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JANUARY 2017 - £4.50

21 PAGE SPECIAL REPORT

HOME YOGA

RELEASE YOUR INNER CHILD

Create the perfect home practice

why we should all embrace Child Pose

Starting over

YOGA REFRESH 12 pos

re-write your story in 2017

kickstartes to new yeayrour

ROCK & SOUL music to ignite your practice

Gong for good

healing sounds that transform

• • • •

OM Meets – Julie Montagu Vegan! Never! – Oh, hang on…. Teacher zone – the way of Santosa Nutrition zone – detox for life


Restore your inner glow

With incredible organic herbal teas and supplements Discover more at pukkaherbs.com


OM Magazine Issue 68, January 2017 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

Advertising Manager:

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

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Hannah Allen 44 (0) 1787 224040 e: hannah.allen@primeimpact.co.uk

Promotions and Blogger Jane Lambert 44 (0) 1787 224040 Community Manager: e: promotions@primeimpact.co.uk Marketing/Press:

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

Publishing Director:

Keith Coomber e: keith@primeimpact.co.uk

Managing Director:

Julie Saunders e: julie@primeimpact.co.uk

Licensing:

Bruce Sawford 44 (0) 1280 860185 e: Bruce@BruceSawfordLicensing.com

Accounts:

Yolande Arnold 44 (0) 1787 224040 e: accounts@primeimpact.co.uk COVER: Randalle Love (facebook.com/ studioloveyoga) photographed for the cover of OM Yoga and Lifestyle magazine by Ashley Brooks (ashleybrooks.photography)

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 January issue. This is the opening chapter of a perfectly brilliant new year and one that we hope to share with you every step of the way. Stick with us, folks, and let’s rock this 2017 thing together. Whatever your plans, keep it all going with regular yoga. It’s the best way to keep things on track when life throws you a few tricky curve balls. If you’ve got big plans this year, then yoga and meditation will help see you through it, like good buddies or companions on a lonely trail. And for all you executive stress heads out there, you’ll never regret an hour (or even two minutes) on the mat no matter how busy you get. Just when you think you don’t have time for a bit of relaxation or exercise, that really is when you need it the most. To help out, we’ve compiled a guide to starting and maintaining a home yoga practice (page 55) filled with tips and advice from experts on how to make this beautiful practice a standard feature of your life. You don’t need to go to an expensive studio, or buy lots of kit, it’s free and available on demand in your living room right now. We’ve also got a guide to creating the life of your dreams in 2017 (page 92). With simple psychology tips on creating good habits and breaking old ones, like taking responsibility for how you live and eat day-to-day, ending addictive behaviours – and even delving into yoga teacher training – this is the place for people who really want go for it big time this year. Oh, and you’ll also find plenty of other great things this month too, including our own anatomy academy, 360˚ Yoga (page 38), plus lots of inspirational people with some amazing stories to tell. Remember, it’s not just about doing yoga it’s about living yoga. It’s a new year and a new start for us as well. We’ve got a few plans of our own shaping up and you’ll get to hear about those soon. Don’t forget there are three OM Yoga Shows taking place in 2017 (Glasgow, Manchester and London) as well, so there’s a chance to meet the OM team throughout the year. Come along and share your yoga story with us. From all of us here at OM HQ we hope that this is the beginning of your best yoga year ever. Big love to you all, you amazing people.

facebook.com/ommagazine twitter.com/omyogamagazine


OM in 30 seconds “Cobra Pose is a back bend that allows us to create more movement in our thoracic spine while strengthening our lumbar spine.” 360˚ Yoga (Page 38)

“I have always preferred to practice on my own than to attend a class. I am freer to experiment, to move at my own pace and to really feel what I need mentally and physically on a day-to-day basis.” – Dan Peppiatt Finding Your Flow (Page 51) “Imagine a world where anything is possible. For children, that world already exists, so let’s meet them there.” Let your imagination soar (Page 110)

This month’s competition & subscription

Competition

Win a place on the RainbowLight Yoga Teacher Training in France (worth €2,700)

See page 82

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 Gilda Giannoni

Yoga therapy expert, Gilda has been practicing yoga since 1992 and teaching since 1999. She founded her school YogaMarga (yogamarga.it) in Verona, Italy in 2005 and since then she has been working on several teacher training courses, conferences and seminars all over Italy. Her first book, ‘Yoga, dall’Armonia alla Gioia’ was published in Italy in 2012 and in Spain in 2016. She has released two more books about yoga and sexuality (2015) and anxiety and depression (2016).

Jo De Rosa

With over 15 years of yoga teaching experience, Jo now runs one of the UK’s most magical retreat centres based in Lavenham, Suffolk (innerguidance.co.uk). She is also the founder of Quantum Sobriety. This revolutionary addiction programme gives you permission to drop the story and create a new reality as if you’d never been addicted; something Jo explores further in her article this month. Find out more at: quantumsobriety.com

Chantal Di Donato

A yoga teacher, author, holistic health coach and plant-based nutrition and diet advisor, Chantal graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, New York, and Aditya Yoga School. She is currently studying biomedicine in London. Her journey began 18 years ago after a battle with anorexia and a 16-year destructive relationship with food. Now a healthy vegan, food activist, speaker and author, her new book, ‘Innocently Sweet’, a heathy plant-based guilt-free recipe book is out now. Find out more at: liveleanhealth.com

Regular contributors: Siri Arti; Conscious Parenting Claudia Brown; My Yoga Biz 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

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Martin Luther King, Jr


ARE YOU A YOGA TEACHER OR A CORPORATE BODY? ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A STUDIO TO OFFER TRAINING OR WORKSHOPS? WE WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU,

COME AND VISIT US!

A PURPOSE BUILT YOGA CENTRE WITH ALL THE FACILITIES: 3 STUDIOS – CAFÉ – CHANGING ROOMS – LOCKERS – SHOWERS – EASY ACCESS We are a piece of heaven built in Crewe, Cheshire and our genuine purpose is to share the message of yoga as a lifestyle. Our space is ready for your use, please feel free to discuss your ideas with us!

www.ministryofyoga.org – T: 01270 256633


January 2017

Contents OM Regulars

OM FM

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Editors Letter

51

Finding Your Flow: Meet Dan Peppiatt

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My Secret Place

54

Man On The Mat: Revolved Half Moon

10

Letters

12

Yoga Changed My Life

14

The Office Of The Future

15

What’s Your Affirmation

16

Night At The Musi-Om

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Yoga & Aromatherapy:

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Amazing Spaces

Cover Story

Home Yoga

56 No Place Like Home: The Best Way To Start Is Just To Start

58 Live Show: 5 reasons why you should join a live yoga class

Clary Sage

60 Starting A Home Yoga Practice: 10 Tips For Beginners

20 OM Loves: Beautiful Things

62 The Best Intentions: Don’t

22 Fashion: Become One With The Planet

64 Yoga 24/7: The Best Online Yoga Sites

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66 Mats Entertainment: Yoga Mats For

Underestimate The Power Of Intention

For Beautiful People

Planet Yoga

Your Home

121 OM Books: Great Yoga Reads

68 Home Delivery: Bring The Yoga Teacher

122 Yoga Is For Every Body: Your Photos.

To You

Your Community

130 OM Lite: Happy New Year

70 Secrets To Making A Home Practice Space: Home Studio Advice

OM Body

OM Mind

Cover Story

30

Yoga At Home:

Cover Story

34

OM Meets…Julie Montagu

Yoga Refresh

38 360˚ Yoga: OM’s Anatomy Academy

80 Meditation Of The Month: Love & Kindness

Cover Story

40 Bending & Burping: Yoga Moves To Aid Digestion

Cover Story

SPECIAL

48

Yoga Therapy: Neuropathic Pain

Child’s Pose

OM Spirit

44 Rock & Soul: Making Yoga More Fun With Music

84 Release Your Inner Child: Embracing

Cover Story

86 Gong For Good: The Transformational Healing Of Gongs

90 One Minute Of Calm: Enjoy A Silent Moment

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See page 76

100

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travel guide 2017

Cover Story

SPECIAL

Starting Over

92 Starting Over:

Re-Write Your Story in 2017

94 Ditch Your Old Story: Break Free From Addictive Patterns

96 A Life Less Ordinary: Choosing A Yoga Career

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98 Taking Responsibility: A Daring New Paradigm For Health

OM Living Cover Story

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100 Eat Drink Yoga: Healthy Eating Goodies 102 Vegan! Never! Oh, Hang On…

Cover Story

106 Nutrition Zone: Detox For Life

OM Family 110 Conscious Parenting: Imagination Soar

Let Your

OM Actions 112 Breathe, Just Breathe: Michèle Barocchi’s Courageous Journey

OM Teacher Zone 116 My Yoga Biz: Tips From The Experts Cover Story

118 The Way Of Santosa: Facing Loneliness With Contentment

120 Teacher’s Tales: No Comfort Zone

126

OM Travel 124 OM Travel News: Awe Inspiring Retreats & Ideas For Yoga Explorers

126 Arctic Yoga: Swedish Lapland Retreats 7


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My secret place Location Oregon, U.S.A Yogi Heather Fenske Photo Tom Fenske The photo shows yoga practitioner Heather Fenske balancing in the wilderness of Oregon, the state where she grew up. It remains an important space for her, especially in the woods or mountains. “Climbing barefoot through the moss and finding a place to balance makes practicing interesting and adds challenges you don’t face in the studio,� she says. It adds adventure for the photographer as well, in this case her father, Tom, who has to coordinate the yoga pose with the many elements of a wellbalanced landscape image. It is a combination that gives artists of different mediums a chance for collaboration and exploration.

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

Life changing

I just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed reading OM magazine. I had long thought about getting a magazine on yoga and then stumbled across OM one day. Ever since then I’ve been scanning and searching my local shops to find the next issue in the hope that it would be there! It is the first time I’ve bought it and it has helped me in so many ways. I am a busy school teacher and find OM and your articles interesting and insightful, helping me to stay grounded and centred throughout the week and to manage stress levels effectively. I often don’t have time to get to a class so using your Yoga@Home sequence (Embodying The Warrior, Issue 66, November 2016) has enabled me to practice at home using my past experience and widening my practice. I never thought a magazine could have such a life changing effect on me. So thank you! Michelle, by email

Ethical beauty

My OM magazine (Issue 67, December 2016) arrived this morning and I’m really pleased with it. Thank you! It’s a great magazine with great content. I really enjoyed the ethical beauty report. Lindsey, by email

What you said about us on social media Post gym morning tea break! Snowboards and sun salutations, my kind of combo... #yoga @omyogamagazine #lecruset #teacup #slippers @katiesilvs

Just me, bump & the bear on this birthday morning... tea in hand, yoga mag and a cozy duvet @breatheyogach

Happy new year to you

I wanted to write in to say happy new year to all the OM team. I love your magazine (I have been a subscriber for many years) and really appreciate the kindness and positivity you generate with your words each and every month for all your readers. So I wanted to send the love back for once. Happy new year to you, OM! Sarah, by email

#selfcaresunday with the latest issue of #omyogamagazine #yogacalm @htowsey

Keep in touch OM Letters, Prime Impact Events & Media, Park House, The Business Centre, Earls Colne Business Park, Colchester CO6 2NS

instagram.com/omyogamagazine

editor@ommagazine.com

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You can also find us on uk.pinterest.com and youtube.com


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.


