiar with the Nahrin brand rather than the name behind it – Jüstrich Cosmetics – but it’s a story that goes back a long way. A family-owned Swiss company established over 60 years ago, Jüstrich Cosmetics manufactures and distributes nutritional and herbal products to over 30 countries, including the UK, serving millions of customers and yet still adhering to strict standards and traditions. Available exclusively in the UK through JustUK.net, it has used its passion and understanding of the benefits of herbs to promote health and wellbeing across the world for the past six decades. Its philosophy is simple and one that will resonate with the yoga community: to actively contribute to improving the health and quality of life of our customers through handmade, natural, high quality products which are produced using the most modern production techniques and under strict Swiss quality standards. The Nahrin range spans 100% pure essential oils, deodorants and body creams, right through to bath and shower products such as shampoo and conditioner, plus many others. There are gifts sets available too (ideal for Christmas!): the Nahrin Pamper Gift Set includes a mix of softening and soothing products to allow yourself to be spoiled, or the Nahrin Herbal Gardener’s Set, a great anti inflammatory set for softening rough and chapped skin, with moisturiser, sun protection, and relief from stings and bites. All products are made from natural ingredients, with quality raw materials free from pesticides and chemical residues, and no animal testing. Discover the world of Nahrin and Jüstrich Cosmetics at: JustUK.net

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Akamuti love

A new breed of companies and entrepreneurs are transforming the way we think about cosmetics and beauty products

A

kamuti is the home of 100% natural, organic and ethical skincare, handcrafted in a leafy green, peaceful corner of beautiful West Wales. Born in 2003 from a love for nature, trees and natural products, it is passionate about people and the planet. “Our recipes are designed with sensitive skin in mind and we rely completely on natural ingredients to promote healthy, happy skin from top-to-toe,” says managing director, Lindsey Hedges. “Our products are ideal for dry or problem skin types which often respond well to the potent nourishment provided by natural skin foods.” Brimming with botanical goodness, the cruelty free, natural beauty products are crafted with no added nasties, preservatives or artificial fragrances which makes them suitable for the most sensitive souls. Ingredients are sourced from producers around the world including organic shea butter from West Africa, fragrant coconut oil from Indonesia and argan oil from co-operatives in Morocco. Akamuti believes in promoting sustainability from start to finish, so that everyone benefits, adds Hedges. “Show your skin some Akamuti love with our award winning range of exotic butters and moisturisers, soaps and cold pressed oils. Or have some fun making your own blends.” akamuti.co.uk


Ethical Beauty

The dark side of feminine hygiene Introducing Organyc: the natural choice for the everyday woman

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he organic bandwagon is well and truly on a roll. Last year, British women spent an extra £1.4 million a week on organic products. Not only are our shopping baskets being filled with non GM, organic foods, we’re now savvy enough to understand the nasty side-effects chemicals can have on our delicate skin. Organic skincare sales have gone through the roof in the past five years, with the majority of women now seeking friendlier, non-fragranced and natural versions of their favourite beauty products. With this in mind, why don’t women extend their natural and organic purchasing choices to every part of their health and wellbeing? You may be surprised to learn that many well-known, popular feminine sanitary products are made of mostly synthetic materials, derived from oil, plastics or cellulose fibres from wood pulp. Traditional sanitary protection and feminine hygiene products may also contain chemicals and artificial fragrances to disguise unpleasant odour. Furthermore, SAPs or Super Absorbent Polymers, which whilst doing their job to absorb liquid better, are also made from polymers that are derived from crude oil.

Organic vs GM cotton

LOVE YOUR BODY ORGANYC ORGANIC TAMPONS

The average woman uses approximately 11,000 tampons in her lifetime, and most will contain countless chemicals and synthetic materials. Organyc’s only have one ingredient - pure organic cotton. From £3.09

ORGANYC ORGANIC COTTON SANITARY PADS Did you know that conventional sanitary pads can contain the equivalent of approximately four plastic bags? Organyc uses 100% organic cotton, allowing your body to breathe, whilst being extremely kind to sensitive skin. From £3.09

ORGANYC INTIMATE FEMININE WASH

Contains gentle, pure ingredients, which don’t strip the skin of its natural oils, such as organic calendula and chamomile extract, as well as organic aloe vera and cornflower to cool and refresh. £6.95

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The cotton used in traditional tampons, sanitary pads and panty liners may not be certified organic. But what does that matter? Well, according to Dr Marilyn Glenville, one of the UK’s leading women’s natural health experts, it matters a lot. She reckons 50% of the world’s cotton is now genetically modified (GM), so unless the cotton is certified organic, tampons can likewise contain GM cotton. They may also contain chemical residues from pesticides, fungicides and herbicides that have been used on the cotton, or contain material bleached with chlorine. Understandably, Glenville is a firm believer in natural intimate care. “I think feminine care is one area where we need to pay particular attention,” she states.

Introducing Organyc

Organyc, a range of organic and natural feminine care products, is on a mission to educate women about the importance of using organic feminine hygiene products. Unlike most brands, its range contains no synthetics, no SAPs or synthetic materials. All products are made with 100% organic cotton. A completely natural fibre, cotton is one of nature’s most absorbent materials. Not only is it hypo allergenic, cotton is naturally breathable due to its unique structure and actually becomes stronger when wet, keeping you dry and comfortable for longer. “Sanitary products and especially tampons come into contact with delicate tissues that have direct entry into your bloodstream,” states Glenville. “Anything you put inside you will be easily transmitted. No risks should be taken.” Find out more at: organyc.co.uk


Give the gift of natural beauty this festive season Free

Intense Defense

Avalon Organics Skincare Gift Set The Intense Defense skincare collection with Vitamin C, Lemon & White Tea. Stocked at Ocado.com


Ethical Beauty

Absolutely fabulous Look amazing without harming our beautiful planet with these kind cosmetics and skincare products Nail Polish in Maverick - £6.95

New nail polish shade in vibrant, matt and vivid Hertfordshire Maverick purple (Benecos sponsors the Hertfordshire Mavericks netball team). Suitable for vegans and gentle on nails due to the formula being free from toxic and harsh chemicals such as toluene, TPHP, camphor, formaldehyde, phthalates and colophony. benecos.co.uk

Cuticle Moon Hand and Nail Butter - £6.95 (50ml)

Rich and deeply moisturising, this award winning hand butter supplies all the botanical goodness you need to keep your hands and nails strong, bright and healthy. Enriched with fragrant lemon oil, organic cocoa butter and organic honey for extra nourishment. akamuti.co.uk

Liquid African Black Soap Unscented - £7.50 (250ml)

African black soap is famous for helping with dry and problem skin due to the high content of shea butter. It is thought to be one of the healthiest soaps for the skin due to the purity and simplicity of the ingredients. Traditionally handcrafted in Ghana, West Africa. akamuti.co.uk

Nahrin Alpine Oil - £12

A blend of essential oils with a soothing and calming effect on the respiratory tract. Its disinfectant properties helps reduce transmission of air-bound cough and flu germs. justuk.net

The Brilliant Balance collection - £29.99

Formulated with lavender and prebiotics, this Avalon Organics collection helps bring brightness to the skin, harnessing the energising power of licorice root to help even tone and draw out radiance and support skin health. ocado.com

Nahrin Herbal Oil Plus 33+7 - from £12

Traditional Swiss blend of essential oils. Has numerous uses including relief from blocked sinuses, heavy heads and migraine. Essential in every household. justuk.net

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Nahrin Heel Repair Cream - £14

Contains 25% urea which quickly and efficiently reduces callouses and repairs rough and cracked skin. Has a high concentration of natural calming and antiinflammatory ingredients. justuk.net

PHB Botanical BB Cream - £18.95

This skin nourishing Botanical BB Cream blurs the line between makeup and skin care. 100% natural, it uses pure, ethically sourced minerals that provide subtle coverage to leave skin looking flawless and radiant. Made with botanical extracts of Rosehip, Aloe Vera and Grape Seed. phbethicalbeauty.co.uk

15% DISCOUNT Just use code

OMYOGA

The Intense Defense collection - £34.99

The Intense Defense collection from Avalon Organics. Comes boxed with a branded wash bag. Vegan, gluten free, no GMOs and biodegradable. ocado.com

www.akamuti.co.uk | Tel: 01558 685360 69


Christmas Gift Guide

Oh Karma OM ye faithful W��� ��� ���t��� ���s��� ���f���h���l . . . . . . ��n��� ���r ��n���f��� ���h ��r A���d-W���i���T���e ��i ��a���

Give the gift of an OM Yoga & Lifestyle Magazine subscription this Christmas Visit orders.primeimpact.co.uk to find out more 70


100% Natural Rubber & Jute Yoga Mats

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If Yoga holds the potential to transform the Body-Mind landscape why not complement your practice and embrace the health of the Earth too ... ?

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Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life by Swami Janakananda

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Guided Practices to Accompany the Book 100 Mindfulness Meditations

Neil Seligman Founder of The Conscious Professional


om mind Meditation of the month

The winds of change A meditation harnessing visualisation and breathing techniques to balance one of the five elements. By Jill Lawson

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ind power has many benefits across the globe. From generating clean energy to providing abundant electricity, wind is an overlooked wonder of the world. Maybe it is because we cannot see it. However, when wind is present, we tend to want to get out of it. The relationship we have with wind is significant. While we may welcome a warm breeze, or feel competent in using it as a sustainable source of energy, we also recognise the wind can be vastly destructive. As one of the five elements, wind (air) not only sustains life, its attributes are linked to our sense of intelligence and creativity. Without enough, we lack verve. Without any, we perish. With too much, we are unable to keep our feet on the ground, both figuratively and literally. If you are feeling stuck, heavy, or suffocated by life’s burdens, you need to harness the energy of the wind. If you feel as if your life has been blown out of proportion, you need to quiet down your internal gusts. Practice the following meditation to balance your wind element. For each

“Breathing is a brilliant way to balance your wind element. Focus on your inhalations when you crave energy, savour your exhalations when you need to find stillness.”

meditation, begin in a comfortable position without external distractions. Preferably out of the wind!

Do it now NOT ENOUGH WIND/AIR: Imagine your lungs like the fabric of a hot air balloon. See the balloon only partially inflated, with the basket of the balloon (your spirit) skipping across the ground, unable to take flight. Next, bring your attention to your breath. Slowly begin to lengthen each inhale. Visualise the balloon swelling with air. Now, see the balloon lift off, carrying your spirit high up into the sky. Allow your consciousness to catch a second wind, and let your mind drift among the clouds of inspiration. TOO MUCH WIND/AIR: If it is comfortable, come into Child’s Pose and place your forehead on the floor. Bring your attention to your exhalations. Allow each exhale to be long and slow. At the end of your exhale, pause for just a moment. Invite your bones to feel dense and heavy. Imagine during this pause, everything within you is calm and still, even if the world around you seems blustery. After every inhale, know that with each exhale to follow, you will return to feeling grounded and connected to the Earth, protected and safe from life’s turbulences. Breathing is a brilliant way to balance your wind element. Focus on your inhalations when you crave energy, savour your exhalations when you need to find stillness. Easy breezy!

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

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6 practical ways to..

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PRACTICE BEING PRESENT Everyday hints and reminders to bring more mindfulness into your life. By Leo Babauta

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here are a lot of amazing benefits to being more present and mindful, but one of my favourites is this: you’re not missing the beauty and joy of the present moment. Being present also helps you to see when you are feeling fear or resistance, uncertainty or the urge to procrastinate, anger or resentment - and then to work with those difficulties mindfully. That’s all great, but how do you remember to practice being present? It’s so easy to get caught up in our thoughts and distractions, and forget to practice. The honest truth is that no one is perfect at this. Me, least of all. It’s a continual learning process, not something you figure out and then you’re good. It’s messy and beautiful all at the same time. So with that in mind, here are some practical ways to practice:

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A small regular practice

Form the simple habit of meditating for just two minutes a day (to start with). After you wake up, simply sit comfortably and try to focus on your breath for two minutes. When (not if) your mind wanders, just notice it and label it “thinking.” And gently return to the breath, without harshness. Set a timer, and when the timer goes off, you’re done! If you feel like expanding it by a minute every week or so, feel free to do so, but you don’t have to expand. The benefit of this regular practice is that you learn skills you can take and practice in other parts of your day.

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Work with others

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Have mindfulness bells

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Set an intention before an activity

Having a regular group or partner to meditate with is helpful. You support each other continuing to practice, and can talk about struggles and things you’re learning. If you don’t have a practice group in your area, you could find people online to talk to regularly about practicing.

You could have a chime regularly sound off on your phone or computer (numerous apps do this) to remind you to pause and be mindful of what’s going on right now. I’ve also found it useful to see other things as mindfulness bells: seeing my child’s face, a traffic light, hearing an alert from an appliance or the computer. Each of these can be a reminder to be present when I notice them.

If you’re about to do a work task, process email, read a book, cook dinner … you can pause just before starting, and think for a second about what your intention for that activity might be. What are you hoping to do with this activity? For me, I might cook

dinner out of love for my family or myself. I might write a blog post (like this one) out of love for my readers. I might do a workout out of love for myself (and to set a good example for my kids). I process email out of responsibility and consideration for those trying to communicate with me. By setting an intention, it reminds you to be mindful of that intention as you do any activity.

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Reflect daily

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See everything as a teacher

At the end of each day, or at the beginning, take a minute to journal or just reflect on how your day has gone. How have you done with practicing being present? What have you struggled with? Have you been using your mindfulness bells and setting intentions? What resistance has come up for you, what stories are you telling yourself about all of this? Daily reflection is one of the most useful habits for continuing to practice and getting better at practicing.

This method admittedly sounds a bit corny, but it’s actually amazing. When you’re feeling frustrated with someone, feeling stressed out by work, feeling upset or grieving about the health of a loved one, feeling anxious about a national election, pause and see this person or situation as a teacher. What can you learn from them about being present? What attachments can you see in yourself that are causing this difficulty? What stories are you forming that are causing you to feel this way? What can you practice letting go of? What can you appreciate about this moment that you are taking for granted? In this way, every difficulty, every person, everything that arises in the present moment can be a loving teacher that is helping us along the path to being present. Mindfulness for Beginner’s e-book: if you’d like help with mindfulness, check out Leo Babauta’s new Zen Habits Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness short e-book. Visit: zenhabits.net

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Eating

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with

Stepping from mindful eating to mindful living. By Amanda Edlin

f you’ve ever attended a mindfulness course it is quite likely that you’ve experienced a mindful eating exercise. But how do we go deeper and explore this daily practice further? During a mindfulness course you are normally given something to eat mindfully; sometimes a raisin or sultana, a piece of chocolate or fruit. The object of the exercise is to fully experience what you’re eating and it starts before you put it in your

“Mindfulness, over time, becomes a way of being rather than an act of doing. So you don’t have to fit it in because it’s always there.” Amanda Edlin 80

awareness

mouth. The exercise starts with closed eyes and the opportunity to feel what has been placed in your hands; exploring textures, weight, temperature, everything you can feel. As you continue to explore, you are invited to smell what you’ve been given. At each stage of the process attempting to hold everything we find with non-judgemental awareness, which can be difficult as we seek to identify and label what is present. Finally, we begin to explore with the lips and the mouth; not chewing at first, just discovering flavours and textures in all parts of the mouth. Then, we are allowed to chew and notice the changes in texture and flavour. This is a simple and sometimes eye opening exercise because, in addition to noticing everything about the food we have been given, we also begin to notice how the mind seeks to label and judge rather than simply staying present. We can apply this exercise to every meal and everything we eat. So, how do we go deeper?


om mind Nature’s cycle

All gardeners and recyclers will know that clippings, trimmings, dead plants, vegetable peelings and plants that find themselves in the wrong place, find a new home on the compost heap. Here, nature works its magic. The vegetation wilts and begins to rot. The rain moistens it and the sun warms it. Eventually, from waste, beautiful compost is formed. Seeds are sown in the compost and with nurturing and care a new plant begins to grow. With time, the plant forms flowers and bears fruit. This fruit becomes part of the food we eat. Nature’s cycle is reassuringly enduring, continuously providing. When you next sit down to eat, be fully present. Consider not just the textures, smells and tastes, consider also what it is you are really eating. Think about the rotting vegetation that made the beautiful compost. Remember the care taken by the gardener or farmer who sowed the seed. How they nurtured the plant and helped it to grow. Be grateful for the rain and the sun, without which the plant would not be possible. How did the food get to you? How many people have been involved in the process? Eat the rain, the sun and the compost with complete awareness.

Kindness and compassion

All the things we think of as waste, in this example, created sustenance and things of beauty. Without the rotting vegetation, the fruit would not be possible. Therefore, the waste is not thrown away with no value, it is important and allows new growth. In our daily lives and also in our mindfulness and meditation practice we can greet our fears, anxieties, dis-ease and discomfort with the same thought, kindness and understanding. Just as there is balance with the rotting vegetation and the fruit, there is the same balance with fear, anxiety and pain. If we experience sadness, we can experience happiness, this balance provides that. Fear can turn to hope, dis-ease to ease, and mis-understanding to understanding. The rotting vegetation must be present for the flower to bloom. When we bring kindness and compassion to ourselves and also others in our daily lives, we allow the flowers to bloom. Amanda Edlin is principal trainer at Waking Minds Yoga. She is a meditation and mindfulness practitioner with over 30 years of experience and is also a yoga teacher trainer and an author. She has studied western psychology, NLP, CBT, eastern philosophy, various styles of yoga, meditation and mindfulness. Visit: wakingmindsyoga.co.uk


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Be a I

BETTER you

Five ways to improve the quality of your relationships with yoga. By Lucy Sabin

t’s no secret that yoga can be wonderful for promoting general mindfulness and health on a personal level. But it’s often thought of as an individualistic practice that’s not particularly relevant to our relationships with others; meditation is a solitary pursuit, and we rarely acknowledge the presence of others in a group yoga class, remaining within the four ‘walls’ of our mat. Yet in actual fact, yoga can be used as a practical tool to improve social awareness in real-life situations, be that at work, in the pub, or in the bedroom. Allow me to demonstrate how.

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Self-awareness

Being self-aware is the key to forging mindful and meaningful relationships with others. Because if we are not fully connected to ourselves, we cannot effectively connect with others. Like body therapies, the somatic connection that yoga encourages can be used to dramatically transform our behaviour patterns in relationships for the better. For example, while performing Warrior II, you might ask yourself: where do I need to be more of a warrior in my life? Perhaps I need to adopt a more warrior-like approach to marketing, applying for jobs, networking, or dating.

This approach can be consciously implemented as part of a daily yoga practice. And in real-life situations, we might think about adjusting our body language to fit the social situation we find ourselves in. In the above example, you might replicate Warrior II as a microposture, with one foot forward and arms energised, in order to embody conviction and determination in any given moment and, in turn, inspire others around you to follow your lead.

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Self-care and self-love

Done mindfully, yoga promotes deep self-respect because it encourages


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Balancing yin and yang

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Partner yoga

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Beginnings, middles, and ends

A yoga practice that balances yin and yang energies provides us with the know-how to adapt our behaviour in reallife situations. For instance, a person who needs to embody a more yang approach in order to show leadership at work might start practicing more yang forms of yoga such as Bikram or Ashtanga. Alternatively, a person who needs to develop their yin side in order to soften relationships with others might begin practicing a gentler form, like Hatha yoga.

Partner yoga is an up and coming, literal way to improve our relationships with others, particularly when it comes to intimacy in all forms. It is less about doing something in unison and more about accepting the uniqueness of another. Someone who might want to overcome blocks with physical intimacy might find a yoga partner in order to practice safe and mindful physical union. A more extreme version of partner yoga is Acro (acrobatic) Yoga. When yogis are performing potentially dangerous postures that rely on the physical support of another, they are making themselves vulnerable and dependent. Seen this way, Acro Yoga could help resolve trust issues in our relationships.

us to check-in with our bodies to discover what we really need. Self-respect is the foundation of any good relationship; you need to show up for yourself in order to be able to show up for others. Selfrespect also helps to distinguish between nourishing relationships and destructive ones. Sometimes we need to be able to just say “No” to those who would take advantage of us. On the other hand, sometimes we need to be able to say “Yes” to receiving pleasure. In sexual encounters, for instance, it is just as important to be able to receive pleasure as it is to give it. If this idea makes you feel uncomfortable, you may benefit from practicing an opening pose such as Supta Baddha Konasana (The Cobbler).

Every relationship has them, from longterm partners to business associates. In order to tackle issues with commitment or letting go, it can be helpful to think about the beginning, middle, and end of each relationship like a yoga class. You begin a yoga class by focusing on your intention, you go through the postures mindfully and appreciate the present moment, and you end the class by taking stock and allowing your body and mind to achieve equilibrium in final resting pose. Enter into a relationship hurriedly, and you’re sure to encounter problems. The same can be said for not being ‘present’ during the relationship, while rushing out of a relationship can leave both parties scarred and confused. Ultimately, an honest yoga practice brings us back to our bodies and thereby encourages an examined life. It is up to us to incorporate this practical honesty when we are doing yoga, so that we can make the human connections that we long for. To find out more about the ethos of Embodied Yoga Principles visit: embodiedyogaprinciples.com


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The ecological crisis as spiritual initiation Author Daniel Pinchbeck explores how the coming together of environmental, economic and other pressures may be driving our spiritual evolution

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y new book, How Soon Is Now?, explores the prospect that the global ecological crisis unleashed by human activity is a triggering event – an evolutionary bifurcation – that will force a rapid mutation in consciousness. As the heat rises and resources become scarce, we must make a shift from competition to cooperation as a global paradigm if we want to survive. If we look at the model of biology, we find that cooperation eventually ‘outcompetes’ competition: our own bodies offer wonderful examples of this. They are made up of trillions of microorganisms that were once fighting against each other in the environment, and learned to develop more complex structures such as skin and eyes. On another level, the multidimensional crisis now bearing down on us can be seen as a rite of passage or an initiation, much like a shamanic initiation in a traditional or indigenous society, which marks the divide between adolescence and adulthood. As a species, we are still in an immature state. Individuals do not take responsibility for the fate of the collective – our human family, as well as the greater community of planetary life. Instead, our individual and collective actions deteriorate the planet’s ecology. It is conceivable we have unconsciously self-willed this megacatastrophe in order to bring about our own awakening into a new state of empathy and responsibility. Alas, this awakening may come at great cost.

Spiritual evolution

In my earlier books, Breaking Open the Head and 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, I explored psychedelic shamanism as an avenue for intensified experiences of consciousness. I believe the rediscovery of visionary plants and chemical catalysts – such as mushrooms, LSD, ayahuasca, peyote, and DMT – since the 1950s is part of a larger process of psychic and spiritual evolution, which also includes the flourishing of yoga and meditation, as well as growing interest in the world’s esoteric traditions, from Sufiism to Tibetan Buddhism. However, the New Age spiritual culture of the modern West has tended to be hyper-focused on the individual’s healing and selfinquiry, ignoring the larger social and political process in which we are meshed. Unfortunately, the capitalist system, which represents the ongoing onslaught of 500 years of imperialism and colonialism, has greatly enriched a small elite of the world’s population while it has perpetuated domination and immiseration across much of the world. We see the drastic impacts of rapid industrialisation all around us: we are losing as much as 10% of the Earth’s remaining biodiversity every 10 to 15 years, and the oceans are 30% more acidic than they were 40 years ago. We now have over 400 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – the last time there was this much CO2 in the air, temperatures were 4 degrees Celsius warmer and sea levels were far higher than they are today. Although modern technology has allowed for an increase in life expectancy, particularly through a decline in infectious diseases and a decrease of childhood mortality, there are more people in poverty around the world than ever before. The unavoidable – and terrible – truth is that climate change will decimate local cultures and the poorest people, before it eventually slams everyone else.

Wake-up call

One of my hopes is that this new book will be a wake-up call for those who have been pursuing ‘spiritual enlightenment’ through yoga, meditation, Tantra, ayahuasca, and other techniques. We have reached a time where we must go beyond our comfort zones

to realise universal compassion and find our place in service to the global emergency our political and financial leaders have unleashed. The fact is that many potential solutions are available on both the environmental and societal level. First we need to understand what these are. Then we need the fortitude and courage to implement them.

“It is conceivable we have unconsciously self-willed this mega-catastrophe in order to bring about our own awakening.” However, (past the first user-friendly 70 pages), I am afraid that How Soon Is Now? will not be easy reading for many people. I wrote it because I felt there needed to be a single volume that would help people to fathom the scale of the emergency confronting us, as well as the range of systemic answers we can apply to the mega-crisis. To do this, I had to get into details about industrial manufacturing, energy production, as well as the workings of the global financial system. Ultimately, I see our situation as a crisis of consciousness – and, as I mentioned, potentially an evolutionary trigger, much like the ‘Strange Attractors’; one finds in Chaos Theory, which emerge when a system reaches its maximum level of instability. We still don’t know much about consciousness: what it is or how it arises. Personally, I am fascinated by psychic or paranormal phenomena (like the Siddhis described in ancient yogic texts). I have experienced many forms of paranormal activity, and believe that humans have tremendous latent psychic powers. Perhaps, if we have indeed unconsciously created this dire situation, we have done so in order to access these latent powers of the mind, which our modern science still tends to deny. Human beings tend to rest once they have found a temporary comfort zone: now we have destabilised the Earth’s ecology, and have to get used to a new, uncomfortable situation.