200hr Yoga Teacher Training with Sally Parkes BSc Author of ‘The Students Manual of Yoga Anatomy’

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YOGA CHANGED MY LIFE

• Yoga Asana • Anatomy & Physiology • Subtle Anatomy • Yoga Philosophy • The Basics of Ayurveda • Teaching Methods & Ethics • The Business of Yoga • Home Study & Self-Practice Training held in UK & Spain New 7 Day Advanced Yoga TT Module Coming Soon!

Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Training Certified by FEDANT and Yoga Alliance US & UK

This 6 day course includes: • Pregnancy Yoga • Post-Natal Yoga • Mother and Baby Yoga Courses in the UK and Dubai

www.sallyparkesyoga.com info@sallyparkesyoga.com +44 (0)7983 508018

Iyengar Yoga helped Lindsey Orr manage her bad back condition

NAME: Lindsey Orr AGE: 44 OCCUPATION: Freelance graphic designer YOGA YEARS: 3

Why did you start yoga

I suffered a really bad back injury: two ruptured discs in my thoracic region. I went to see a surgeon and he told me if I could stand the pain, that would be his recommended course of action. The other alternative was surgery. I decided to live with the ongoing chronic pain. This meant I was taking painkillers full time, but they were only just taking the edge off the pain. I felt like an old lady, I couldn’t even do the 10 minute walk into town without stopping for a rest on the bench on the way in. And when in town I was afraid people would bump into me; I felt so fragile. I knew I’d have to find a way to strengthen my body.

Favourite yoga haunts

In January 2014 I emailed Bath Iyengar Yoga centre for advice. I was lucky, I’d hit on just the right place. I started on January 4, a memorable date for me. This January will be my three year anniversary of working with the very experienced teachers there. Asanas were adapted or supported with props at different stages of my recovery. I put my complete trust in my teachers, Richard and Kirsten, as they have so much knowledge. I can’t thank them enough for the help they’ve given me.

How has yoga changed your life

Seeing me now, you wouldn’t know how hard it was - how physically immobilised I was. I plan to practice yoga for the rest of my life. I’m 44 now, my body and mind need this practice. I’ve also hung ropes at home so I can do all sorts of great poses that we’ve done in class that were helping so much (Yoga Kuranti). There’s nothing like doing a Rope Sirsasana to take all the weight off your upper back, just where my injury is. I’m still very stiff in my upper back, the discs were very damaged and have worn away and my spine has fused in that area, but I don’t let that stop me. Mobility is so precious.

Best yoga moment

Within four or five months of going to yoga, I decided to come off the full-time painkillers I’d been using. It wasn’t easy, but it was a real breakthrough. Within a year of going to classes, I went from Level 1 to Level 2. My body slowly recovered and began to awaken again. Strength and flexibility grew. But yoga offers so much more than that: moments of peace and tranquility, and a means of dealing with the ups and downs of life.

Anything else

The beauty of the Iyengar process is the ability to use props to support asanas as strength and recovery is underway. Restorative yoga is also a real gem to know, especially when you are recovering from injury or illness. I try to maintain a home practice.


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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The office of the future

What makes a place great to work in? Yoga, of course! Introducing Shoreditch Platform, a new co-working space where every day begins with an asana

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hat better way to get ready for the working day than a yoga session? A new shared work space recently opened in a trendy part of London offering not only space to rock up with your laptop, but also morning yoga classes as well. Shoreditch Platform (shoreditch-platform. cobot.me) is a brand new multi-purpose venue, cocktail bar and co-work space which kicks off every day with sessions to get the energy flowing. Take your pick from yoga, Pilates and even boxing if you’re looking to release a bit of anger ahead of a difficult meeting. Located at the junction between Old Street and Shoreditch High Street, and

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occupying the building that was previously Shoreditch’s station building, it’s now a funky destination for work and play. Serving breakfast, lunch and light dinner throughout the day, there’s an evening programme that includes lectures and workshops, galleries, live music and DJs - perfect for afterwork and even weekend drinks. A short walk away is Google’s London campus where you can also grab a quick morning yoga class before the day begins, another great local hangout for flexi-workers. One day we hope all offices will be equipped and enlightened enough for a quick morning vinyasa to get the creativity flowing.


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WHAT’S YOUR

AFFIRMATION? An affirmation for new experiences; for doors closing and doors opening.

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

“I am adventurous, life excites and delights me with all its twists and turns”

Are you secretly wanting to get out and explore more? Are you wanting to live life with more zest and a playfulness? Don’t be held back by your fear or someone else’s ideal of how life ‘should’ be. Live life on your terms. Life is only as boring, as dull, or as stagnant as you allow it to be. Open your mind to the endless possibilities that life has to offer you. Are you ready to venture out of your comfort zone and let yourself be curious and in awe of the bountiful beauty of life? Routine and order serve a purpose although spontaneity is good for the soul. A change of routine, of pace and of scenery, may be just what we all need at times. Let your mind expand to the beautiful, bountiful vistas just waiting to be experienced by your eyes, your heart and your soul. Adventure is walking towards an uncertain outcome with an inner zing and an inner certainty of excitement. Let life love you.

By Deb Mac (contentedlittlesoles.com)

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

BRITISH WHEEL OF YOGA

ACCREDITED GROUP

yoga with

simon low Retreats, weekends and workshops 2017 RESIDENTIAL YOGA RETREAT WEEKENDS 14—17 April 2017 Easter Retreat Kamalaya, Koh Samui, Thailand 28—30 April 2017 Bore Place, Kent, UK

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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Night at the musi-om New York arts museum to launch OM Lab recording booth

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he Rubin Museum of Art (RMA) in New York is to turn its sixth floor into an ‘Om Lab’ for three months starting in February, where visitors will be able to record their own sacred Om chant in a small recording studio. It describes the ‘lab’ as “a participatory space where visitors can step into a recording booth and offer their chant of the Sanskrit mantra OM”. Om is a Sanskrit syllable derived from Hindu scriptures. It is deemed the most mystical and powerful Sanskrit seed syllable containing the universe, which in Hinduism has been used to introduce and conclude religious work. Today, it is commonly used in opening and closing yoga classes throughout the world. The intention is for visitors to learn “about the lasting importance of this sacred syllable, and then become a

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part of its history by offering their voices to the collective chant”, the museum said in a statement. The collected recordings will later be remixed by acoustic consultants and featured in the RMA’s upcoming exhibition ‘The World Is Sound’, which opens in June. “After the OM Lab closes on May 8, the recorded voices will be joined together to form a single chant and played back to visitors within the upcoming exhibition, ‘The World Is Sound’,” the museum said. RMA will also host several events and programmes in the OM Lab, including a two-day ‘OM-In’ on February 24 and 25, with music, performances, art-making and meditations. Naturally, we think it’s a brilliant idea.

Find out more at: rubinmuseum.org


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Yoga & Aromatherapy

Clary Sage (Salvia Sclarea) A new year is a time of setting intentions and looking forwards. To help shed light on your path and pave your way for the year ahead, use Clary Sage, Salvia Sclarea essential oil. Clary Sage comes from the Latin ‘clarus’ meaning ‘clear’ - the oil will help give you a clear vision for the future. Take some time this month to sit quietly in meditation and think about what you want to achieve over the year ahead. Place a couple of drops of Clary Sage on a tissue before beginning and breathe deeply. The essential oil will help enhance your meditation and help you connect to your true self. Clary Sage is also a wonderful oil to use in wintertime as it lifts the spirit and helps with winter blues and depression. Place a couple of drops in some rosewater and use a facial cleanser and toner for a cheerful start to the morning. It is a warming oil as well, so put a couple of drops in a carrier oil, massage into the skin to keep warm and uplifted all day. Massage specifically into the Solar Plexus area if you are feeling low and need a boost. To help soothe aching and inflamed muscles, place a couple of drops in the bath. Mix with a couple of drops of Rose Oil if you are exhausted. Using Clary Sage this month will help you start the new year with a sense of clarity and empowerment. Do not use if pregnant or are drinking alcohol.

By Julia White (beautifulmindbeautifulbody.co.uk)

Insurance New Year’s Special

New policies taken out before Jan 25th will get FREE membership to the IYN, subject to a satisfactory application form Intro code: OMIYN16 We think about insurance so that you don’t need to!


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Amazing spaces Stylish and inspiring studio design ideas and interiors

Ministry Of Yoga, Ash-Tec House, 277 Walthall St, Crewe, CW2 7LE ministryofyoga.org Welcome to The Ministry of Yoga. No, not a new government department, but a little piece of yoga heaven built in the heart of Crewe in Cheshire. It’s a great new destination for the yoga community. Whatever you do make sure you visit the quirky roof garden with its wonderful vibrant colours and picnic tables; a fun hangout before or after class and the perfect spot to catch up with friends. There’s plenty of yoga going on downstairs though to keep you busy. With a packed programme of classes throughout the week there’s always something going on, whatever your ability level or style preference. Here, you’ll find everything from Vinyasa Flow, Ashtanga and Iyengar through to Pilates. For early risers, enjoy some breakfast yoga each and every morning through the week or (if you like a lie in!) sign up for the Mid-Morning Yoga Club. Later, there are lunchtime express classes plus a varied mix of evening classes on offer, so there’s always something going on. Or sign up for one of the monthly workshops to explore an area of interest in greater detail, such as the Ashtanga Yoga & Pranayama Workshop. One-to-one lessons, community classes, group and corporate sessions are also available. The Ministry of Yoga is all about creating what it calls a ‘space of growing’, offering the best quality of teachings from experienced instructors through different events and workshops. There are three studio spaces available and teachers are invited to get in touch if they’re keen to get involved in the project. Now that’s a Ministry that we can really get behind!

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Beautiful things for beautiful people

Lemon Detox

Yoga España! 8-15 April ‘17

Train as a TeenYoga teacher on this special annual sunlit retreat, young people will join us in a Spanish mountain farmhouse. £950 incl accom and all meals www.teenyoga.com/spain Phone or email to book:

info@teenyoga.co.uk 01761 470 658

“ This is a life-changing course. If you have any interest in helping the youth of today become balanced adults of tomorrow, do this course!” Samantha Hare, Met. Police

The Lemon Detox has launched a new sponsored fasting initiative called Fasting 4 Charity, enabling people to simultaneously raise funds for their favourite cause while following the programme. Try it this new year and see the results for yourself - raising vital cash for good causes at the same time. lemondetox.com/ fasting4chairty

Pro-X-Walker Training Device

Innovative new training device enables total body workout without any vibrations in the shoulders and elbows. Tests have shown that the muscle activity in the upper body is more intensive during Pro-X-Walking than during conventional walking. Visit the website to watch inspirational videos. pro-x-walker.co.uk


om beginnings How To Be A Yoga Rockstar Book - £12.99

This beautiful book, dubbed the ‘yoga careers bible’ and written by OM magazine editor Martin D. Clark, is the ultimate guide to making a living teaching yoga. Includes thousands of tips on all aspects of yoga teaching, from marketing, video and social media, to teacher training and even teaching celebrities. Dozens of cases studies from new and experienced teachers around the world. A must read for any yogi! amazon.com

Euskadi Essence Cream for Meditation

Try this aid for meditation if you’re struggling to unplug. Apply to wrist pulse points and the third eye and enjoy the aroma of organic juniper and eucalyptus essential oils and wild frankincense oil. Get comfy, close your eyes, and slide into a wonderful state of meditative bliss. Suitable for vegans. carolinesessences.com

200 Hour Yoga

Teacher Training Intensives in Spain

Established Comprehensive

Vinyasa Flow Training

with Thousands of Successful Graduates

Organyc Medium Flow Day Sanitary Pads - £3.49

Who knew conventional sanitary pads can contain the equivalent of four plastic bags? Organyc pads do not contain polymers, aromas, plastic fibres, cellulose, or chlorine, but are made exclusively with 100% organic cotton inside and out, allowing the body to breathe while also being kind to sensitive skin and the environment. organyc.co.uk

Yoga For Anxiety And Stress DVD - £12.99

New DVD from yoga instructor and OM writer Charlotte Watts. Features five classes: Joint Release; Releasing Neck, Jaw & Shoulders; Loosening Movements to Relieve Anxiety; Restorative Sequence With Mindfulness; and Energising Without Agitating. charlottewattshealth.com

FrogLotusYogaInternational.com Suryalila.com

March 25 – April 15, 2017 Jun 24 – Jul 15, 2017 Oct 07 – Oct 28, 2017 For Advanced Modules and additional 2017 dates, check our website


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Become one with the planet

Swing Tunic ÂŁ62 earthkindoriginals.co.uk

High quality eco-conscious leisure and active wear from Cornish yoga and fashion label, Earth Kind Originals. Feel good about what you wear

Photographer: Adj Brown (adjbrown.com) Model: Louise McCutcheon

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Daydreamer Dress £68 earthkindoriginals.co.uk

Lazy Lizzie Tee, £35 Relax Leggings, £35 earthkindoriginals.co.uk

Lounge Dress £64 earthkindoriginals.co.uk

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Suzie Vest, £28 Lounge Trousers, £34 earthkindoriginals.co.uk

Long Vest, £34 Lounge Wrap, £42 earthkindoriginals.co.uk

Smile Smock Dress £65 earthkindoriginals.co.uk

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You work out to get healthy. Now get the pads and tampons that keep you that way. ORGANYC. Untreated, untainted, organic feminine care. We all do our best to stay healthy by working out and eating organic. There’s another way we can take care of ourselves with organic feminine care. The Organyc brand is all organic. No exceptions. Organyc pads, panty liners and tampons are 100% organic cotton. Plus they th do not contain synthetic fibres, plastics, SAPs or fragrances. If good health is the goal, we want to help you get there. Organyc is available from health stores, independent pharmacies and online

www.organyc.uk


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

USA

USA

UK

Balls up Dating advice

Pole dancing, cooking and – you guessed it – yoga….the hobbies women wish men were more into, according to a recent discussion on internet site Reddit. Although yoga is becoming increasingly popular for both guys and girls, it still remains very much a niche activity for men, at least here in the UK (in India, yoga was originally practiced mainly by men). So, what else made the list, you ask? Sewing, skincare, cross-stitching, dancing and musical theatre. Boys, if you want to impress the ladies you now know what to do.

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Vegans, look away now: a yoga mat made of leather. LA-based Baller Yoga says its mat comes from the same premium leather from which NFL footballs are made. And at $1,000, it’s certainly not cheap. Unsurprisingly, it’s also drawn a lot of flak from vegans, animal lovers and yogis who argue that it runs contrary to the ethos of the practice. It was devised by Baller Yoga’s founder Cedric Yau, a self-proclaimed ‘guru’ who had the idea on a Bali yoga retreat. He says the leather is sourced as a by-product of the meat industry, which would otherwise be discarded. Hmmm, still not sure that’ll wash with the vegans...or us yogis.

Model behaviour

Want to know some supermodel keep fit tips? Do yoga! Abbey Clancy was spotted in tropical Cape Verde recently doing a few beach asanas during a break from filming the next series of Britain’s Next Top Model. The mother-of-two, 30, who is married to ex-England football player Peter Crouch, says her love of all things yoga helps her stay in shape. She was ‘papped’ by photographers on the beach doing an impromptu yoga session alongside fellow crew members and friends. The show is due to return to TV screens in the UK early this year.


om beginnings Kung Fu Yoga

It might not be to everyone’s taste, but Jackie Chan’s new yoga and martial arts inspired movie Kung Fu Yoga is expected to be released later this month. A joint Chinese and Indian production, also starring Bollywood actor Aamir Khan, the movie cost an estimated $65 million to make. Directed by Hong Kong’s Stanley Tong, it marks martial arts guru Jackie Chan’s first Indian film foray since 2005’s The Myth. Expect to see plenty of high kicking Kung Fu, of course, and…ummm, yoga. It’s only likely to be on limited release in the UK so keep your eyes peeled for it if you’re interested.

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Record breakers

The people of Japan are no strangers to breaking strange world records - now their pets are at it as well. Some 136 dogs and their owners gathered at Toshimaen amusement park, Tokyo recently for a what is believed to be a record breaking dog yoga – or Doga – event. The get together, a partnership between Groupon Japan and Dog Yoga, also helped mark the first day of Japan’s annual family week. Local yoga instructor, Noriko Onuma, who is also head of Japan’s dog yoga society, said she hoped to spread the love between humans and dogs through simple light exercise out in nature.

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om body

Yoga refresh YOGA @ HOME

New Year refreshing sequence by Mimi Kuo-Deemer. Twelve poses to kickstart 2017

1

Supine Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana)

To twist out the old and let in the new. Start lying on your back, knees bent. Shift your hips to the right of the mat. Inhale, bring your knees into your chest. Exhale, twist your knees to the left side of your body, keeping the knees close to your chest. Inhale the right arm out to the side, and exhale draw your right shoulder down. Stay here for 3 – 5 breaths, wringing out your spine.

2b

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2a

Seated Cat/Cow x 3

With arms extended and hands interlaced. This pose moves the body with the breath. You can be inhaling the new and exhaling the old, releasing old tension in the shoulders and back and bring in new space to the chest and heart area; also prepares the wrists. Come up to a comfortable cross-legged seat. Interlace your fingers, turning your palms away from your chest. On an inhale lift your arms and palms overhead, lifting your chest and rolling toward the fronts of your sitting bones. Exhale reverse, rolling to the backs of your sitting bones while you round your back and bring your arms and hands forward away from your chest. Repeat this 3 times with your breath.

2c


om body 3

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

A downdog a day keeps the doctor away. This pose stretches out everything and gets the spine lengthened, arms strengthened and shoulders open. Come onto all fours, then inhale tuck your toes under, and exhale lift your hips up and back until your head, arms and spine all click into a straight line. You can keep the knees bent and heels lifted, and then gradually work toward lengthening the legs and extending the heels back. Breathe in this pose for 3 – 5 breaths.

5

Revolving Lunge Twist (Parivrtta Anjanyasana)

This helps twist out the old to feel increased space and renewal. From your low lunge, inhale and lift your right hand up for a twist. Your back knee can stay on the mat or come up off the ground. Exhale deepen your twist. Be here for two or three breaths.

4

Low Lunge (Anjanyasana)

This lunge and backbend opens up the spine, hips, lets in fresh blood through the legs and whole body. From downward facing dog exhale and step your right leg forward inside your right hand and then lower the back knee down to the mat. Inhale your arms up by your ears, keeping the shoulders relaxed and open. Exhale scissor your inner legs while you invite the pelvis to move toward your front heel. Remember to lengthen out of your lower back by lifting the front hip bones up. Inhale and open your chest, exhale then release your arms down.

6

Gate Pose (Parigasana)

This side bend helps open the side body and chest, bringing in lots of good circulation to the lungs and heart. From your lunge twist, inhale and lower the back knee down to the mat. Exhale and pivot on that back knee, stepping your front foot back. Inhale and lift your torso up and bring your hands to your hips; you’ll be facing the long side of the mat. On your next breath in, raise your left arm up, and exhale your right hand to your hip or down your leg. You’ll be in a side bend. You can keep the bottom hand on the hip or leg, or lift it up to take hold of the top wrist. Be here for a few breaths.

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Continue sequence >> 31


om body 7

Side Angle Pose (Vasistasana)

This arm balance strengthens the arms and heart while toning the core muscles of the abdomen and back. From Parigasana, exhale your left hand back toward the front of the mat. Inhale your right arm up. At this point you can keep your left knee on the mat, or straighten your bottom leg and stack the bottom foot under the top foot.

9

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8

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

After releasing from your Vasistasana, step back into Adho Mukha Svanasana and repeat the series from pose 4 to pose 7 on the other leg.

Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

This backbend opens the chest and lungs. After you finish pose 4 to pose 7 on both sides, lower your knees down from Adho Mukha Svanasana onto the mat. Inhale and lift your body upright to kneeling, toes optionally tucked under or extended straight. You can double fold the mat if it helps your knees feel more comfortable. Exhale and bring your hands to your lower back for support. Inhale, extending your chest forward into a backbend. Exhale keep your chin in toward your chest, or optionally elongate it upward and backward to stretch the throat. Only do this if you have no neck injury. Keep breathing, and optionally keep your hands on your lower back or bring them to your heels or feet. Remember not to compress in your lower back, but keep lifting out of the lumbar region to extend the curve of your backbend into the whole spine. Exhale to lift your torso back upright, coming out of the backbend with the strength and support of your abdominal centre.


om body 10

11

Sage Twist (Bharadvajasana)

This twists out the backbend and releases new blood into the organs and spine. After Ustrasana, inhale your feet to the left and stack the left toes or ankle onto the arch of your right foot. Exhale lower the hips down to the ground. Inhale start to twist toward the right, placing your left hand outside the right thigh with your palm facing away from your leg. Bring your right hand behind you, fingertips turned away from you to help open your chest. Exhale and twist. After two or three breaths you can switch sides.