A new religion

The prospect I put forth in the book draws on many thinkers I love, including Buckminster Fuller, Hannah Arendt, and Oscar Wilde. We can choose to overcome limited forms of self-interest, sacrifice some of our short-term goals, and come together to create a world that works for all of our human family while it protects the greater community of life. We can use our technical efficiency in service of this goal, to create a regenerative, resilient, and durable society. In order to do this, we have to overcome distractions and also reject blinkered ideologies, which include the technological Singularity ideal as well as the tendency of New Agers to separate spiritual from material, creating a false dualism. Such a movement would be truly mystical, spiritual, and even (dare I say it?) religious – as much as it would be political, economic, and technical in its means and aims. Daniel Pinchbeck’s new book How Soon Is Now? From Personal Initiation to Global Transformation is published by Watkins in February 2017

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MANIFEST YOUR DREAMS A simple guide to manifesting and visualisation to create the life of your dreams

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here is tremendous power in words, not just the spoken word but also our internal dialogue. Our internal selftalk can profoundly affect our being and shape our external reality. The sub-conscious mind passively accepts the continuous internal dialogue that takes place within and uses it to programme us and create limiting beliefs. Practices such as hypnosis and NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) have shown this to be true and it is important we make a conscious choice to become aware of this, instead of being unconsciously at the mercy of it; the key is to grasp hold of it and use it as a tool to shape our own destiny. Of course, words alone, whether expressed externally or internally, are not enough and we need to add in and be aware of two other vital ingredients in this process, namely emotion and conviction. Anything you picture vividly in your mind’s eye with repetition, and with an authentic emotion, will be manifested and become a reality for you. Your sub-conscious mind will draw you to what it clearly understands your destiny to be, whether it be people, places, achievements or jobs. However, it won’t fulfill your dreams for you – you also have to direct it with willing and focused energy. Once we begin to tune in and listen to our inner guidance – that deep well of wisdom that resides within – we can start to manifest what we desire in life and come to understand that we as individuals hold the power to inspire in ourselves the ability to achieve our dreams. It’s also important to remind ourselves along the way that this is not just about what we want to achieve in life, but also what sort of person we want to be and express to the world. But, first, one key point: how can we navigate ourselves to happiness and fulfillment if we don’t actually have a plan? A plan is something that acts as a focused pathway of sorts, which also enables us to measure our achievements as we progress along this path of manifestation and the unfoldment of life. The plan should be a journey and a combination of both small, incremental improvements (things such as starting the day with 15 minutes of meditation or affirmations) and also bigger achievements (such as booking a week away or visiting a spiritual retreat). It’s the smaller achievements that give us the energy and motivation to keep progressing to the bigger goals. To quote Mohammed Ali: “You must expect to succeed. Leave self-doubt out of your mind.” The legendary boxer always had the self-belief he would win his fights. He would say: “when I win”, not “if I win”. This is essential. If you don’t have the self-belief and confidence within yourself, how do you expect the universe to assist you in making your dream a reality?

Make a plan

Two yoga teachers based in Liverpool, Andrea Gatrill (Metal Monkey Yoga) and Carliann Langley (Peace Love Yoga UK), found themselves at a loose end at a recent New Year’s Day. At that time, Gatrill was eight months pregnant and close to giving birth, while Langley’s partner was working. Tired of the same old New Year antics the pair made a plan and decided to get together that day to do something a little bit different. The day involved lots of meditation and deep conversation and, as the day unfolded, the decision was made to make vision boards and manifest what they wanted for the year ahead. They said goodbye to negative traits that no longer served them by going through a process of writing them down on paper and proceeding to burn them as a way of saying goodbye and purging. In

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addition, they reflected on the real high points of the year and wrote down these achievements and expressed gratitude and thanks. The next step was to create vision boards of what they wanted for the year ahead, collecting different images that held symbolic meaning for them. Each listed their heart’s desires and set timelines as to when they wanted to achieve them. And so it turned out that that year proved to be their most productive, successful, happiest to date so far, so much so that the next year they wanted to expand, share and offer this ceremony to a small, intimate group of their yoga students. A small group of students brought their visions boards together earlier this year for a ceremony that turned out to be truly special. Half way through the year a review took place, an important step offering the ability to reflect on how each participant was progressing. To see the positive energy beaming out of everyone’s eyes and faces as they realised how much they had already achieved was a magical and rewarding experience. It validated how powerful the process is. Indeed, it’s such a positive and enriching experience being part of the journey of helping students and friends, keeping them motivated to achieve their goals and, just as importantly, be empowered by all that they have already achieved. So, with New Year’s Day fast approaching, why not host your own manifesting ceremony event this year. Set yourself up for the most positive year of your life through the power of a manifesting ceremony.

Ceremony details

Create a vision board This can be on a huge A1 sized board or it can be on an A4 piece of paper, the choice is yours. n Fill it with pictures/quotes/photos n Put yourself in some of the pictures Ask yourself these questions: n What is your goal? n How will you achieve it? n Why do you want it? n How will it enrich your life? You can set goals around health, wealth, career, relationships, families, personal yoga or fitness goals, places to travel to, the list is endless.

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Pick a date and time to host your ceremony and invite your students, friends and colleagues along to join in. There is tremendous power in amplifying what you want to manifest when you share your dreams aloud with a group. Maybe start your ceremony with a yoga or meditation practice. This will ground and focus your mind. Then, when everyone has their own notepad: n R eflect on the previous year, list goals you achieved, lessons you learned, things you are grateful for. Write it all down. n W rite two or three habits or beliefs that you want to release… then rip this page out and burn it (but do this safely with water close by!). n W rite down 10 highlights from the previous year, and share three of them aloud in your group. n D eclare and write down what you want for the year ahead and read them aloud to your group; these should match your vision board. n W rite down three goals you would like to achieve in six months time. Now take a break, maybe have some tea and relax with some yummy cake (raw or not, the choice is yours!), then close your ceremony with a meditation and set a date for your half-year review. Have a start date, a halfway/yearly review date and a conclusion date. Know that you may not achieve every single thing you set out to, but even if you achieve 50% of what you envisioned then what an amazing year you will have had. After the ceremony itself it is important to place your vision board up at home, somewhere you can look at it every day and feel the emotion attached to your goal or dream. Offer gratitude to what it is that you want before you have even received it. By doing this you are acknowledging to the universe that what you want is on its way to you already. We hold the power to create our own happy, fulfilling life. Don’t let the questioning intellect of the ego tell you that you can’t achieve what you want; ignore the ego, connect to the soul and you will be in a state of magnetic high vibrating attraction. Follow Carliann Langley (peaceloveyogauk) and Andrea Gatrill (metalmonkeyyoga) on Instagram and tag your 2017 manifesting ceremony pics with #manifestyourdreams2017 to amplify the power of manifesting your dreams


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YOGA AND VISION BOARDS HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN VISION BOARD. BY JO DE ROSA Yoga connects us to our bodies and minds and opens us up to our truth. On exiting the mat we can harness this authenticity using the vision board as a brilliant tool to channel the creativity that we just unlocked, and manifest the life of our dreams. Here are some quick tips to get you started. STEP ONE: KNOW Of course, we need to know what we want to manifest first, and straight after our practice we are tuned in to our truth and can ask ourselves, ‘where do I want to go in life?’. STEP TWO: VISUALISE This is where the actual vision board comes into play. Get yourself a large piece of paper/card and find images and words that correspond to what you have answered in the first step. Old magazines are perfect for this or find images on the internet, and arrange these pictures on the paper/card. STEP THREE: FEEL This is where most people falter, as they completely miss out these next three stages and wonder why their dreams are not manifesting. For us yogis this bit comes easy for we know how to feel and connect with our bodies and minds. The trick is to not get stuck in the ‘wanting’ to feel

something (love/happiness) as this is actually pushing it away. The universe hears ‘want’ not ‘have’ and this is exactly what is being manifested: more want. So, instead, play the future scenarios out in your head as if they were already happening; get used to what the approaching situation is going to feel like. STEP FOUR: BELIEVE Not only believe that your dreams are possible, but also that you deserve them, for you cannot experience something that you do not believe. This is about coming into alignment so if you can’t quite get there internally (in your mind), then your dream is not going to translate outwardly (in your life). The two have to be matched for anything to happen; can you see how much more subtle each of the stages become? Just like the eight limbs of yoga; we work on subtler and subtler levels as we progress. STEP FIVE: MEDITATE The last stage cements the first four and turns your frequency up to ‘receive’ mode. When we connect deep within ourselves during meditation we can adjust our beliefs around each area of our life and find true and genuine alignment with our dreams.

Jo De Rosa is creator of the Quantum Superpowers programme and founder and director of Inner Guidance Retreat Centre in Lavenham, UK (innerguidance.co.uk)

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Organic, juice-based range from a 1-day cleansing refresh to a full 5-day alkaline detox programme that includes a diet plan from an inhouse nutritionist. Each day’s pack contains six cold-pressed juices, created from fruit, vegetables, superfoods, seaweeds and veggie protein. Juice plans from 1 day, £65, to 3 Day, £180. dietox.uk

9BAR Subscription Service

Super seed brand 9BAR will now deliver its health bars direct to your door with its new subscription service. Various packs available (Adventure Pack, Foodie Pack, Curious Pack) and new offers discounts and benefits each month. Fortnightly (nine bars) £7.99 or monthly (32 bars) £19.99. 9BAR.com/subscription

Real Good Ketchup

Real Good Ketchup has just launched a new ketchup with 70% less sugars, made with 100% plant based ingredients, no added refined sugar (it’s made with Xylitol instead of sugar to sweeten it), and free from artificial flavourings, preservatives and sweeteners. Phew! Available in Whole Foods, Amazon and health food stores. £2.39 realgoodketchup.com

Moroccan Vegetable Tagine Soup

Warm your spirits with this new Moroccan Vegetable Tagine soup from Yorkshire Provender, a family business that uses only the best ingredients. A vegan-friendly soup that combines stacks of vegetables with herbs and spices for a really great taste. Find in Waitrose, Asda, Ocado, Co-op and other stores. £2.49 yorkshireprovender.co.uk

Virtue Sugar-Free Energy Drinks

Natural, sugar-free energy drinks. Refreshing, lightly flavoured sparkling energy waters in two initial flavours, Lemon & Lime and Berries. Contain zero sugar, zero calories and no sweeteners, with as much caffeine as a cup of coffee or a can of Red Bull (80mg). £1.35 per 250ml virtuedrinks.com

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om living STUDY DAY

DEPARTMENT OF CONTINUING EDUCATION

SATURDAY 29th APRIL 2017

MEDITATION AND YOGA: This Study Day will examine why yoga and meditation have become so popular now. Do these practices appeal to the iPhone-distracted generation of millennials in the way psychoanalysis did to the repressed Victorians? Or have they become a new religion for secular individuals, who believe that by practising them one becomes a fundamentally better human being – more self-aware, compassionate and peaceful, happier and even more productive?

RELIGIONS FOR THE 21st CENTURY?

JOIN: Swami Ambikananda: Yoga and Meditation ~ a new colonialism?

Dr. Miguel Farias: Can meditation make the world a better place?

Masoumeh S. Rahmain:

FOR MORE DETAILS GO TO:

Drifting through samsara: patterns of conversion and disaffiliation in the Vipassana Movement

www.TraditionalYoga.org/events

Connecting people through yoga.

specialisation

Rainbow Yoga Teacher Training offers a unique style of communal & interactive yoga. Our yoga is all about connections,celebrating life & bringing people together. Be prepared to practice & learn while laughing, dancing, & playing as you step off your individual yoga mat & join our yoga circle. We offer over 80 trainings each year around the world. To find your nearest training visit www.rainbowyogatraining.com

rainbow yoga

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om living

Love Chakra

Sarah Wilkinson, author of a new book, The Chakra Kitchen, shows how eating cake can actually help balance our chakras

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CROWN BROW THROAT HEART SOLAR PLEXUS SACRAL ROOT

AWAKEN YOUR PSYCHIC AND COGNITIVE ABILITIES This cake works primarily with the brow chakra to enhance intuition, psychic abilities, and cognitive function. The raw cacao and spices provide a stimulating kick to the chakra, but simultaneously the walnuts bring things back into balance so that you are not bouncing off the walls!