12

Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana )

This finishing pose relaxes the hips and back. After your twist, release onto your back and bend your knees in toward your chest. Inhale and take hold of either the backs of your knees, the ankles or your outer feet. Your shins should be perpendicular to your thighs at right angles, like your feet were in upside down stirriups. Where you hold your hands isn’t so important – you want to make sure your spine is lengthening from the tailbone to the crown. If your shoulders are tensing and pulling up off the ground, hold lower on your legs. Also if your tailbone and sacrum curl off the ground, hold lower on your legs. Be here for a few breaths.

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Corpse Pose (Savasana)

The final pose relaxes and refreshes the body and spirit. Extend your legs forward from Ananda Balasana to rest on your mat. Extend your arms by your sides. Make the alignment of your body just right. Relax. Be consciously still and let go. Be here as long as you’d like.

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


om body

OM meets...

Julie Montagu

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om body OM chats to American yoga teacher, nutrition expert and reality TV star Julie Montagu about her ‘crazy’ yoga style and on finding self love. Now living in the UK and married with four children, she wants to share her passion for yoga with anyone who’ll listen How did you first get into yoga After my fourth child was born I was exhausted both mentally and physically and I knew I needed to do something…and fast. So, I went to my first Bikram yoga class and in one day became obsessed with it. From Bikram, I started to then explore other types of yoga and fell madly in love with Vinyasa flow yoga. And really, once I started on the yoga path, I became obsessed with how much energy yoga could give me, boost my mood and just make me feel better overall. I’m so passionate about yoga and all that it can do for you physically, mentally and spiritually. What inspired you in those early days When I get asked why I decided to teach yoga, this is my honest answer: I never want anyone to feel as bad about themselves as I’ve felt about myself in the past. And that is what inspired me to teach. Yoga - all of yoga: physical, mental, spiritual - helped me to learn to love myself again and I wanted to share what I experienced with others. Any favourite teachers or studios I teach mostly at triyoga in Chelsea and Soho, but triyoga isn’t my favourite studio just because I teach there. I love triyoga because the energy at the studio is so uplifting and positive and it’s a real community - full of smiles, people creating long-lasting friendships. As far as teachers? Well, I love Sarah Thompson, Lelia Sadaghee, Amme Poulton and Marcus Veda just to name a few.

Any key transformational yoga moments I remember the first time I got into Crow Pose (Bakasana) and, as crazy as this sounds, I must have smiled from ear to ear for a month. Obviously it wasn’t so much about the pose itself, but about what the pose did for me on an emotional level. My body was stronger, so was my mind and my heart, and so getting into Crow for the first time made me realise that if I put my mind to something - whether it’s a goal, or a dream or following my passions - I could do it. How would you describe your own teaching style One word: crazy. Crazy fast, crazy fun, crazy hot. But after my crazy class, I see my students smiling in Savasana - so I think me and crazy yoga work well together. How do you want people to feel during your classes I want them to feel a release. Whether that’s a physical one or a mental one or emotional one, I want them to feel safe in my classes so that they can ‘let go’ and not be afraid to just let it all dissolve and melt into the mat. What are your own plans going forward I actually get asked that a lot… ‘Julie, when are you going to open your own studio?’ And I’m afraid the answer is: ‘Never’! I’m really happy teaching in other studios, I do just love it. But I’ve got so many other things on my plate that I’ve just finally learned how to balance them

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om body

“When I get asked why I decided to teach yoga, this is my honest answer: I never want anyone to feel as bad about themselves as I’ve felt about myself in the past.” all – well, I just don’t want to tip the balance that took me years to finally get right! However, my husband and I run his family estate down in Dorset called Mapperton. It’s considered ‘England’s Finest Manor House’ and the entire estate is open to the public. So, we are in the process of renovating one of the stable blocks to make it into a yoga studio for yoga retreats. We plan on having the students stay the night in the 17th century manor house, cook healthy meals in our on-site cafe, long walks on the estate (it’s 2,500 acres) and lots of yoga in the new studio. So that will all be happening in 2018. How would you reassure someone new to yoga I tell them that the students they see staying in the poses the longest are the ones who have fallen out the most. We all had to start where they are now. What do you do when you’re not doing yoga Very bizarrely, I’m on an American TV show called ‘Ladies of London’ which is currently on its third season. We finished filming last summer (it was all shot in England) and the 12 episodes aired in the USA back in November 2016. So, when I’m filming for 15+ weeks out of the year, it sort of takes over my life if I’m honest. It is full on but super fun. I’ve also just launched my Membership Wellness Site for Women called

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Truly Julie (truly-julie.com) and it’s all about getting what I call those ‘small moments of self-care’ into your daily routine. Each month has its own theme such as Managing Stress or Mastering your Inner Critic or Learning to Let Go and within each themed month there are a host of yoga videos, healthy eating recipes and videos, affirmations, downloadable podcasts and meditations plus a Truly Julie private Facebook page where 100’s of women support and motivate each other. I’m super proud of it and super excited to see how it’s growing and reaching the masses. Any personal motto to keep you going during tough times Yup. I’ve been wearing it on my wrist bracelet for three years now. ‘She needed a hero, so that’s what she became.’

Find out more about Julie Montagu at: juliemontagu.com


om body presents...

360Ëš yoga with

Doctor yogi Detailed alignment cues for Cobra Pose

EXTERNALLY ROTATE YOUR SHOULDERS

l Step your hands shoulder width and have your index fingers parallel l Gently bend your elbows and energetically draw your hands towards each other l Roll your shoulders back maintaining the space at the front of your chest

An overview of...

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) This classic asana is seen in most yoga classes and often forms part of the Sun Salutation.

S

imilar to Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana), this posture is a back bend that allows us to create more movement in our thoracic spine while strengthening our lumbar spine. Back bends tend to elevate our mood and are invigorating and stimulating to our nervous system.

OPEN YOUR CHEST

l Lengthen up through all four sides of your waist to create more space between your hip bones and your lower ribs l Send your breast bone (sternum) forward towards the front of the room 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

LENGTHEN YOUR LEGS

l Lift one foot at a time off the ground, reach it behind you and lower it l Press each of your ten toe nails into the ground

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om body The benefits of Cobra Pose

l C obra Pose creates space in the front of our body opening our chest and lengthening our abdominal muscles and hip flexors l I t builds strength in our arms and shoulders l C obra Pose can improve the quality of our breath by expanding the ribcage at the front and sides of our body l I t builds strength and support in our lower back l C obra Pose firms and tones our Rhomboids and Gluteal muscles l E levates our mood and improves focus and concentration

Contraindications

l I t is suggested that Cobra Pose may not be an appropriate asana to practice if you have a headache, carpal tunnel syndrome, undiagnosed lower back pain or are pregnant

Variations

There are many variations of Cobra Pose that you may have come across: l B aby Cobra Pose involves bending your elbows deeper and only lifting your chest a few inches off the ground l Y  ou can take this version a step further by putting so much weight into your toe nails and pubic bone that you can glide your hands off the mat l T  o open the chest further practice Baby Cobra and clasp your hands behind your back with your knuckles pointing back and the palm of your hands together. If your shoulders feel tight use a yoga strap and have your palms pointing down to keep your chest open.

FOCUS YOUR GAZE

l Your focal point (drishti) is towards the tip of your nose l If this doesn’t feel comfortable, soften your gaze and look at a fixed point in front of you

FEET HIP DISTANCE APART AND PARALLEL l Find the bony 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 l Line the mid-point of each ankle up with the base of your second toe

STACK YOUR HEAD DIRECTLY ON TOP OF YOUR SPINE l Gently slide the sides of your throat back and then lower your chin a couple of millimetres towards your chest and feel the back of your neck lengthen

LENGTHEN YOUR LOWER BACK

l Roll your upper, inner thighs back to create space at the back of your pelvis l Lower your sacrum (the flat part of your lower spine) and tailbone (coccyx) down towards your heels

For the full, exclusive 360° detailed and interactive version download our App now 39


om body

Bending & burping Give your festive digestive system a helping hand this year with some simple yoga moves at home. By Meg Jackson AFTER

1a

BEFORE

T

he party season is over. No longer does a chocolate orange count as one of your five a day, and you begin to wonder how you functioned without an elasticated waistband as your go-to fashion item. Safe to say that energy levels aren’t exactly at an all-time high in January. The days are short, the weather is cold, and the comfort food that was your friend over Christmas is now taking its toll. Of course, it’s all totally fine, because you enjoy every moment mindfully, totally guilt-free and full of gratitude. Trouble is, gratitude isn’t what’s given you a belly to rival Buddha’s. As tempting as it is to roll yourself onto the closest soft furnishing, resolving to stay there until Spring, there are a few yoga poses you might like to try. By gently moving the body you can give the digestive organs a bit of stimulation and help them to do what they do best. When you hold these poses for 1 or 2 minutes, you also help the body to settle into its natural ‘rest and digest’ state. Your parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, allowing your whole body to know it’s safe, secure and can relax. And the more you can move, increase circulation, and create space in your abdomen, the more room you have to put more gorgeous goodies in. Before you start gently go through a couple of rounds of your favourite type of sun salutation. But remember that this is all about being slow and steady! Meg Jackson is the founder of Real Life Yoga (reallifeyoga.net), a movement to help people bring a little (or a lot) of yoga into their real lives and an ambassador for Samanata Yogi (samanatayogi.com)

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1b

Squished and twisted

Lie down. Bring both knees up into your chest. Take a little roll around from side to side. (Health warning: This one is known as ‘wind relieving pose’. Just saying.) Pause there. Let both knees drop down to the left. Take your arms up into a cactus shape. Look to the right. Let gravity do the work as you rest there and breathe. Repeat on the other side or as often as you feel is….*ahem* needed.


om body 2

Happy (food) baby

Still lying on the floor, bend your knees up into your chest but this time take them further apart so they’re moving more towards your armpits than your chest. Either stay in this version, or bend the knees and turn the feet up to the ceiling. Reach up and hold each foot, gently drawing the knees further down towards the armpits. It’s not glamorous but it’s good!

4

Chocolates on the floor; chocolates on the shelf

Rest your right knee on the floor and step your left foot forwards. Place your right hand down on the floor inside your left foot. Think of twisting from behind your food baby (around your belly button), push down through your hand and feel how that opens you up across your chest. Reach the left hand up, imagining your favourite chocolate hanging just out of reach. Repeat on the other side.

3

Sniffing out the treats

Come to rest on your knees. Bring the big toes together but take the knees apart. Lower yourself down onto the floor, allowing your belly to rest between the knees. Reach your arms out towards the front of the mat. If that’s not comfortable, rest your forehead on a block or stack your hands and use them as a pillow. Pause here; breathe. And maybe have a little think about what your next snack should be (just kidding!).

5

Poised for pooping

Take yourself into a squatting position. If your heels can’t comfortably reach the floor, rest them on a rolled-up yoga mat, or prop with a folded blanket. Keep your spine as long as possible. Bring the hands into prayer and gently use the backs of the elbows to keep the knees rolling apart. Think of lifting your heart and allowing your tail bone to drop down towards the earth. You might like to know that this is the favoured position for pooping in many parts of the world, so it’s obviously a good one to get stuff….umm…moving.

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om body 6

Keeping an eye on the kitchen

Come to sit. Keep the left leg straight, bend the right and place the foot flat on the floor. Place your left hand behind you and try to rest lightly on the finger tips. Use the back of your right elbow against the inside of your right knee to gently encourage the torso to twist. By twisting this way, instead of the ‘usual’ version of twisting towards the bent leg, there’s plenty of space for the food baby. You can also keep an eye on the kitchen in case someone else goes for the best snacks.

8

The rib un-sticker

This one takes a bit of preparation. I’ve used a rolled-up yoga mat with a cushion over it, but a tightly-rolled blanket would also work (even better is a real bolster!). Kneel down and put whatever you’re using up against your tail-bone. Slowly lower yourself down so that the bolster is lying along your spine. You can either take the arms up over your head, or let them rest down by your sides. Be very kind to your knees; try and keep the thighs in parallel lines. Stay there and breathe.

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7

Belly stretcher

Rest both knees on the floor, hip width apart. Prop your feet up on your toes. Start with your hands on your lower back. Inhale and lift up and lengthen through your spine. Exhale, push your belly button forward and let your head gently drop back. If you can, reach down and place your hands on your heels. Keep the feeling of pushing your beautiful full belly forward, as you feel long through the front and back lines of your body.

9

Food coma with cushions

You’ll need the bolster from the previous pose for this one too, and another pillow. Lie down and bring the soles of the feet together, with legs bent. Position a pillow under each knee so the legs are comfortable. Take your rolled up yoga mat (or blanket) and position it so that it’s across your back, lying just at the bottom of your shoulder blades. Drape yourself over it, either with arms up over your head or down by your side if that’s uncomfortable. Relax, breathe, smile and be grateful.


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Blossom your yoga practice in a world-renowned centre of excellence. Lendrick Lodge – The Perfect International Yoga Centre for your event • Happy, loving environment for your groups to shine • Yoga space for large groups • Beautiful en-suite accommodation • Only one hour’s drive from two international airports • Stunning location, with walks, waterfalls and sunrises to enjoy • Delicious vegetarian and vegan food

Love Your Body Detox

7pm Friday 10 – 2pm Sunday 12 March A rejuvenating weekend to experience different therapies and healing. This highly enjoyable weekend will revitalise your body, emotionally and physically. You can attend individual and group

sessions with a variety of professional therapists. Enjoy sessions that can add life to your years and years to your life! And, have some well deserved time to yourself.

Receptivity – The Necessity of an Empty Mind with Sandra Sabatini & Michal Havkin 4pm Thursday 20 – 2pm Monday 24 July Join Sandra Sabatini, who was Vanda Scaravelli’s primary student. Vanda Scaravelli’s legacy is a constant encouragement towards exploration and inventiveness. During the five days in Lendrick Lodge Sandra Sabatini and her co-teacher Michal Havkin will offer five hours of practice a day and an evening meditation. The sessions will incorporate some Feldenkries movements towards

facilitating a playful and different experience of yoga positions. The unfolding of the body will go along with the unfolding of the breath supported by a slow and meditative approach. For committed students and teachers of the yoga path, drawing from the very essence of Vanda Scaravelli’s lineage, within the beauty of Lendick Lodge. Lochs, mountains and beautiful wilderness await you!

Supporting your success in the heart of wilderness

Join us on Facebook

Lendrick Lodge, Brig O’Turk, Callander, FK17 8HR Tel: 0044 (0) 1877 376 263 email: info@lendricklodge.com www.lendricklodge.com


om mind

Rock

Soul

&

Making yoga more fun with music. This month’s OM cover model Randalle Love from Greeneville, Tennessee in the USA talks about how music can really ignite your practice and mark your own personal style

M

usic has always been a huge part of my life. As a baby, my mother remembers holding me while listening to her radio, and whenever The Rolling Stones song, ‘Beast of Burden’ came on, I would move my little premature body to the beat. When I opened my yoga studio, Love Yoga, three years ago, I started playing the typical, quiet, Zen-like music that I’d heard at other studios in the past. But I soon grew bored of this and decided to only play music that I loved - music that takes me to another place, music to make me feel true emotion. And I figured that if I do what felt right to me, it would

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attract students who were also looking for something a little different. I was right! Students regularly comment after a class on how they love the music. To me, atmosphere is everything. I prefer low lighting, loose, flowing transitions in poses, and of course, lots of good tunes. I love to incorporate and mix together music from artists such as Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, Mazzy Star, Bob Marley, Zero 7, The Beatles, Thievery Corporation, Cake, just to name a few…along with more yoga-ish artists such as Krishna Das, Jai Jagdeesh, Snataum Kaur, Wah!, and DJ Drez. If it’s a rainy, dreary day, it’s nice to have a slow, introspective playlist, or on a sunny, cheerful day, to have a more upbeat, energising soundtrack.


om mind

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om body Boost your yoga

Randalle and friends

Here are some ways in which music accentuates my yoga practice: n M ovement: Moving with the music, in and out of poses, allows grace and ease in the body, and also helps to push me through the more challenging poses. n R eleasing of the mind: When I hear beautiful music, my busy mind is calm, I am purely in the moment. n H ealing: Music has a way of bringing me back to times when I first heard a song. Whether those times were good or bad, this is a way to acknowledge those memories and feelings, and allow myself to move forward. n L ess distractions: I know this sounds counter intuitive, but for many people, silence is distracting. Have you ever been in a very quiet yoga class and heard someone’s stomach rumbling, someone clearing their throat, heavy breathing, or other bodily sounds? Yes, the goal, I suppose, is to be so focused that these outside influences do not disturb us, but we are not all at that point. Music provides a buffer to free you from these distractions and to not feel conspicuous with your own sounds. So, whether you are a yoga teacher, or just like to break out your mat at home from time to time, go with your intuition, and don’t be afraid to think outside the typical yoga box when it comes to music and other sounds. And, most importantly, have fun. Discover more about Randalle Love and her passion for all things yoga and music at: facebook.com/studioloveyoga

RANDALLE’S PLAYLISTS

Here are two of Randalle Love’s own favourite playlists for her yoga practice. One is more energising, the other slower and more calming. These are for an hour practice, starting off slow, building to the peak, then winding down until Savasana. Enjoy! ENERGISING 1. Pink Floyd - Shine on You Crazy Diamond 2. DJ Drez - Krishna’s Dub 3. Led Zeppelin - No Quarter 4. DJ Drez - Om Hrim 5. The Beatles - Love You To 6. Krishna Das - Narayana 7. DJ Drez - Narayana 8. Glass Animals - Toes 9. Mazzy Star - Into Dust 10.  Jonathan Goldman - Anahata 4th Chakra (Savasana)

Randalle with husband, Paul and her boys Liam and Colin

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CALMING 1. Desert Dwellers - The Dub Sutras 2. Bad Company - Seagull 3. Mazzy Star - Into Dust 4. Wah! - Ganesh Mantra 5. Wah! - Is it love? 6. The Grateful Dead - Ripple 7. Zero 7 - Waiting Line 8. Jai Jagdeesh - Sarovar 9. Marconi Union - Weightless (Savasana)


om body

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om body

YOGA THERAPY Neuropathic pain

Practical yoga therapy The Problem Neuropathic pain is a complex, chronic techniques to start you pain state that is usually accompanied by tissue injury. With neuropathic pain, the on the road to health: nerve fibres themselves may be damaged, physically, mentally, dysfunctional, or injured. These damaged fibres send incorrect signals to other emotionally and spiritually. nerve pain centres. The impact of nerve fibre injury includes a change in nerve function both at By Sarah Swindlehurst

and numbness around the area of complaint. This article is focused on someone who might have tissue damage and/or nerve injury around the base of the spine. Yoga and physical therapy, breathing techniques and mindfulness can ease any pain associated with this condition. It is important not to aggravate all the the site of injury and areas around the injury. spine and to move slowly with the breathing. The breath will bring healing Prana to the less strong areas and, with a focused mind, will Symptoms of neuropathic pain may incude help the body to heal. a shooting and burning pain, or a tingling

The Solution

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om body Yoga Crocodile Pose (Makarasana)

Lion Pose (Simhasana)

Lie on the front of your body. Inhale and come onto your elbows. Cup your head/ chin with your hands. The wrists are under the chin, and the palms are facing upwards with the fingers coming up and over the sides of the face. Lift your chest up and lengthen through the body. Transfer your weight evenly through your body. Hold in this posture for up to five breaths and then exhale release down. Rest for a couple of breaths and then repeat. Affirmation: I am mindful in all I do (inhale/exhale).

Yoga Lion Pose (Simhasana)

Starting in a kneeling position with the hands held in fists in front of you. Inhale through the nose (if you can!) and then exhale out through the mouth making a roar sound (like a lion), whilst sticking your tongue out and opening your fingers into a claw shape. Also as you exhale, look at the tip of your nose (crossing the eyes). Do this as many times as you like. Affirmation: I release all fears and pains from my whole being (exhale) and bring in complete goodness (inhale).

Yoga Eagle Pose (Garudasana)

From standing, place your weight on to the left foot and bend the knee slightly. Then bend the right knee a little and bring the right foot in front and around the left lower leg, so that the right foot ‘hooks’ around the left calf area (or place it to the side of the leg instead). Balance here as you bring both arms out to the sides of the body parallel to the floor. Inhale, and then exhale as you bring both arms in front and cross the right arm over the left at the elbows (palms are facing upwards at this point). Next, wrap the right forearm under the left and turn the hands around to face with palms together. Thumbs are in front of face and the gaze is forwards or upwards towards third eye (forehead). Eagle Pose (Garudasana)

Breathe here for three breaths and then inhale up, and exhale release the pose. Repeat on the other side. Affirmation: I follow my inner knowing and guidance with trust (inhale/exhale).

have been shown to provide for decreased cell death from injury and may offer significant protection against future damage. Supplement your diet if necessary with a multi-vitamin, vitamin D drops, fish oil, and super-greens.