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om living

Raw Spiced Chocolate and Walnut Cake Method

SERVES 8–10 SPECIAL EQUIPMENT 7 in/18cm nonstick springform cake pan

Ingredients BASE: • 30g / 1/3 cup raw cacao nibs • 125g / 1 ¼ cups walnut halves, plus extra to decorate • 1½ tablespoons raw coconut oil, plus extra for greasing, melted and at room temperature • 2 tablespoons rice syrup • 3 teaspoons raw cacao powder • CAKE: • 100g / 3 ½ oz raw dark vegan chocolate • 1 teaspoon ground ginger • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon • ¾ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg • 1 /8 teaspoon cayenne pepper • 100g / 1 cup walnut halves • 100ml / 1/3 cup raw virgin coconut oil, melted and at room temperature • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder • Pinch of sea salt • 250g / 1 ¼ cups unsweetened soya yogurt or coconut yogurt

LITTLE SWEET BITES By amazing chance I forgot to use coconut oil in this recipe and it turned out just fine—what a bonus! The coconut milk provides enough fat content and, alongside the chia, helps to bind and moisten the cakes. These low GI cakes are suitable for diabetics and those on anticandida diets, and work predominantly with the sacral and solar plexus chakras.

1. Lightly grease the cake pan with coconut oil. 2. To make the base, place all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until well combined and of a granola-type consistency— you are aiming for some texture and crunch. Spoon the mixture into the base of the cake pan, spreading and pushing down with the back of a spoon until firmly in place. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. 3. To make the cake, break the chocolate into a small heatproof bowl. Bring a small amount of water to simmering point in the base of a small pan and place the bowl of chocolate over the pan, taking care that it does not to touch the water. 4. Stir until melted, but do not overheat as this is a raw cake. Turn off the heat, add the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne to the melted chocolate and stir to combine. Leave the bowl on top of the pan of water to keep the chocolate melted while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. 5. Finely grind the walnuts for the cake in a small blender and add to a food processor with the coconut oil, cacao powder, salt, and melted chocolate. Process well, then gradually add the yogurt and mix to a smooth consistency, being careful not to let it curdle. 6. Take the base out of the fridge and pour the cake mixture over the top, spreading it evenly using a spatula. Cover and place back in the fridge overnight. The next day, decorate the cake with walnut halves before serving. Keep the cake refrigerated and use within 4 days.

Coconut Snow Balls SERVES 10–12 (or less if you want more than one each!)

Ingredients SNOW BALLS: • 1 tablespoon white chia seeds • 80g / 2/3 cup coconut flour • 30g / ½ cup dried shredded coconut • 1 1/2 tablespoons xylitol/sweetener • 60ml / ¼ cup canned coconut milk • TO DECORATE: • 5 tablespoons filtered or mineral water • 1 ½ tablespoons xylitol/sweetener • 3 tablespoons dried shredded coconut

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CROWN BROW THROAT HEART SOLAR PLEXUS SACRAL ROOT

Place the chia seeds in a small bowl with 3 tablespoons water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. 2. Preheat the oven to 160ºC fan/180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4. 3. Mix the flour, shredded coconut, and xylitol together in a medium-size bowl.

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Gradually add the chia mixture and the coconut milk to the dry ingredients, mixing until it reaches a sticky consistency. If the mixture doesn’t bind together, add a little more coconut milk. Take a small amount of the mixture in your hand and roll into a ball 4cm in diameter (if the mixture is very sticky, it may help to dampen your hands), then place on a nonstick baking sheet, continuing until you have made 10–12 snowballs. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the cakes for 15–20 minutes—you don’t want them to go brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile, make a syrup for decoration. Place the water and xylitol in a small pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a minute. Leave to cool. Take each cooled snow ball and brush a little of the syrup all over, then dip into shredded coconut. Leave for a few minutes to dry, then enjoy!

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om living BOOST YOUR CREATIVITY AND CENTRE OF POWER During the winter months mandarins are so sweet and tasty, and moist polenta cakes are such a great way to enjoy gluten-free baking. The sacral and solar plexus chakras are predominantly stimulated in the recipe, with the hint of thyme activating the heart and brow.

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CROWN BROW THROAT HEART SOLAR PLEXUS SACRAL ROOT

Mandarin and Thyme Polenta Cake SERVES 8 SPECIAL EQUIPMENT 7 in/18cm nonstick springform cake pan

Ingredients • • • • • • • • • •

3 tablespoons golden ground flaxseed 180ml / ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing 120ml / ½ cup rice syrup 200g / 2 cups ground almonds 175g / 1 cup polenta 3 teaspoons baking powder 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs to decorate 6 large mandarins chopped almonds, to decorate

Method 1. Place the flaxseed in a bowl with ó cup/135ml water and leave to swell for 10 minutes. 2. Preheat the oven to 160ºC fan/180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 3. Lightly grease the cake pan with olive oil. 3. Mix the oil and three-quarters of the rice syrup together in a large mixing bowl, then beat in the flaxseed mixture. Stir in the ground almonds and fold in the polenta, baking powder, and thyme. Add the zest and juice of four of the mandarins and mix thoroughly. Add the remaining rice syrup if the mixture is too dry. 4. Transfer the mixture to the cake pan. Peel and slice the two remaining mandarins and carefully place the rounds on top of the cake. 5. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 1¼ hours. Remove the cake and cool on a wire rack. Decorate the top with thyme sprigs and chopped almonds. The Chakra Kitchen by Sarah Wilkinson, published by CICO Books. Photography by Adrian Lawrence. CICO Books. RRP £14.99

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om living

“That Protein” Snackers Bars MAKES 6/8 bars

Ingredients CREAMY LAYER: • 5/6 pitted dates • 3tbsp crunchy peanut butter • 3 tbsp water • Pinch of Himalayan salt • 2 tablespoons coconut oil COOKIE LAYER: • 100g coconut flour • 100g almond flour • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil • 80g brown rice syrup • Pinch of Himalayan salt • CHOCOLATE LAYER: • 100ml melted coconut oil • 2 tablespoons of That Protein’s Blissful Brown Rice and Raw Cacao Super Protein • 80g brown rice syrup • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

This energising high protein bar is made using That Protein’s Blissful Brown Rice and Raw Cacao Super Protein which is organic and dairy free, high in protein, fibre and antioxidants. Raw cacao is a wonderful and nutritional way to get a healthy chocolate hit and is known as the “Food of the Gods” for a reason! A treat that is properly good for you with no refined sugar. You can buy online at thatprotein.com as well as in healthfood shops free delivery available

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To make the creamy layer soak the dates in warm water for 10 minutes, then blend all ingredients until relatively smoother and considerably thicker. Set aside. To make the cookie layer, stir together the ingredients until slightly crumbly and moist - make sure it sticks together and press into the bottom of a parchment lined baking pan. Place in the freezer for 30 mins or more. Once it’s done, spread the cream evenly onto the cookie layer and place back in the freezer until solid. It will take a couple hours to harden up. To make the chocolate layer whisk the ingredients together until you have liquid chocolate. Then proceed to take your caramel-cookie creation out of the freezer and slice into bars. We recommend dipping the bars in chocolate before letting them harden for 30/40 mins in the freezer - just remember the parchment paper.

READER GIVEAWAY

That Protein is giving away x 3 packs of their energising Happy Happy Hemp and Baobab (worth £45) to 10 lucky readers. This energising cold pressed and organic powder helps reduce tiredness and fatigue replenish muscles and support immune function as well as helping collagen production for great skin – all in a totally natural way with nothing added except the raw plant goodness. What better way to be energised and fabulous for the Festive season! To enter, please visit: ommagazine.com/thatprotein

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om living Nutrition Zone:

Gut ready for Christmas

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Get your gut ready for Christmas with these festive digestive tips

he party season is looming so get your gut in shape. Unfortunately, a body that looks great on the outside doesn’t necessarily mean it’s functioning well on the inside. So if your digestive system is already on the delicate side or you’re prone to bloating or gas, it’s

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time to prepare your inner eco-sytem for the festive onslaught. London-based consultant dietitian Emer Delaney says Christmas can be a really hard time to maintain digestive health balance with late nights, alcohol and rich, fatty foods, not to mention stress. “For most of us, the festive season is a time to put healthy eating regimes on hold, have fun

and indulge ourselves. However, rich foods, high sugar, alcohol and the wrong types of fat can disrupt the ecology of our gut causing digestive problems such as bloating, trapped wind and gas. No one enjoys being bloated, but the condition seems to come hand-in-hand with the festive period and everyone can benefit from getting their


om living

are some simple ways you can improve your inner ecology in the run-up to Christmas:

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Swap the latte for a fennel tea. Clinical studies have shown that drinking 2-3 cups of fennel tea every day can help regulate contractions of the small intestine and gas expulsion too. Fennel also relaxes the gut, which can help relieve GI tract spasms.

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Strengthen your inner ecosystem by eating pickled vegetables. A daily spoonful of pickled vegetables are really good for your gut. They’re rich in enzymes, vitamins and nutrients and help to balance your inner ecosystem and enhance digestion. Vegetables are very easy to ferment and you can experiment with different combinations, even adding a Christmas twist.

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Eliminate sugary, carbonated drinks. Studies show that drinks with high levels of sugar or containing artificial sweeteners can change how your gut bacteria metabolises energy. They can also trigger an inflammatory response altering the good bacteria and yeast living in your digestive tract.

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Try a good quality probiotic supplement. The best way to support gut health is to introduce probiotics. There are many different types on the market but only a handful are supported by sound clinical evidence. One Delaney recommends to her patients is Alflorex (alflorexbiotics.com, £29.95), a food supplement containing the unique 35624 culture. This has been clinically studied in IBS patients and has been shown to increase regularity, decrease gas and bloating and help prevent constipation and diarrhoea.

5 digestive system prepared.” However, the digestive system is not affected by diet alone but can also be disrupted by stress, emotional upset and anxiety all of which tend to be in abundance at this time of the year. Stress triggers a change in pH levels (the acid/ alkaline balance) of the digestive tract

leading to an overgrowth of harmful organisms such as unfriendly bacteria, yeast (candida) and protozoa which can lead to diarrhoea, constipation, bloating and painful trapped wind. Fortunately, there’s mounting evidence that a healthy ecosystem of gut bacteria can bring a wide range of health benefits. Here

Watch your alcohol intake. At this time of year, it’s so easy to indulge in the celebrations. Remember that drinking alcohol excessively can reduce the number of healthy bacteria in your digestive tract. Alcohol is also a real irritant to the gut and can contribute to GI symptoms such as bloating and diarrhoea. Make sure to have some alcohol free days over Christmas and alternate your drinks with non-alcoholic varieties or perhaps choose wine spritzers instead of wine.

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om family Concious Parenting

Let the children

decide

Guide your children to a healthy lifestyle but ultimately the way they choose to live must be their own free decision. By Siri Arti

O

ur kitchen has seen a vast combination of foods over the years. Being vegetarian, I happily raised my children this way up to the age of three. For those first sweet years, I lived in London and ran a popular nursery school merging the Montessori method with lots of yummy veggie food. My intention was to raise optimally developed children (an experiment that is still paying off!). The parents called it,’The Broccoli Club’ and marvelled as their toddlers sat

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down eagerly awaiting meals of sweet potato mash and lentil moussaka, amongst many other homemade veg-based delicacies. Children’s teeth cut through between the ages of one and three, with the second set of molars the last to appear. The digestive enzymes for breaking down meat arrive with the molars, so it is advisable to avoid meat before this genius system is fully set up. From three years old, I gave my own children the choice to eat what they wanted, within reason of course. Hiding from the

judgement of my veggie friends, I spent my spare time sourcing organic free-range meat and fish for my healthy vibrant children. I never wanted them to say that I forced them into a lifestyle without a choice. We lived a happy life, attending yoga festivals, kirtan evenings, chasing joy and building community. Primarily a vegetarian lifestyle, but still I cooked them regular nonvegetarian dishes to keep a balance and protect myself from later accusations of ‘forced vegetarianism’.


om family “Letting children choose is my preferred way of raising them. It empowers them to know what is right for them, and if it isn’t, they learn soon enough. It makes them think things through, explore options and make changes.” I did a silent victory dance, then turned my attention to her lecture on endangered species, pollution and stupidity of the basic human. She was passionate. Never looked back, never ate another ‘happy pig’ bacon sandwich and, more than that, she has inspired me to follow suit. We are transitioning from vegetarianism to veganism, from plastic to glass, from clutter to Zen living. She has the abundant energy I used to have, and is bringing me back to life with her light.