Pranayama Alternate Nostril Breathing What your body is saying This symptom suggests that the person (Nadi Shonana) is tired, worn out and possibly stressed Begin sitting with your back straight. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Now, position you hand over your nose, have the thumb over the right nostril, the first two fingers over the third eye (centre of forehead) and the last two fingers over the left nostril. Start by closing the right nostril and breathing in through the left. Then close the left nostril and breathe out through the right nostril. After the exhalation, breathe in through the same nostril (right) and then close that nostril and breathe out through the left. Repeat as above. Breathe like this for up to nine rounds – starting and finishing on the left. Affirmation: So (inhale) ham (exhale).

Nutrition

Firstly, avoid if possible all refined sugars and grain foods, as well as processed foods. Cook whole foods like vegetables and steamed proteins and use anti-inflammatory extras such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, cloves and rosemary which will help if there is any inflammation. Eat Omega-3 fats from food sources including sardines, salmon, walnuts and flax seeds as these

or anxious. The lower back relates to the sacral chakra and a little in the solar plexus chakra, so the energy here may not be functioning as it could be. The second chakra (Svadhishthana – Sacral) is quite an emotional centre and so if you are feeling things emotionally then this is the area to look at. The third chakra (Manipura – Solar) is a more masculine centre and a mental power centre so if you are feeling a lack of control also, then I would suggest you focus here. Overwhelm and feeling out of control at times with situations in your life have possibly over time being getting ‘on your nerves’ and irritating you subconsciously (or consciously) and you now need to let your feelings be known and to let negativity go. These feelings could be related to family, business or another sensitive area in your life but with some quiet restorative yoga the answers to your questions will come. Less working out, and more working in…inside you, that is. Sarah Swindlehurst is the founder of The Yogic Prescription. Should you wish for her to write about any ailment or issue, please email her at: sarah@theyogicprescription.com

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OMFM OM FOR MEN

Inside:

Page 51: Finding your flow Page 54: Man on the mat

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Finding your flow Yoga helped Dan Peppiatt manage anxiety and navigate some of life’s other challenges. Here, the yoga teacher, martial arts fan and surf junkie, based in Devon, talks about his approach to helping students find their own unique voice through his Yoga Like Water teacher training

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ike most people I am the sum of many contradictions, it has just taken me a long time to come to terms with that. I am very risk averse but have created some of the UK’s most cutting edge pyrotechnic effects. I was born, bred and still love rowdiest Essex but am forever torn between the buzzing energy of urban life and the isolated tranquility of rural living. I was the school phobic child that confusingly grew up to be a (school phobic) school teacher. And I am still the anxiety sufferer who loves to climb without ropes, surf stormy Atlantic waves in the middle of winter and spent years full contact kickboxing. It makes no sense! Sometimes when I tell people what I have done I see them trying to work out if this is all possible in the time I have been alive or if I am a compulsive liar spinning an elaborate tale. My life has been a non-stop adventure, that’s for sure: from time studying at medical school, working as an archaeologist, blowing things up, building giant sculptures and stages at festivals and getting paid for it, teaching A level chemistry and biology as well as nursery and reception classes, growing up in Essex and London, moving to a derelict smallholding in rural France and rebuilding it alone, moving to the very north of Scotland and bringing our children up for five years on a canal boat. For someone with life-long

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FM anxiety I have constantly pushed my limits. Aside from my family and my anxiety the only constant has been my practice of yoga. My journey began with an Indian locum, in an Essex doctor’s surgery in the mid-nineties. My mum had been ill when I was young and from the very first day when I had to leave her I had been irrationally terrified of school, of being trapped in the building all day, of not knowing if my mum was safe while I was in class, of worrying if I had forgotten to turn off the light switches and the house had burnt down. I felt helpless at school, disempowered. Even very early on I felt terrified whenever I contemplated that I couldn’t just get up and walk out when I wanted. My anxieties soon turned into a multitude of physical complaints – a constant feeling of sickness and by the time I was in my mid to late teens I was suffering from terrible back spasms that would leave me laid out on the floor barely able to breath.

Yogic prescription

So one more trip to the doctors for anti-inflammatories (anxiety was never mentioned…I don’t think that I or anyone else ever considered that my ‘tendency to

worry’ might be the source of my problems) but this time I was confronted by a new doctor, who with that reassuring head waggle of the sub-continent, simply informed me, “Mr Daniel, you really should do some yoga”. It took me some time to take this on board. After all, the pills seemed to work well enough and at the time yoga was very much the preserve of church halls and blue rinsed ladies of a certain age. But then my girlfriend (now my wife), decided to start attending a yoga class with a young teacher who had just returned from training in Kerala and I decided to tag along. After years of martial arts I really thought I was the man. My first class and I was able to ‘do’ all of the poses; I was super stretchy and gung-ho enough to play with the inversions. I had ‘cracked’ yoga already after just an hour! Of course it took me time to realise that I was actually far less ‘yogic’ than probably anyone in that class - my anxiety was apparently only rivalled by my ego but, over time, the postures helped with the physical ailments and eventually the meditation and relaxation started to help with the root cause.

“I have always preferred to practice on my own than to attend a class. I am freer to experiment, to move at my own pace and to really feel what I need mentally and physically on a day-to-day basis.”

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My kind of yoga

I have always preferred to practice on my own than to attend a class. I am freer to experiment, to move at my own pace and to really feel what I need mentally and physically on a day-to-day basis. I borrow elements of asana from any style: Dharma to Sivananda, Vinyasa to Rocket, movement patterns from surfing, martial arts and climbing. Movement is movement; somebody made up every asana, they weren’t suddenly delivered to us from above. I am just continuing that organic process without the imaginary boundaries of there being a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to practice. My breathing practice is inspired just as much by my lifelong relationship with asthma and free-diving techniques as it is by traditional yogic Pranayama practices, whilst I draw my philosophical musings as much from Krishnamurti, ‘The Matrix’ and Bruce Lee as I do from Patanjali, Buddhism and the Vedas. I am lucky enough now to live in North Devon, sandwiched between Exmoor national park and the wild Atlantic Ocean. If there are waves, large or small, rain, wind or snow, summer or the middle of winter, I’ll be out at first light and in the water on my surfboard. That might well be my asana for


FM the day. I don’t feel the need to spend three hours paddling around in the sea, away from the world getting my mind clear, doing lots of breath holding and stretching and then come back to do another two hours of asana, pranayama and meditation. I’m no spring chicken anymore and my body certainly wouldn’t be up for that. For me, there is genuinely no separation from ‘yoga’ and the rest of life. The last thing I want from yoga is to inadvertently put up entirely new walls in a misguided effort to liberate myself from other things that I perceive to be trapping me. I have never felt at all comfortable with any regimented style or practice; it conjures up exactly the same discomfort as being imprisoned in the classroom. For me, yoga is all about feeling, about being intuitive, authentic and true to yourself. I can’t take someone else’s coat and think that I will ever be truly comfortable by squeezing myself into it. I prefer to rip up the best bits of all the coats that I like and tailor them into an absolutely perfect fit for myself. That is how I practice and that is how I teach. I encourage everyone to make their own coats…I don’t want them to try and wear mine but I’m happy to give them a needle, thread and some fabric if it helps.

Yoga Like Water

My dad was a senior Ju-Jitsu instructor and I grew up in the late 70s explosion or martial arts films that I was probably too young to be watching! As a result, I was a huge fan of Bruce Lee as a kid, he was certainly my childhood hero. Not just his films but his entire philosophy on life. He was a really deep guy, his amazing energy and focus went way beyond Kung Fu; he was even the Hong Kong Cha Cha Cha champion! He used this lovely analogy of ‘being like water’, flowing formless and shapeless; the ability to be strong and powerful like a wave or soft and gentle like a stream. A lot of it was influenced by Taoism, Buddhism and by Krishnamurti - he drew from everything, even from yoga. In his most famous book, the Tao of Jeet Kune Do, he introduces various recognisable yoga postures through the medium of Indian wrestling exercises. He was totally unapologetic about his approach to the very purist martial arts world of the era. I guess, more than anything, I respected the logical route that he chose: it was intelligent, strong and confident, yet totally non-confrontational. That’s where Yoga Like Water grew from, I wanted to pick and choose the most effective and efficient way of understanding and practicing yoga,

whatever that might be and wherever that came from; of course the fact that I spend an awful lot of my time in the ocean only lends a deeper feel for this very natural way of experiencing ‘yoga’.

Vive la difference

I am passionate about spreading this slightly odd philosophy of mine, not in pushing it out there, but in supporting other people to know that it’s okay to find your own yoga - you don’t have to subscribe to anything special to be ‘yogic’. Many will certainly disagree with me, believing that I have moved way too far from what yoga ‘is’ - it isn’t my place to persuade anyone that I am correct or they are wrong and I’m not especially interested in doing so, chances are that their path is perfect for them, right now at least. But for those that are inclined to walk a path of their own I am happy to share. I teach workshops in wonderful studios all over the country, meeting thousands of different yogis. No matter what the topic is that I’m teaching, the experiential method is the same: self-guided investigation, me doing 40% of the work via questioning and the students doing 60% themselves

by discovering and exploring. I have been in the fortunate position to take this much further with a team of the most amazing yogis from around the country and together we have created an entirely organic, style-less, system-less, 200 hour immersive teacher training (though I really hate that term as it is so much more than that). We have facilitators from an enormous range of styles and backgrounds. They include: Mimi Kuo Deemer teaching Qigong inspired flow and energetic movement; Toni Roberts covering all things related to the mind and the psychotherapy of yoga; Lolo Lam extending her years of anatomical knowledge in intensive care nursing in the most experiential way possible; and Jambo Truong working on advanced and intuitive teaching skills. I fill in the gaps and make sure that everyone is being true to themselves and not trying to emulate their favourite tutor. The next Yoga Like Water teacher training courses commence: London Light Centre (April 2017). Devon & Shrewsbury (March 2017) Scholarship places also available. Find out more at: yogalikewater.com

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MAN ON THE MAT:

WITH JUAN VILLEGAS

Revolved Half Moon (Parivrtta Adha Chandrasana)

Benefits

This pose is a great combination of lengthening, balancing and twisting. The extension of the arms in opposite directions creates elongation across the muscles of the chest and spaciousness in the cavity where the heart resides. This is the perfect pose for strengthening the bones and muscles of the standing leg, improving balance. The twisting action in the torso stimulates the digestive system as well as the vertebral discs keeping them flexible and healthy. Somatically, the spinal rotation stimulates Manipura Chakra responsible for cultivating qualities such as self-control, personal power and humour. It also stimulates Muladhara Chakra which creates a sense of grounding, security and patience.

Common Mistakes

If there is a lack of flexibility in the hips and the hamstring muscles of the standing leg, the spine will tend to flex forward and round creating unhealthy compression on the vertebral discs. On the other hand if the hamstring muscles of the floating leg are not engaged properly the leg will not fully extend and it will feel extra heavy and this will also collapse the hip which is supporting that floating leg. Tightness in the chest muscles will create internal rotation of the top shoulder. The back of the neck tends to compress so be aware of the neck and keep it in one line with the spine. Finally watch for knee hyperextension of the standing leg and micro bend the knee to protect the back ligaments of this joint.