Finding balance

My son works hard to maintain his carnivorous status in our family, and strongly defends his case. I respect him for that and can still be found hunting for hormone-free meat, and getting up early to visit organic markets in search of products that won’t bring nastiness to his growing body. Letting children choose is my preferred way of raising them. It empowers them to know what is right for them, and if it isn’t, they learn soon enough. It makes them think things through, explore options and make changes. It means that when they choose something themselves, there is substance behind it. Of course, they can also make bad choices, so let’s keep it real and love them regardless. * Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organisation. Siri Arti is the founder of Starchild Yoga Teacher Training, an education for peace. For details of courses and trainings please visit: starchildyoga.org

Eureka moment

Six months ago, my teenage daughter attended a talk by a Sea Shepherd* captain who lives in the area. He presented a slide show to her school, showing the extent of plastic pollution damage on marine wildlife and unashamedly stated that it is humanity’s obligation to become vegan and fast. May daughter called me to say: “As of this very moment, I choose never to eat meat again. Do you even understand the effect farming has on the planet?” (Mmm, yes, I think I do!).

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om actions

The

Sacred Space Karla Dascal, one of the founders of Miami’s new $10 million centre for wellness and conscious living, tells OM how yoga, mindfulness and other holistic therapies turned her life around

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he Sacred Space Miami (TSSM) is a new destination for conscious living in Florida. Opened in October this year by Karla Dascal, it’s the result of her own personal journey to fashion a modern campus for mind, body and spirit. The $10 million health centre brings together the latest in holistic living, wellness education and plant-based cuisine to south Florida, and is located in Miami’s iconic Wynwood neighborhood. Designed by award-winning architect Rene Gonzalez, the space channels Miami’s architecture-and-design revolution, integrating gorgeous aesthetics with wellness, and also brings in an amazing culinary component from celebrity chef Matthew Kenney. Behind it all though is Dascal herself, one of the top event and wedding producers in the USA, who made TSSM a reality alongside her co-founder, Chira Cassel. The whole concept is the result of Dascal’s own transformative journey and lifelong battle with anxiety, depression and diabetes. After a decade of travel to meet the world’s top yogis, energy healers, acupuncturists and spiritual teachers, she sees the centre as a vehicle for guests to find the same sense of renewal that once saved her own life.

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Centre for wellness

“The Sacred Space is a culmination of my 11-year personal journey into mindful and holistic living,” she tells OM. “My goal is to help a lot of people and offer our community a centre for holistic transformation. The Sacred Space is an oasis of peace and tranquility in the heart of the city of Miami. I want people that enter the space to feel the energy and see the beauty, and allow them to instantly feel peaceful and inspired by simply setting foot on the grounds.” She adds: “This sets the tone for what you can experience once here – whether having a plant-based meal with friends at Plant Food + Wine, or attending a Shamanic Journey or transformational workshop. When you feel a sense of connection with the environment, it’s easier to open your mind and heart to learning and growth.” It’s certainly a beautiful, modern and peaceful setting for learning and all things wellness, spanning 36,000 square feet of gorgeous indoor and outdoor space. The urban sanctuary boasts lush meditation

gardens, outdoor lounges, the city’s first elevated raw food restaurant, a classically structured vegan culinary academy along with warm, contemporary event spaces dedicated to holistic living, wellness education, self growth, empowerment and celebrations. And there’s something for everyone too with a full roster of workshops, retreats and treatments. As well as yoga and meditation, you’ll find Prayerdanse, empowerment and self-growth retreats, women’s circles, sound therapy practices, essential oil healing experiences, holistic nutrition courses, spiritual ceremonies, lectures from integrative and functional medicine doctors, energetic healing, as well as conscious networking and social events.

Living in the moment

Dascal hopes to guide and support others in their journey to health and wellness, and to share some of her own vast experience gleaned over the past decade or so. “Living consciously and mindfully has


om actions changed my life in every single facet – literally,” she says. “Most of my life I struggled with obesity and diabetes and was living a completely different lifestyle with a mindset quite different from today. It was not until 11 years ago when I embarked on a path of conscious living that I truly felt happy and comfortable in my own mind, body and spirit. The change was on a cellular level.” A key part of this healing journey was an appreciation of mindfulness, now an increasingly popular and accessible tool in the west for people to manage stress levels and remain calm and balanced. “Mindfulness is vigilant awareness of being in the present moment. So often we live in the past and future and, do you know what exists there? Suffering. Being aware is living in the moment, and that’s the only place that exists. It’s really about savouring the present moment - the now.”

“The whole concept is the result of Dascal’s own transformative journey and lifelong battle with anxiety, depression and diabetes.” Certainly, the centre’s magnificent garden offers a real sanctuary for city dwellers, and the chance to reconnect with the natural world. It includes a multi-use private lawn area for meditations, yoga events and conscious cinema screenings. The luxury destination also includes Flow, TSSM’s signature boutique, showcasing exclusive jewellery, crystals, fitness apparel, books, art, and more, to entice visitors to bring the sacred home. It’s a grand and impressive project, though the owners clearly have more big plans for the future, including the addition of a small boutique hotel on the campus for people attending retreats and the visiting mindful community. “I want the Sacred Space Miami to be a go-to epicentre for personal growth, introducing the technology of awareness going into a holistic, integrative approach,” says Dascal. “The mindful community around the world – and in Miami – is rapidly growing. There is always room for mindfulness and The Sacred Space is poised for growth and expansion along with our growing community.” Find out more about The Sacred Space Miami at: thesacredspacemiami.com

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om actions

TRUST THE PROCESS Geni Ebbetts describes her journey from further education teacher to yoga teacher. Now the proud owner of her own yoga studio, she says it’s important to follow your intuition and to trust the process

“M

y teacher training was a truly amazing journey of self-discovery” has become a bit of a cliché; something that everyone who ever learns to teach yoga feels compelled to say. The only thing is, it’s not until you actually start the process that you realise it’s true and now I find myself saying the exact same thing to anyone who will listen. It was so

great to be taught by an incredible teacher (Claire Murphy), and be surrounded by a truly awesome group of fellow students. Even so, right up to the day before I taught my first class I was adamant that I would never teach a yoga class. I just didn’t have the confidence to do it, which is bizarre as whilst most who feel this way hate the thought of standing up in front of a group of people I had spent the last 20 years doing precisely that most days teaching in further education.

something had to give and after nearly a year of teaching yoga in the evenings and at weekends I realised I just couldn’t do my day job anymore, it was too much at odds with me. I stopped talking about why I couldn’t do what I wanted and from Christmas 2015 I started telling everyone that I was going to open a yoga studio. I knew it was radical, I could tell by some of the reactions I got, but it was out there in the universe, I had put it out there. I designed a logo and showed it to anyone who came close enough.

Moving forward

My Sankalpa

Long story short, just after qualifying I found myself in front of a class at the local leisure centre, smashed it and loved it. That was the start of this particular part of my journey. I realised when I was with my yoga students I was just able to be myself, that was where I was meant to be, my Dharma if you like. On the downside of this, I struggled with how diminished I was in my day job. So,

“Right up to the day before I taught my first class I was adamant that I would never teach a yoga class.” 104

With my intention out there I started to feel that I was being guided. My inspiration led me to read The Four Desires by Rod Stryker, which became the workbook for what I wanted for my future. I was challenged to face up to what I really wanted as well as the things I allowed to get in my way. I set a Sankalpa, which I’m still working with today: The Heart Yoga Space thrives; I am inspired and love every second of every day. I wrote it on a post-it and put it on my PC at work after I’d handed in my resignation and every time I doubted what I was doing I repeated it to myself; I used it in my self practice and during Yoga Nidra. I held a clear picture in my mind of exactly what my future studio, The Heart Yoga Space, looked like and called


om actions it to mind so often it became real before it actually became a reality. Through a post on Facebook I was lead to Rebecca Campbell’s book Light is the New Black which helped me see that my light was needed in the world and gave me faith in the concept that if I took the leap the universe would guide and support me. It was my inspiration for countless yoga classes and the start of my Pinterest board full of images of colour and detail, the inspiration for the look of the studio.

Little miracles

I discovered, as my reading journey continued with the work of Gabrielle Bernstein, that I could surrender my fear at anytime and call upon my inner guide for support. I’m still not really sure I understand who, where or what provides this guidance, but boy oh boy is it there whenever I needed it. My personal practice shifted from one based on physical expression through asana to one more or less totally based on prayer and meditation. Every day I sat, surrendered and waited for guidance, I was never disappointed. On one particular day after giving thanks for all those I loved, I came out of my meditation with a clear message: if you love them, tell them - so I did (by text). Out of this gratitude and love came my studio. In the conversation that followed my ‘I love you’ message, my sister

let me know that a friend of hers who had opened a studio in Milton Keynes wanted to follow a direction closer to her heart, so the opportunity opened to take over a premises with the correct planning permission already in use as a yoga studio. After searching and failing to find affordable property, this was a miracle. In the space of a few days I went from being nowhere close to having premises or funding, to everything just falling in to place. It is true miracles are possible. If you show up with positive intention for good, your intention really can become your reality.

Heart spaces

My studio is called The Heart Yoga Space because the idea came from my heart and out of the love and support of those who are dearest to me, as well as the universe, which has been there for me at every turn. All the way through as I considered, offered up and talked about my plans my overwhelming desire has been to produce a warm, welcoming and unpretentious space that allows people to develop their practice and themselves regardless of who they are and what part of their journey they are on. I have not done this alone and have been honoured to be supported by my family and friends who have trusted my intuition and helped me achieve my vision. My sister and I stood

in the doorway at 1.30am on the morning we opened and she said to me, “You’ve done it”. As I looked around, it was exactly what I’d seen so many times as I meditated. I’m so proud with what we’ve achieved and so grateful to all who have been involved.

Trust the process

I am not saying that this journey has been stress-free (that really would be a charmed life) or that everything is going to be plain sailing as we become established, but when class numbers are small I surrender my fears and trust that I have been lead this far for a reason. I take comfort in knowing that even those studios that inspire me started somewhere. Already I feel totally blessed to be around people who are drawn to our little slice of colour, our haven from the day-to-day, who bring their presence, their expectations and their authenticity and join our Sangha. I have no idea where this journey leads, but I am trusting, leaning in and enjoying the adventure with an open heart, totally grateful for all the love and support I have and trusting that The Heart Yoga Space is part of the plan. Geni Ebbetts is a yoga teacher and owner of The Heart Yoga Space, Milton Keynes (theheartyogaspace.co.uk)

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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: Emma Ross Age: 37 Location: Aberdeen, Scotland Training: HPY (Hot Power Yoga, London). BTAA (Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia) Specialism: Hot yoga, Bowen Therapy

Describe yourself as a colour Bright yellow - it’s the colour of the sun and sunflowers and it makes me smile - but sometimes I can be an explosion in a paint factory, many colours. You will never see me turn up to a yoga class in black; I wear multi-colours. Best part of the day A lovely experience on the days I teach is when the class is almost finished: we’ve held the space together for an hour or so, then it’s time to relax and sink into our individual space. A certain vibe spreads in the room. So, at the end of a yoga lesson is my best part of the day. Favourite meal My favourite meal is meze or tapas as you can just have little samplers of each dish and share them, so it’s very social food and I love homemade hummus and baba ganoush. Thrills and spills Most recently, the roller coaster ride in Universal Studios, Florida. It’s so much fun! It takes you on a thrilling ride for just one minute and then it’s over so my dad and I (we are big kids!) repeated the ride six times because we had so much fun.

Favourite film Serendipity: it’s an oldie romcom and feel good film starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. I also love Pitch Perfect and anything that has lots of music and dance in it. Also Sister Act is one I can watch again and again. Favourite book For the past two years I’ve been concentrating on anatomy and yoga books and research; I have not read a novel in ages. Actually, I did start to read ‘A Short Course In Miracles’, although it’s more of a self-transformational book. Secret escape I live very close to a beach and so really do not feel the need to escape anywhere. I walk out of my gate, turn right and am at the mouth of the River Don, which is fantastic. I’ve lived in Donmouth for just over a year and fell in love with the vibe of the house straight away. Someone who has inspired you When I was younger I definitely wanted to be like my dad, as he could do everything and he is still the person I phone to this day if I am stuck. My mum is the calming influence and inspiring in her own right too. She trained as a nurse, brought all three of us up and now works with me running a small Bowen Therapy practice . Cannot live without I think this has to be music. I would be lost if I didn’t have music to lift my spirits, motivate me and keep me going. It’s also great to relax to. I love putting on jazz when I’m cooking a meal on a Friday night although I love all music genres.