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Tips

n T he principles behind this pose are hip opening, arm extension, balance and spinal rotation so Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II) is an accessible yet challenging pose which warms up the hips, grounds the legs and brings awareness to spinal and arms extension. n T  ree pose (Vrksasana), Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana III) and Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana) are great poses to create awareness in the bones of the legs and muscles that aid in one leg balancing and they also serve as hip openers. n A fter creating awareness in the legs, hips and arms, the spine can be warmed up for rotation with poses such as Revolved Chair (Parivrtta Utkatasana), Revolved Lunge (Parivrtta Anjaneyasana), and Revolved Triangle (Parivrtta Trikonasana). Be mindful of lengthening the spine with each exhalation to avoid vertebral disc compression. Use a block under the grounding hand to aid in the lengthening of the spine.

Awareness

Use caution when practicing this asana if you have any knee or ankle injuries, shoulder or neck injuries. Finally watch for lower back compression: if it hurts, reduce the amount of spinal rotation. You want to keep your body young, healthy and injury free by listening to it.

Juan Villegas (yogateachertrainingyogacara.com)


home yoga 21-page special report Everything you need to start your own home yoga practice today

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home yoga special report

No place like home

T

The best way to start doing yoga is simply to start

here’s no better way to get your new year off to a flying start and make any healthy living changes stick longterm than a regular yoga practice. Yoga is good for your mind, body and soul – it’s a total life workout. If you’re new to yoga then it’s great if you can book yourself onto a course at a nearby studio, but if you’re short of time, or cash, or you live in the countryside, then don’t be afraid to get things going at home. The most important thing is just to begin. At first, take it easy, listen to your body and stay on the safe side to prevent injury, but apart from that you’re good to go. You don’t really need anything to start your practice although a nice grippy mat will help you once you do get down to business. And once you know that yoga is definitely for you then you might want to think about investing in other bits of kit, like blocks and bolsters, maybe even some striking new yoga pants to reward yourself for all your positive efforts. Initially, just create a nice comfortable spot where you can stretch out fully, and enjoy spending time knowing that you are investing in your better self. Explore some of the free yoga content on YouTube or check out some of the trial offers with the specialist online yoga

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providers. Look around and find a teacher, style or routine that you enjoy, something that’s pitched at your level, and go for it. Who needs expensive class fees? Above all, enjoy your practice in the comfort of your own home. This is time for you, for your physical and mental health and wellbeing, and it will pay dividends later on – probably sooner than you think. Take time for some relaxation, or Savasana, at the end of your practice too to fully reap the benefits. If you’re still unsure about what you’re doing, then just try sitting quietly in a meditative mood, to enjoy a moment of calm, or type in Yoga Nidra on your laptop for a gentle but truly powerful healing experience. There are free ones online. Of course, when time allows, make your way to an actual studio class to connect with others, meet like-minded people and experience yoga under the watchful eye of a trained teacher. This is a great way to elevate your practice and spur you on. But the real ‘gold’ in yoga is the daily practice, or the routine. Dip into an oasis of calm and meditation, or test yourself physically whenever you can for the best results – and this is typically only possible if you can start to integrate yoga into your day-to-day life. Remember: there’s no place like home.


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home yoga special report

Live Show

5 reasons why you should join a live yoga class 1. Correct your form

Do you ever feel pain in your knees or lower back during your practice? When you switch your live camera on during your yoga class, you’ll be in safer hands as yoga teachers will aim to ensure you find the right movements and asanas for your body. If you have any questions about the exercise, you can ask for tips from instructors directly by chat. And if the idea of being seen publicly is troubling you, don’t panic - only the yoga instructor can see you, no one else in the class. Plus they are only interested in making sure you have a fun and safe class, not how clean your house is.

2. We all stretch together

Do you ever find yourself trying to get out of the inconvenience and discomfort of stretching? We know the feeling - especially when you haven’t stretched for a while it can be uncomfortable. So, when instructors see that ‘look’ on your face - they may encourage you to stay strong. Although you won’t be able to see the other participants struggling too, the energy from the instructors will definitely keep you going through those difficult yoga movements. Smiling makes everything easier.

3. Learn something new

When a small child is learning to walk, they stumble to the ground and get back up time and time again - until one day the falling stops and the steps continue. Learning new things is amazing, but sometimes frustrating. During a live class, expert teachers are on hand to give tips that will help you move forward with your practice. A small change in your hand position could be key to making your yoga easier.

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4. 21 days is key

Research shows that adoption of a new habit takes 21 days to stick. So, if getting to your class is a struggle then use the advantage of your calendar to schedule your live classes. When you start to book your classes on a regular basis at certain times you’ll find that your flow comes naturally and that your yoga regime will always be included in your day-to-day life.

5. Contribute

When you become comfortable and familiar with your instructor tell them about your needs and wants for the class. The more they know about you the better they can teach you. Teachers love feedback and are always looking for new ideas to take into their next class. So, be proactive and tell the them what you think. It benefits everyone! Get 30 free days of unlimited live online classes with Yogaia. (yogaia.com/omyoga)


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home yoga special report

Starting a home yoga practice If you’d like to start a home yoga practice but don’t know where to begin, here are 10 tips. By Kirsty Tomlinson from EkhartYoga.com

1 Buy a mat and grab some props

One of the best things about yoga is that you don’t need much equipment. However, a sticky mat and props can help your alignment and make some poses more comfortable.

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2 Make space

If possible, try and find a peaceful place to practice with space for you to stretch out. You could personalise your space with things like candles and incense, or a photograph that inspires you.

3 Commit to an achievable time

Are you a morning or evening person? Could you squeeze in a bit of yoga into your lunch break? As for the ‘ideal’ length of time to practice, go with what works best for you.


5 A little planning may save a lot of time

If you’re doing an online class and your time is really stretched, you can decide which class you’re going to do the day before. Just press play and away you go!

6 Make it fun

When you’re starting out, practice poses that you enjoy so you’ll have an incentive to roll out your mat. What about doing yoga to your favourite music or practicing with friends?

7 Follow your body’s lead

If you’re used to following an online class, once a week, get on your mat and do your own thing. Any time that you take to tune in and truly listen to your body and let it – rather than your mind – lead the way, is yoga.

8 Meditation and pranayama

A home practice is a great opportunity to build a meditation and pranayama practice. Even five minutes of breathing incorporated into your asana practice will leave you feeling centred and relaxed.

9 Stick with it

If you’re one of those people who seek the ‘perfect’ practice, know that it doesn’t exist. Unless there’s a genuine reason to stop practicing, try and see it through. It’s the nature of the monkey mind to search for ‘perfection’ but whatever unfolds, you will learn something from what you do.

10 Cut yourself some slack

If squeezing in your home practice between work and family commitments causes you more stress than going to a class, that’s okay. The key thing is that you show up on your mat, open, present, accepting and curious. Join EkhartYoga.com this January for a guided online yoga programme and enjoy a balanced home practice for 21 days: Balanced Boost: Mindful Fit Flows.

4 Beware of the 3 P’s

Honour your body’s boundaries. Avoid pain, pinching and pushing. Pain feels hot and sharp, whereas discomfort is more of a dull, nagging sensation. Stop if it’s inside the joint structure and be mindful in transitions.

EkhartYoga.com is a vibrant online community where like-minded people share their love, experience and knowledge for yoga and meditation. With over 2,000 videos taught by an eclectic mix of international teachers, it has something for everyone. Become a member for just €1 for the first month.


home yoga special report

The best intentions

Don’t underestimate the power of intention in making a home-based practice a regular part of your life

E

ven if you’re lucky enough to have built your own incredible studio at home, that’s no guarantee you’ll ever step on the mat. It all boils down to you and your commitment. The yoga’s all in the ‘doing’ - whether that’s a short meditation, or an hour’s sweaty workout - so set an intention to make it happen. Like signing up to a set of New Year’s resolutions, by setting an intention before you begin you’re creating the right environment to become more of the person you want to be. It’s also a little like typing the coordinates into your SatNav. On a practical level, don’t make it too tough for yourself. If you’re struggling for time, just commit to one or two minutes on your mat each day; even that will offer some respite from your hectic schedule. Many people find that one or two minutes can easily lead to five minutes, though, or more, as they’re enjoying themselves so much. And once you get to that stage then yoga is starting to become a part of your life. You’ll soon be allocating half an hour (or more) for your ‘class’. Setting an intention to do a short yoga session each day might also have a profound impact on other areas of your life. A regular yoga practice can be a powerful tool in identifying limiting beliefs, to drive you on to better things, enabling you to live a cleaner, more compassionate and healthful life. Deploy mindfulness into your day, so that you can practice ‘yoga’ wherever you go - at work, at home or on the bus even. As soon as you start to integrate yoga into your life, on a regular and sustained basis, the transformation begins. And it all starts with an intention, a choice to go for it. Try it, or you’ll never know.

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home yoga special report

Yoga 24/7 We’ve scanned the web for some fab online yoga providers

With over 40 world-class teachers, Yogaia live streams and records over 100 new yoga, meditation, and fitness classes for all levels to its 10,000+ members, every week. Also offers interactive classes, allowing students to turn on their webcam to receive real-time feedback and alignment tips from teachers – all through their laptop and in the comfort of their own home. OM readers get an exclusive 30 days free! yogaia.com/omyoga

Ekhart Yoga

A huge depository of ultra high quality online yoga and meditation classes. Created in 2011 by the inspirational Esther Ekhart, a renowned international teacher from the Netherlands, the site has flourished ever since and is an excellent resource for practicing yoga at home. ekhartyoga.com

Kundalini Lounge

If Kundalini Yoga is what you’re after then this is the place for you. With classes ranging from two minutes to two hours, and featuring instructors from across the world, it’s the perfect online venue for those seeking to advance their practice at home, whatever level you’re at. kundalinilounge.com

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Movement For Modern Life

For busy lives, find room to breathe and space to grow with Movement For Modern Life. A handpicked selection of the very best teachers, this is yoga in your own time. Brit-based yoga site with stacks of super high quality videos from just two minutes to full 90 minute classes. Join the Movement! movementformodernlife.com

Yagavar

Interactive yoga classes from the comfort of your living room. One of the new kids on the block, Yagavar is not a video service - the teachers are live and see you in the lesson to adjust your yoga practice via your webcam. yagavar.com Image courtesy of ekhartyoga.com

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home yoga special report

Mats Entertainment Pick your companion for your home yoga adventure

Eco Yoga Mats - £27.50 (4mm), £30.90 (6mm)

Grip Dot Yoga Towel - £25.00

JadeYoga Two Tone Lavender / Purple

Organic Cotton Yoga Bolster, Printed - £38.70

The Stretch Now Eco Yoga Mat has a patterned soft surface that provides superb traction to ensure you are grounded in your postures without slipping. Made from newly developed and patented TPE (Thermal Plastic Elastomer) foam, the mats contain no latex, PVC or rubber, and use no toxic materials in production; they’re also bio-degradable once discarded. Available in a variety of colours and two different thicknesses. stretchnow.com

The new Jade two tone Lavender over Purple yoga mat is available for a limited time. Two colours on one mat - choose your colour for your practice. Jade Lavender over Purple is 3/16” (5mm) - the same thickness as the popular Harmony Professional Mat and is available in 71” (180cm) long. jadeyogashop.eu

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The super-absorbent Grip Dot Yoga Towel is highly versatile. Use it with the dots down for an anti-slip yoga mat on its own or use it with the dots up on top of a class mat for hygiene or extra grip - ideal for use in hot or power yoga. The towel also makes a great travel yoga mat as it folds up to fit in your suitcase. yoga-mad.com

The Stretch Now Yoga Bolster is a premium bolster made to the highest standards for both individual and studio use. A wide variety of colours and prints to suit all tastes and specific interior decors. The covers are made from zippered, washable 100% organic cotton that will withstand years of yoga practice. The filling is natural kapok which provides firm density and at the same time makes the bolster light and easy to carry. Length: 75 cm Diameter: 22 cm Weight: 1.9 kg stretchnow.com


Mad about yoga? 4

Whatever your goals ar e this year, yoga-Mad equipMent can help you achieve theM!