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Teacher zone

A deeper understanding of yoga... for teachers, by teachers

Inside: Page 108: The Yoga Standards Controversy Page 114: Teacher’s Tales

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Teacher zone

The yoga standards controversy

A review to work towards National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Hatha yoga teachers in the UK – which is being part-funded by the British Wheel of Yoga – has caused quite a storm. Here, we invite a number of different yoga schools and organisations to have their say What’s it all about?

We invited Skills Active to put forward some guidance or an introduction on the NOS topic exclusively for OM readers. Unfortunately, because of the volume of enquiries it has had to deal with on the matter since the NOS initiative was launched, the organisation was unable to offer any specific comment or article. Instead, we are summarising a few key points from the proposals as outlined in the initial Skills Active review document, from Caroline Larissey, its head of standards and qualifications:

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The Sector Skills Council for Active Leisure, Learning and Wellbeing Skills Active 8, Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London SW1X 7SH Email: Skills@skillsactive.com Web: www.skillsactive.com 23 September 2016

To whom it may concern

Re: Yoga National Occupational Standards SkillsActive is the Sector Skills Council for Active Leisure, Learning and Wellbeing; licenced and officially recognised by Government. Sector Skills Councils are independent, employer-led, UK-wide organisations and are committed to working in partnership across the four nations to create the conditions for increased

employer investment in skills which will drive enterprise, create jobs and lead to sustainable economic growth. National Occupational Standards (NOS) describe the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to undertake a particular task or job to a nationally recognised level of competence. National Occupational Standards are benchmarks of performance. They provide the means for assessing performance in a job: they are work-related statements of the ability, knowledge, understanding and experience that an individual should have to carry out key tasks effectively. Anyone in an occupation covered by NOS can use them to determine what level of competence is required and more importantly whether


Teacher zone their own performance meets that industry or sector (‘industry or sector’ is used here to refer to the breadth of yogic practices and potential stakeholders. It is a common term or descriptor used within the NOS development process and is not meant to control or pigeonhole individuals and their practices and beliefs) expectation. The Development of any National Occupational Standard goes through a rigorous research, development, consultation and refinement process that is agreed by an industry led Steering Group and Government office in all four nations across the UK. The initial approach for the development of a set of NOS for Hatha yoga teachers was driven by several aspects: n  request from the sector to set a benchmark for the teaching of Hatha yoga n  confusion of insurance providers regarding the standards for yoga practice and what could be insured n c  onfusion from training providers regarding the correct qualification required by the sector n n  eed for standards that set a minimum level of experience/skills that ensure safe practice in teaching hatha yoga, preventing the risk of injury to participants n request for consistency of standards for teaching Hatha yoga, across the UK to provide a clear benchmark for entry on to the SkillsActive Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) We would like to emphasise that it is not the practice of yoga and its many approaches and philosophies that are being sought to be standardised. The NOS review will only cover the teaching of the pillars of Hatha yoga. As it is stated in the footnotes below, [not shown here] it is not meant to control or pigeonhole individuals and their practices and beliefs. The principle behind the approach to develop NOS is to establish an agreed core of fundamental skills with which to teach Hatha yoga; not what you teach. Likewise, it is appreciated that we are all individuals and this process should not be seen as trying to turn out teachers who are regimented in their teaching methods, delivery and approaches. We would like to draw upon a past example to illustrate how NOS development has worked in another sector, with a similar diversity of complexities, methodologies and applications; that of Sports Coaching. A whole host of sports covering swimming, tennis, water polo, synchronised swimming, rugby, hockey etc. all use the Sports Coaching NOS, to base their practice

The first introduction of the NOS topic in OM was via a letter from the British Wheel of Yoga in our October issue. We’ve included it below for easy reference. A follow up from the BWY outlining its position on the standards Teacher zone initiative can be seen on the next page:

Yoga standards Paul Fox highlights proposals by Skills Active, the sector skills council for active leisure, learning and wellbeing, to develop national occupational Standards for Yoga

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he announcement that National Occupational Standards for Yoga are being developed and due to be rolled out in the second half of next year has caused a ripple of concern and head scratching in the UK yoga community. Why is this being done? And by whom? The sector skills council for active leisure, learning and wellbeing – Skills Active – began the initiative in June. Skills Active has no expert knowledge of yoga, but it knows a great deal about drawing up National Occupational Standards, or NOS. They provide a baseline and a benchmark on which minimum standards of training can be based. We believe it would be a good thing for there to be an agreed national minimum standard for yoga teaching in order to reassure the public and to help them choose well-trained yoga teachers, from whichever school they may have qualified with. However, the contents of the NOS will not be up to any one organisation. Every yoga school, group and enthusiast in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is being invited to participate in the standards process. The reason why experts believe that NOS will work for yoga is that most Hatha classes in this country involve some or all of the following elements:

Initial centering

Basic breathing or pranayama The mobilisation of key joints and activation of major muscle groups Specific preparation for “peak” posture or sequence Counter-pose and winding down Inversion Relaxation (and perhaps also meditation). In order to teach these elements of a Hatha yoga class, we all might expect a teacher to have: n Knowledge and understanding of how the body works so that postures can be modified for the less able and for a range of common conditions, such as arthritis, high blood pressure or lower back pain. n Knowledge and understanding of a good range of asanas and their benefits and effects on the body. Postures to include: forward bends, back-bends, side bends, twists, balances and inversions. n Knowledge and understanding of relaxation, its effects on the mind and nervous system, and relaxation techniques to use in class. n Knowledge and understanding of pranayama techniques, simple hasta mudras, bandhas and practices for concentration/meditation n Knowledge and understanding of the theory and philosophy underlying yoga, such as Patanjali’s sutras and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika

HAVE yOUR SAy

The British Wheel of yoga encourages all yoga teachers, groups, schools and other relevant agencies and organisations to have their input during this important time. To have your say, visit the Skills Active website: skillsactive.com

If yoga teachers were trained in these areas (as many already are) it wouldn’t mean that all yoga classes would be the same. There is still infinite scope for breadth and variety of tradition.

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upon. Each professional sports coach uses OM_65.indd 115 their own disciplines and approaches with which to coach individuals and they modify their approach to suit each individual they coach, however; they all base their coaching approach upon that of the core Sports Coaching NOS. We respectfully ask you to consider the opportunity of drawing a parallel between this example of adaptation and tailoring how this could be applied to the NOS proposed for teaching Hatha yoga. It is early days in this review and development process and SkillsActive are acting as facilitators, but this process is ultimately led by employers, partner

organisations and industry experts within the 06/09/2016 12:29:43 practice of Hatha yoga. The process aims to be transparent and accessible, recognising and respecting the diversity of backgrounds, culture and traditions of practising yoga. The NOS development process is to be focused on the teaching of hatha yoga, which has no religious bias, goal or aim, thereby promoting yoga in an inclusive way that is open to all religions and not confined to one.

Kind regards, Caroline Larissey Head of Standards & Qualifications 109


Teacher zone VIEWPOINT 1:

Traditional Yoga Association Yoga has been evolving for over 5,000 years of written Indian history – fragments of art left behind indicate it’s even older than that. The Katha Upanishad, part of the Hindu Vedanta, is the oldest surviving text on the teaching of yoga. It depicts a young seeker in a dialogue with Death – the first recorded teacher of the art and science of yoga, which is now practiced in fitness centres, studios and community halls globally. During the growth of this mighty yoga tree, numerous schools and lineages became established, some leaving written texts, others passing on traditions orally. This evolution is now threatened as a quasi-government organisation seeks to create a National Occupational Standard for teaching yoga. When powerful organisations seek control, they always say it’s to ‘protect the public’ and ‘keep them safe’. We must question this. Are these not the claims put forward by any group seeking to impose its authority and undermine all other groups existing alongside it? A brief survey of insurers will confirm that yoga has by far fewer claims and injuries than other movement disciplines. Therefore, is it protection or protectionism that this ‘setting standards’ is serving? Can we not, as teachers, rely on the canniness of consumers? If they don’t like one class, they’ll quickly migrate to another. An article by the British Wheel of Yoga that appeared in the October issue of OM [see page 109] attempted to reassure readers that there is no plan for standardising all yoga teaching – and then proceeded to tell us how it will be standardised. Let

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us not be misled by illusions of transparency and inevitability. While yoga has evolved to reflect today’s emphasis on physical wellbeing, it remains what it has always been: the ancient path of Hindu mysticism. Now that yoga has become big business, any plan to misrepresent and re-package it for the fitness industry will be seen and opposed for what it is: a project to compel a spiritual tradition to submit to quasi-government regulation of its philosophy and practices. The same Hindu scriptures from which yoga emerged gave us a metaphor that is pertinent to the present situation. Coming from the Atharva Veda, it is a profound cosmological vision illustrating the interdependence of all things, in which the universe appears as a great net woven by the god Indra that extends in all directions infinitely. At each node of the net is a jewel reflecting all the other jewels; the condition of one node is reflected in all the other nodes endlessly. Rather than different yoga schools reflecting one another, a National Occupational Standard means that only one image of yoga will subsume all others. Instead, can we step back from this precipice and ask who is really being served, and how can we better reflect and support each other as we connect ourselves and our students to the organic, intrinsic wisdom that yoga calls us to in its ancient tradition? Swami Ambikananda Saraswati, chair, Traditional Yoga Association (traditionalyoga.org)


Teacher zone VIEWPOINT 3:

VIEWPOINT 2:

British Wheel of Yoga How can we ensure that people who attend yoga classes in the UK can do so, confident that they will be cared for and kept safe by a well-trained yoga teacher? This is the question at the heart of the standards debate currently taking place. Every yoga teacher has a duty of care to the students they teach. They must know how to modify postures for people who attend their classes with a range of common conditions, such as lower back pain, arthritis, injury or pregnancy. The first moral principle of yoga - Ahimsa (non-violence) - is the yogic equivalent of the saying derived from the Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors: first do no harm. In order to be able to teach yoga safely and with a reasonable level of expertise, it goes without saying that the yoga teacher must receive adequate training and have achieved competencies in some obvious areas: n K  nowledge of how the body works, including muscles and joints. n T  he ability to understand the joint actions and forces in a range of yoga asanas, so that they can be methodically prepared for (and modified for those who cannot or should not do the full form of the pose). n T  he skill to teach breathing and relaxation. n K  nowledge of the yoga tradition, philosophy and the benefits of practice. n T  he ability to plan a well-balanced yoga class and a series of classes. One way to encourage the above to happen would be to make yoga teaching a regulated profession, like doctors and nurses. This is not an option that anyone has put forward, and is not supported by BWY. A second option is to leave self-regulation in place, but encourage the yoga community to support and aspire to a set of minimum standards. That is what Skills Active hopes to achieve by its initiative on National Occupational Standards (NOS). It is important to note that the NOS will not be compulsory and this path is not regulation. Yoga schools will be free to ignore them. Some have tried to equate standards with standardisation. This is a red herring. The NOS will cover basic skills and competencies that all yoga teachers should have, and will not prevent every yoga tradition and every style of yoga currently taught from continuing. Everyone in the UK yoga community in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland has been invited to contribute to the drawing up of the NOS. It is up to all of us to get around the table and produce these minimum standards that will protect the public and encourage yoga teacher training organisations to attain the NOS on their courses. At the moment members of the public have no simple way of knowing if their yoga teacher has undergone a thorough teacher training, or has set themselves up after a wholly inadequate (often very short) course. The NOS is a small step to establish a quality mark for yoga teaching - to protect the yoga student, and the person thinking of becoming a yoga teacher. Paul Fox, chair of British Wheel of Yoga (bwy.org.uk)

Yoga Alliance Professionals The proposed National Occupational Standards is an initiative of Skills Active, a charity with several commercial subsidiaries working across seven sectors (sport, fitness, outdoors, playwork, caravans, hair and beauty). We have met this organisation before in the guise of the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPS), which attempted to regulate yoga teaching in fitness centres, with mixed success. Initially, we did look into cooperating with REPS, but later dismissed the idea when we realised, in our view, their poor standards. Presumably, Skills Active now want to expand their horizons by attempting to regulate all yoga teaching, both inside and outside of the fitness industry. The significance of this, Dear Teacher, Trainer or Studio, is that you will be expected to join their register for an annual membership fee. However, on a positive note, the head of standards and qualifications at Skills Active, Caroline Larissey, has assured us that the NOS guidelines would be a benchmark for good practice in teaching and are not compulsory for yoga teachers to abide by. She also stressed that the standards are based more on the minimum duties of a yoga teacher to do their job, and have less to do with what they are teaching. But there is some contradiction in this when Skills Active states in its outline of the initiative: “The NOS review will only cover the teaching of the pillars of Hatha yoga.” This is reinforced further by a spokesperson for the British Wheel of Yoga who (in a previous article in OM) goes as far as to list the topics he considers vital to teach yoga effectively. So just who is behind this review? More from the Skills Active review notes: “As part of this work we will be completing both Steering group and Expert Working group meetings alongside holding a UK-wide consultation.” Now, Yoga Alliance Professionals is the biggest accrediting organisation for teacher training courses in the UK, and yet we have never been contacted. We have asked who exactly makes up this ‘expert working group’ and have had no response. Repeated requests for more information have been met with silence. It sounds like a secret society with a less than transparent agenda. Finally, again from Skills Active: “The initial approach for the development of a set of NOS for Hatha Yoga teachers was driven by several aspects.” These include a “request from the sector to set a benchmark for the teaching of Hatha Yoga.” What exactly is ‘the sector’? Who requested this? Stand up please and make yourself known, if you dare. Brian Cooper, Head of Policy at Yoga Alliance Professionals (yogaallianceprofessionals.org)

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Teacher zone VIEWPOINT 4:

A view from the insurance industry What follows is a comment from an insurance point of view following suggestion that the insurance market needed regulation along the lines proposed. After an analysis of the ‘level of risk’ presented by yogis and yoginis to insurers there were just two areas that we looked at twice. One was hot yoga where there have been some incidents. The other was mindfulness which can produce unpleasant reactions in some. After some considerable deliberation, we have elected to levy the same premium for those practices as we do for all others under the name ‘yoga’. I can confirm that there is no insurance issue with understanding the principles of yoga or the qualification (by experience or certification) of those who teach it. Generally speaking, we are now more interested in ‘who provides the teacher’s training and their experience’ rather than an out-of-date certificate. (The cost of maintaining CPD - or continuous professional development - is another money making opportunity for those who wish to take advantage. It is a disincentive to many: especially those who do not look to earn out of yoga – and there are many!). Perhaps, more importantly, we will happily provide insurance to those with no certification but suitable evidence of experience. It might also be worthwhile noting that recent claims presented to us bear little correlation to certification or qualification.

VIEWPOINT 5:

Independent Yoga Network I am against the institution of a National Occupational Standard (NOS) for a yoga teacher because: [a] It offends my religious sensibilities and those of many others. The private, spiritual matter of practicing and sharing yoga should not be interfered with by what is, in effect, a government quango and this is a freedom guaranteed by the Human Rights Act 1998, Article 9. The idea that the NOS can be innocent in this respect if somehow the spiritual aspects are peeled off, which is bandied about in social media and which Skills Active have trotted out as a part of their current pitch, is naïve in the extreme and not borne out by the experience we had the last time a NOS was attempted 12 years ago. It’s not borne out by the history of yoga either, nor by its textual bases, nor by the nature of its current highly diverse variants. The notion being circulated by proponents of NOS that the public need defending against ‘bad teachers’ and should therefore be interfered with (as is allowed for by the Human Rights Act) is not borne out by the evidence provided by insurers. Claims are extremely rare which makes one suspect that this ‘crying wolf’ is a propaganda ploy.

1. One of our most experienced yogis was accused of misapplying pressure causing injury. This appeared to be an ‘ambulance chasing’ event.

[b] It will lead to injustice given empirically that factions in communities seek dominance. We have already seen precisely that in the yoga community and more generally and globally in the commodification of more and more commons in the service of corporate profit and power.

2. The most common claim is caused by slips and trips.

[c] The injustice will not only be one of an imbalance of power and influence between factions in the yoga community. It will be an economic one. This latter will favour big, rich organisations and concerns and be disadvantageous to one-man-bands, and people working in a dana [donations] system. Many smaller yoga projects will feel that they have to kowtow to the dominant faction for fear of losing reputational momentum to then get involved in onerous red-tape, whilst incurring costs they can ill afford. Again, we have seen this before.

It might also be worth pointing out that, very often, yoga is only one of the activities practiced, enjoyed, performed and taught by yogis. When we provide insurance we include massage, reiki, herbalism, nutrition, personal training and anything else they tell us about. A Skills Active certificate in yoga would offer no help to us in judging the capability of our client in any area. It would only tell us they have had to spend some money on getting that certificate. In terms of insurance, it would be of no benefit to them or us. Nick Ellwell of BGI Insurance (bgi.uk.com)

[d] The entire project is illegitimate given that a large fraction of the yoga community, including the IYN, The National Council of Hindu Temples and some 2,000+ signatories of a petition demanding that NOS be abandoned, are very strongly against it. An action with potentially far reaching cultural and economic fallout like this attempt to institute a NOS for yoga teachers should not be attempted without a very large consensus in its favour. This is simply a matter of natural justice. NOS? No thanks. Dr Pete Yates, secretary, Independent Yoga Network (independentyoganetwork.org)

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Teacher zone Ofsted Yoga

Have your say

And here’s a letter we received from one OM reader: “I was rather horrified to read about Paul Fox’s proposal for Skills Active. This idea of National Occupational Standards sounds rather like an Ofsted for yoga. Very worrying! Before I qualified to teach yoga, I was a primary school teacher. I saw the profession I loved destroyed (along with a lot of wonderful teachers) by Ofsted and the government getting involved and turning education into a race to ‘be the best’ academically. What I saw it do was turn many children into exam conscious, nervous individuals always attempting to achieve spurious targets set by people who had never taught in a classroom. The attempt to standardise yoga sounds sinister. Every yoga teacher I have studied with has given me something new with their personality and their spin on their preferred style. I have always voted with my feet - as should all adults. The idea that we need an outside body to standardise/regularise/cookie-cut our practice and tell us who they think is best is frankly abhorrent. It sounds like an attempt to make money. I foresee people with clipboards observing yoga lessons and giving teachers ‘feedback’. (I have experienced four very damaging Ofsted inspections and have no respect for the so-called feedback). I foresee a logo and a ‘quality guarantee’ stamp on all gyms, health centres and yoga teachers and those who refuse to comply squeezed out. I would call on yoga teachers to reject this poor idea, an example of ‘Big Brother society’ where no need currently exists.

What do you think about proposals to introduce National Occupational Standards for Hatha yoga teachers in the UK? Get in touch now. Email us at: editor@ommagazine.com

Lindsey Franklin, by email

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Teacher zone Teacher’s Tales:

Overcome with nerves Don’t let nerves stand in your way of being a great teacher, writes Paula Hines

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ave you ever been overcome with nerves? A recently graduated teacher asked me about dealing with teaching nerves and if this was something I ever experienced. Let me think, was this something I ever experienced…? The answer is a Big Fat Yes! I always feel slightly suspicious when someone says they never, ever experience nerves. Nerves are perfectly normal and I embrace them as a positive sign that I am not feeling complacent towards the thing I am nervous about. For me, the nerves tend to come up when I am faced with a new teaching scenario. I think when you start teaching everything feels like a new scenario, so it’s natural to feel more nervous, more often. On a related note, I think this is also a great reason for newer teachers to not wait too long to actually start teaching once they’ve completed training. The longer you wait, the more the nerves can grow. In certain instances it’s good to be pushed in the deep end (with love) into your first teaching gigs. I saw an interview with Colleen Saidman-Yee where she talked about telling her teacher, Sharon Gannon, that she couldn’t possibly be a yoga teacher, listing all of the things that were wrong

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with her as reasons (ultimately due to her own fears). Colleen walked out of Sharon’s office, resolved that she was never going to teach yoga. Sharon’s response was to put Colleen on the teaching schedule covering Sharon’s own fully booked class that very evening. A wreck of nerves, Colleen taught the class and walked out feeling exhilarated. And, some 20 years on, she is still sharing her gifts as a teacher. I feel Colleen’s wise teacher saw something in her, knew that this was the right thing to do and acted accordingly. All that said, nerves can have a habit of coming up at the most inconvenient times and if you allow them to overwhelm you, it’s all too easy for your best efforts to be scuppered. From my experience so far, I feel the best way to address this is to pause, take a step back and observe. The chances are you are focusing on yourself. Usually, I’m feeling self-conscious or worrying about what people are thinking. The way to shift out of that is to focus on being of service. You’ll find those nerves will soon shrink too. Act from a place of service and you can’t go wrong.

Paula Hines is a London-based yoga teacher and writer (ucanyoga.co.uk)


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Further reading: Anatomy & Yoga - A Guide For Teachers & Students Ellen Saltonstall Abhyasa Press $11.99

A valuable resource for yoga practitioners who are curious about what happens in the body as they practice yoga. Structures of the body (muscles, bones, joints, nerves and connective tissue) are described in a user-friendly style with anatomical information presented in a progressive and practical sequence. Contains illustrations, yoga references, exercises, therapeutic tips and study questions.

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om actions

Yoga is for every body Your pictures. Your community Jessica Smith, aged 11, at the Statute of Liberty

Claudia Brown in front of the Burj al Arab, Dubai

Sharday Murray in Paradise Cove, Mauritius

Olivia Stevenson at the Eden Project, Cornwall

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Emma Conally-Barklem in Sirsana variation


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Cool cats: Andrew Davis and cat

Chloe Gore

Rebecca Gartshore in Lisbon

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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travel

Awe-inspiring retreats and ideas for yoga explorers

Winter awakening A trip to San Francisco sounds good anytime of year, but now there’s another reason to go SenSpa, a 5-star resort style spa in the lush Presidio of San Francisco, has launched an innovative full body/relaxation treatment with mood enhancing Celluma LED light therapy to help beat the winter blues. Using the revitalising scents of peppermint, rosemary and lavender, plus meditative sound healing music, while a curative candle flickers in the background, chase away your stresses and nourish body and soul during the heavenly new 60-minute treatment. SenSpa occupies a beautiful 13,000 square foot space that bridges the surrounding scape of the wild, the four elements of nature and a curated eastmeets-west vibe with typical Californian cool. Unleash the wellness within. senspa.com

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om travel

Morocco yoga and surf retreat Head for Morocco this December for some late summer sunshine For late bookers, kick back and relax on Morocco’s Atlantic coast this month. An endless summer beckons in Taghazout, where you can soak up a week-long beachside Amayour Surf & Yoga retreat, with top Animal surf team riders, yoga instructors and ambassadors. Get active, get healthy, get some energy and get some all-important winter sun. The retreat includes expert daily surf and yoga lessons for all levels, plus tasty local cuisine in an intimate, boutique, friendly atmosphere. Next retreat: December 3-10, 2016 amayoursurf.com/retreats

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om travel

Snowboards and Sun Salutations Martin D. Clark goes off piste for a yoga retreat with a difference: a ski and snowboarding adventure in the magical playground of the French Alps

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ver wondered how much fun you can cram into a single week? I was determined to find out on a yoga and skiing trip to the French Alps with Soulshine Retreats. To be honest, a yoga retreat in a cosy Alpine chalet outside the resort town of La Rosiere sounded pretty great anyway. But throw in the winter sports element and you’re in for an adventure. Actually, in my case it was yoga and snowboarding, not skiing

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(although the rest of the group were skiers); I’m only a beginner, but enthusiastic, and keen to learn. But the idea, of course, is the same. Go bananas on the slopes during the day, then put yourself back together in the evenings with a winning blend of yoga, massage, healthy food and a dip in the hot tub...plus the obligatory chat with your pals over the day’s events on the piste. What could possibly go wrong?


om travel The ice man cometh

I packed my bags and jetted off to Geneva, one of the main airports that serve the western end of the Alps. From there, one of a team of drivers from the Soulshine stable will transport you and your gear (including boards and skis if you’ve brought them) up the hills towards La Rosiere. After crossing the Swiss-French border, that means making your way initially through the foothills and up the winding roads, and then ultimately into the tight hairpin bends that lead up to the resort. Actually, the chalet itself - Chalet Montperron - is located just outside La Rosiere, a short drive down the mountain, though it’s still high enough for you to enjoy spectacular views from your very snug accommodation. Watch the sunny vistas across the valleys of snow with a warming cup of chai (or even in the outdoor hot tub), or gaze out at the twinkling lights from houses in the distance after your day’s skiing (or boarding) as night falls over the stunning Tarantaise valley.

Home from home

The chalet itself offers 180 degree panoramic views of the valley and is located about 20 minutes from the ski resort itself. Inside, you’ll find everything you need for a week’s stay in the mountains: nightly

log fires conducive to cosy fireside chats, a sauna, hot chocolate and some great yoga company to go with it. Chalet Montperron is a large traditional French Alpine residence, about 150 years old, that’s surrounded by woodland and perched on the cliff overlooking the valley. As you’d expect, it’s full of charm and character, with original features including classic Baroque stone, exposed beams and views from most of the rooms revealing the stunning vista of Bourg St Maurice. And yet it also boasts all modern luxuries (including sauna and hot tub) so you can stay in total comfort and be pampered after your frolics (or mishaps) on the slopes. From the house, there are morning and late afternoon shuttle buses to ferry you back and forwards each day to and from the mountain, or the Soulshine team will always try to accommodate you if there’s a change in the schedule or the weather gets rough. Just outside the chalet is a separate space where you can store all your wet snow gear, while the concierge will be happy to advise on lift passes, classes or equipment hire if you need help.

Yoga therapy

Then, of course, there’s the yoga. It might seem a total contrast to the winter sports theme, but the yoga is the thread that brings

everything together; they really are quite complementary. The amazing yoga deck spans the top floor of the chalet to create a gorgeous wellness space with its own views over the valley and crackling log fire, just perfect for an evening yin yoga class. You’ll find a variety of teachers depending on which week you go, including Soulshine Retreats creator Soulla Demetriou, but expect a more awakening, dynamic Vinyasa Flow practice in the morning, followed by a calm, restorative session in the evening. It’s a great way to open and close the day, and to soothe any aches and pains from the skiing. In my case, as a beginner snowboarder, where bumps and bruises come with the

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om travel territory, it’s comforting knowing your body’s getting some TLC before and after the day’s onslaught on the slopes. The restorative poses certainly help minimise those morning aches so familiar after a day on the slopes…be gone, heavy morning legs!. The yoga is pitched at all levels too, so total beginners are welcome, although more advanced practitioners will also be challenged if looking for more of a workout. And, while this can be a very physical holiday, that does not mean there’s no soul or spirit on a Soulshine Retreat (and no, we’re talking Jaegermeister!), with plenty of meditation, some Yoga Nidra and time for reflection thrown in as well. It’s also a very healthy holiday, with nutritious and delicious food served each evening by your very own talented chef, plus morning veg juices and a buffet to kickstart your day in the mornings.

RETREAT & SURRENDER

Soulshine Retreats will be running seven-night Snow Yoga & Ski Adventures throughout the winter season from early January through to early April 2017. The trip costs from £1,190pp staying in a triple room and from £1,290pp staying in a twin room. The price includes half-board accommodation plus tea and cake every afternoon, a daily 60-minute morning Dynamic Yoga session and 75-minute deliciously relaxing evening Yoga and Meditation session, 1x 30-minute musclesoothing massage, a complimentary airport transfer and a daily morning and evening shuttle service to and from the chalet to the ski lifts. A dedicated Soulshine Retreats host is on hand throughout to ensure maximum pampering, as well as an on-site team to attend the chalet and prepare the deliciously hearty Alpine cuisine. Price excludes flights and ski passes. Soulshine Retreats can assist with organising ski passes, equipment hire and ski classes at the time of booking. For detailed information on dates, prices and early bird offers visit: soulshineretreats.com

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On the slopes

The skiing area of La Rosiere likewise offers something for everyone, from hopeless newbies (hey, we’ve all been there!), to seasoned pros. With an excellent snow record, it’s been dubbed the best-kept secret of the Tarantaise Valley, and forms part of a wider FrenchItalian ski area, Espace San Bernardo, that spans 160 km. The resort boasts long and gentle slopes on the French side with more challenging skiing on the north face of the mountain, in Italy’s Aosta Valley. Families and beginners can meander along the sunny, southfacing slopes, while pleasure-seekers can set off on a quest to sample Italian delicacies in the mountain cafes across the border (don’t worry, you don’t need your passport). Sure enough, some of my group, at least the more experienced skiers, zoomed off to Italy to quaff the legendary bombardino (a hot drink typically made with brandy) in one of the inviting on-piste cafes on the Italian side. It’s a great resort for both skiers and boarders and there are a vast array of classes and tuition to help out if you need an experienced eye to improve your technique. On my trusted board, I linked my turns for the first time (yay!) and, after a bit of instruction, started to feel more confident on the


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slopes, albeit slightly battered and bruised from the learning process. (Hey, you can’t make an omelette without cracking an egg, right?). It’s a busy, popular holiday town so you’ll also find lots of bars, shops and grocery stores here if you want a break from the skiing. And there may be queues for the lifts at peak times, although that’s not uncommon throughout the Alps, but this varies depending on which week you actually go.

Home from home

What’s really special about the Soulshine experience is that home from home feeling, where you get to link up with a bunch of likeminded folks for an entirely new yoga experience. Burn up all that winter sports energy on the slopes, then reset with yoga in the comfort of a plush Alpine chalet. It’s wonderful returning from a day on the piste to some scrumtious homemade cake, with tea served every afternoon upon your return to base. Just being out in this spectacular natural wilderness is an exhilarating experience, breathing in the fresh air as you make your way down a mountain beneath crisp blue skies. But you’ll be embraced into the Soulshine family too, which means entering a house full of friends and experts (yoga teachers, therapists, healthy chefs) which can only be good for the soul too. The small groups (typically no more than 10 students) mean you’ll get plenty of attention both on and off the yoga mat and get a chance to get to know everyone. Pretty much everyone in my group pledged to return again next year to catch up with their new friends, a mix of guests from the UK, the USA, and across the rest of Europe and even the Middle East.

The magic is that all are made to feel welcome. If you love yoga and want to try skiing or snowboarding it’s the perfect introduction to the world of winter sports. Likewise, if you’re new to yoga, but love your skiing, then it’s a chance to reconnect and rebalance and to experience the mountains in a different way – and far away from the usual apres-ski shenaningans. Soulla Demtetrio’s goal on her retreats is to inspire people to embrace their full potential and find the happiness and freedom that exists within us all – to shine bright! So go on and embrace it all: ditch the ordinary life and let your soul shine. Just watch out for those pesky moguls as you’re zooming down the mountainside.

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WINTER

WONDERLAND A picture postcard setting, yoga, and pampering perfection… it’s all to be found at Austria’s Hotel Jagdhof and award-winning jSpa

S

ituated high above the gorgeous city of Innsbruck, Hotel Jagdhof is a traditional, family-run spa resort in the Austrian Tyrol. During the winter, this is a land where the world’s best skiers test their skills on the surrounding mountains or high up on the Stubai glacier. And ski jumpers too. Driving up the main road from Innsbruck you’ll see the famed (and rather intimidating) Bergisel ski jump, a former Olympic venue and still an important landmark on the world ski jumping circuit. In the summer months, the Tyrollean countryside is equally perfect for hiking, cycling or just taking in the pure mountain air on a nature walk. The breathtaking views, available pretty much everywhere round here, are worth a visit anytime of the year. Hotel Jagdhof has long been a popular choice for the wellness community seeking refuge in this exhilarating mountain escape. And for good reason. The five-star Relais & Châteaux hotel is home to the amazing jSpa, an expansive spa area offering joyful restoration and Zen-like calm for all who pass through its doors. Be it a classic massage or facial, an antiageing treatment or a full Zen ritual, it’s true bliss for the senses. Even if you’re not into winter sports, it’s a destination in itself.

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om travel With 70 lavish bedrooms, suites and apartments all decorated in traditional Tyrolean style, it’s a charming place to enjoy the area. It’s also geared up for all types of visitors, whether you’re looking for some luxury and comfort after a hard day on the slopes or you’re on a yoga retreat. If you’re off the green smoothies then enjoy gourmet cuisine and a choice of rare wines from the exquisite cellar, one of the best in Austria, or meet new friends in the informal bar area, with its inviting real fire and live piano music.

if you can drag yourself away from the day loungers by the pool. If you want a place for rejuvenation this winter or you’re looking for a new yoga destination next year, then you’ll not find a

warmer welcome than in the magical Tyrol. For more information about Hotel Jagdhof, prices and forthcoming events, please visit: hotel-jagdhof.at

Joyful wellbeing

The hotel has its own sports gym and wellness programme so there are various classes always on offer, including yoga and Pilates among others. Regular hikes are also planned if you’re keen to get outside. Going forward, there are plans for more yoga retreats, and even a dedicated new yoga deck (the owners are keen yogis themselves). A visit to the jSpa is a must though. Switch off your mobile phone, pull on a fluffy Jagdhof bathrobe and enter a world of natural and holistic healing. With 12 treatment rooms, there’s an amazing choice of therapies on offer utilising some great wellness products such as British cult brand REN, plus unusual offerings like Lomi Lomi Nui, a Hawaiian temple massage. There are also specific treatments available for guys, couples, and even teens, so there really is something for all. Flagship body treatments include the REN Moroccan Rose ritual, a 140 minute indulgence using fragrant Moroccan rose oil and including a full exfoliation, massage, body wrap and facial. The regenerating, relaxing and harmonising effect is out of this world. Or, if you’re loved up with your partner, then book the private spa suite and sign up for the jSPA REN signature treatment where you’ll get pampered side-by-side. Afterwards, daydream by the fireplace or sip a cup of fragrant tea as you watch nature at its finest outside through the giant glass windows all around. In fact, the spa area in its entirety offers a vast and cavernous space to explore, where you can discover for yourself the saunas, steam baths, pools and hot tubs (and even ice baths for the brave) dotted across the various floors and stairways. Complimentary tea, water and even non-alcoholic beer (the ingredients help replace lost minerals and salts after a big sauna session apparently) are also available

YOGA RETREATS

In the week that OM visited Hotel Jagdhof, celebrity yoga teacher Julie Montagu (juliemontagu.com) was leading her first retreat at the venue. The American instructor, who now lives in the UK, teaches at various London studios and is the creator of the online Flexie Foodie Academy nutrition course. Oh, and you may have seen her on the popular TV show Ladies of London too. The small group included a mix of locals and overseas visitors, including a few of Montagu’s own students from London. The yoga itself included dynamic motion sequences, somewhat challenging for newcomers, but certainly enough to generate a bit of heat in the Alpine morning air. The classes also focused on deep, relaxed breathing exercises and always ended with a long Savasana in order to aid the body in digesting the physical, mental and emotional aspects of the practice. Montagu – who is launching her own yoga teacher training course in 2017, with a colleague Sarah Thompson – also likes to combine her yoga workouts with nutrition advice to help students create a personalised and holistic health programme that they can take back home with them. Hotel Jagdhof plans to run more yoga retreats in the future so keep an eye out for details.

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Practicing like a BEAR

No need to hibernate, simply adjust your practice for the winter season, says Victoria Jackson

I

’m a bit like a bear in the winter months. I’m sleepy and slow-moving. I feel the urge to hunker down and hibernate, waiting patiently for the lighter days and warmer weather of springtime. Christmas comes as something of a mixed blessing. I love the family time, the excuse to put fairy-lights anywhere and everywhere, and taking the time to write Christmas cards to old friends feels so much nicer than relying lazily on social media updates. But as well as these more nourishing aspects of the holiday season, there’s also the social round that almost inevitably involves too much to eat or to drink (or both!) and this can leave me feeling more like a bear with a sore head. So where does yoga fit into my winter hibernation? Or into my Christmas partying? On the face of it, it’s not very compatible with either. But maybe that’s the magic of yoga - that it acts as a balancing force in various ways; it evens out excesses and shows me what I really need. Just as we tend to eat differently in the winter, turning from summery salads to hearty soups, maybe our winter yoga practice needs to look a bit different. For me, I become more yin than yang, moving more deliberately and holding stretches longer. I do still practice Surya Namaskar, Sun Salutations, but now in my slower movements and longer breaths there’s almost a hint of yearning for the warmth and ease of the summer months. Sometimes it even feels as though I’m beseeching the sun to come back and brighten the skies rather than saluting its constant presence. After that I’m usually in the mood to linger in restorative poses, using bolsters for supported backbends and twists and finally tucking up under a blanket for Savasana. Maybe I’ll burn incense as I turn my practice from summertime sweaty to winter cosy. But it’s not all woollen socks and candles. Remember those Christmas parties? I’d never get through those if I didn’t keep moving between times to boost my energy. So I balance out my hibernating tendencies at home with some more dynamic vinyasa practices or maybe a hot yoga class to warm up my lethargic body. Even hibernating bears need a good stretch to stay in condition! I hope 2016 has been a wonderful year-in-yoga for you! Now where are those fairy lights…?

Victoria Jackson lives and practices (not always like a bear!) in Oxford.

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