YOGA MATS | YOGA PROPS | MEDITATION | YOGA ACCESSORIES | TOESOX www.Yoga-Mad.com

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home yoga special report

Home delivery

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Just because you’re not going to the studio doesn’t mean the yoga teacher can’t come to you

ood news if you live in the capital. The Private Yogi (theprivateyogi.com) specialises in private and business yoga classes in homes, offices or hotel rooms, with equipment provided with the best yoga teachers London has to offer. Design your own yoga class at your fingertips, whilst enjoying a cup of tea at home. Simply download The Private Yogi app on your smartphone to book on-the-go or visit the website. Choose your desired yoga style and preferred teacher, select a date and time that is convenient for you and hit the button ‘Book’. Although the service currently covers the London area the goal is to roll coverage out nationally soon. Offering yoga styles from Vinyasa to Yin and teachers specialising in different areas such as yoga for depression, running, pregnancy and injuries – there’s something for everyone. “The Private Yogi is a family. Our teachers nurture their students and practice traditional yoga with them as it was taught 5,000 years ago, on a 1-2-1 basis,” says the company’s founder and yoga teacher Charlotte Morse. It means you get the luxury of your own teacher in your own home

or office - now that’s what home yoga is all about! And, of course, private yoga classes offer something different to a group class. You get the privacy and a personalised experience with a teacher’s undivided attention - and without the apprehension of ‘how good you are’ if you’re a beginner, says Morse. She says students have the chance to have a class tailored around their needs every time they book: one week they might need more balance in their life, the next some flexibility, the choice in endless. “It really allows both the teacher and the student to learn from one another, without any distractions,” she adds. “We encourage development of one another and every one of our teachers leads workshops and retreats to clients and staff. We really are unique, we don’t just offer classes, we offer a journey of physical and spiritual development for everyone”. And if practicing yoga on your own at home with a teacher seems a little daunting at first, don’t worry; The Private Yogi also offers duo private classes to help you find your yogi feet with a friend or loved one, spreading the cost as you go. Private classes start from £75 with 20% off for first time customers.

“The Private Yogi is a family. Our teachers nurture their students and practice traditional yoga with them as it was taught 5,000 years ago, on a 1-2-1 basis.”

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home yoga special report

Secrets to making a home practice space OM spoke to Kat Farrants, founder of online yoga provider Movement For Modern Life, to find out how she creates her perfect home yoga space

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often get asked about how to create a home yoga space. It’s a really important question. For me, the creation of a space at home that feels as sacred, welcoming and beautiful as a studio is key for my daily home practice. I don’t think that there’s a certain feng shui that’ll make your practice more meaningful and transformative. But it is important to have somewhere that’s an inspiring and safe space for you to move and breathe deeply; a space where, if just for five minutes, is yours to inhabit fully and move freely. We all have our own feeling about feng shui and intentions for making yoga your own, and it is important that you follow your heart – your teacher – in creating your space as well as in your practice.

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As a busy and practical person, the most important thing for me is that it must be somewhere accessible. I just want to get on and do it, somewhere I will actually roll out my mat and get moving every single day.

Location, location

I don’t actually have a room that I always practice in. But what is really important to me is breaking down the barriers, so that there’s no ‘hard’ in yoga. As I love to do yoga before bed, I create a little space right next to my bed by the wall, which is great for nighttime poses. It’s not a big space, but it’s enough for some supine twists, quiet Yin and


“It is important to have somewhere that’s an inspiring and safe space for you to move and breathe deeply; a space where, if just for five minutes, is yours to inhabit fully and move freely.” Restorative yoga and legs up the wall. I make it cosy and inspiring by putting meaningful pictures next to some tea lights. It’s simple, welcoming, cosy and the important thing is that it’s a space that I want to dive into to get relaxed before bed. For my daytime yoga space, because I work from home, I often have a mat rolled out in my living room, so there’s no excuse not to just dive onto the mat for a break during the day. I love to do bursts of yoga in the day to keep my body moving and my mind focused and creative. I live in a cottage with a low ceiling, and folks ask how I practice, but life’s all about being creative with what we have! Although I can’t stretch up with my arms above my head, I make the space work for me by extending elbows overhead. Yoga is all about

flexibility in body and mind. Don’t let physical limitations hinder your practice, but be creative with it. Although many keep pets, children, partners, locked out during practice, personally, I like to keep yoga as part of my everyday living and welcome all to my space.

Making it evocative

The beauty of practicing yoga at home is that yoga can be revelled in as a sacred inner practice, not a workout or a public show of bendiness. Keep your practice space inspiring and evocative, for example, creating a little altar near your mat to remind you of your higher intentions. I have an altar that I place in the front of my mat in the living room. It has some photos and meaningful objects on it, as well as a candle. It reminds me of a higher purpose and to practice for others, as well as for myself. If you like intention-setting at the start of your practice, make it really easy in your home practice. Intention-setting cards or angel cards can be wonderful for creating the right tone for you practice. Candlelight seems to magically create the right space for yoga, so I can put down my phone and make the intention to not respond to distractions.

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home yoga special report You might also want to keep some lovely scent by your mat. Scent seems to be particularly evocative for setting a certain tone. Take time to choose something you really like and pick a lovely scent or yoga oils to keep by your mat to evoke your sense of intention in your yoga practice.

Don’t stress about fashion

The joy of a home practice is you don’t have to change – in any sense of the word. You don’t have to pretend to be a young, hip thing, or more bendy than you are. Be exactly as you are and wear just what you’re wearing. Fabrics that are lovely and touchable, organic, comfortable, I think, are so much more tempting to move in at home. I often practice in PJ’s or wear nothing at all. Well, isn’t that the joy of practicing in the comfort of your own home? The trick to your own practice space is bespoking…that is, to think deeply about what motivates you in an initial set up of what you love in terms of sounds, scents and styles, so you don’t need to think about it again when you’re ready to move, it’s all ready to go just when you are. That’s what makes for a great home yoga space. Kat Farrants is the founder of online yoga platform Movement For Modern Life (movementformodernlife.com)

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100% Natural Rubber & Jute Yoga Mats

Excellent Grip !

Made in the UK

If Yoga holds the potential to transform the Body-Mind landscape, why not complement your practice: Embrace the health of the Earth’s landscape too !

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home yoga special report

Homewares Everything you need to turn your home into your yoga sanctuary

ToeSox Full Toe Bellarina in Groove - £13.00

Bellarina struts her stuff with a heel tab that provides extra comfort and protection to the Achilles tendon. She rocks an arch band for graceful lift and support. Wear Bellarina for all barefoot activities like barre, Pilates, yoga, and dance. Stick To Your Practice. toesox.biz

Deluxe Yoga Prop Bag - £25.00

Made from high quality jute with cotton liner fabric in India. The perfect size for carrying your yoga mat, props and accessories to and from your class as well as storing all your props at home in one tidy and stylish solution. The pattern is available in two colours: soothing green or uplifting orange

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Yoga Workbooks by Looxa - €10

Practical notebooks with pre-sketched postures serve as progress journals or for taking notes during the learning process. A5 format on recycled paper and with soft covers. looxa.net

Orange Blossom Candle For Higher Energy - £40

Uplift the soul with this intoxicating orange blossom candle that gives energy and balance as well as an exquisite aroma. Made of 100% natural ingredients including jojoba oil, ecosoya wax, beeswax and essential oils and 100% petroleum and chemical free. Burning Time: 50 hours. ila-spa.com

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Liberation Prison Yoga New York, NY With: Yael Stone, Anika Absar, Anneke Lucas, Oneika Mays

Nature’s Best Yoga Mat

Mission: Bring yoga and meditation to US prisons, moving towards integration instead of isolation, healing instead of punishment, and peace amid unrest - inside ourselves, and inside the prisons. Get Involved: www.liberationprisonyoga.com Mat: Jade

Great grip. Earth friendly. www.jadeyogashop.eu

Official European Distributon by YO|YOGA AG. Visit us at www.jadeyogashop.eu


travel guide 2017

travel guide

Fantastic yoga holidays to inspire you this year

2017

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A new retreat every Sunday in Bali

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Ayurvedic Healing Centre Yoga, meditation, spa, detox, discoveries & more. Over 50 retreats every year with amazing local and international leaders.

ONEWORLD ayurveda offers 7/10/14/21/28 days Ayurvedic Panchakarma healing programs.

www.oneworldretreats.com

www.oneworldayurveda.com

OM Magazine Yoga & Lifestyle

travel guide 2017

OM Yoga Travel Guide 2017

The new OM Yoga Travel Guide 2017 available to download FREE at

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BodyYoga is the culmination of many years gathering expertise and knowledge

OM_TRAVEL2017_cover.indd 1

www.ommagazine.com

at the BodyHoliday in order to create a Yoga programme to suit a wide range of needs. BodyYoga is about the pursuit of optimal wellness. Our aim is to find the right Yoga style for you and combine with sensible nutrition, therapies, relaxation and meditation. To learn more call 0203 096 1676 or visit www.thebodyholid ay.com/om-yoga

Over 50 incredible yoga retreats from around the world 30/09/2016 11:35:57

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travel guide 2017

ENERGISING AND RELAXING YOGA BY THE BEACH AT FABULOUS 4-STAR HOTELS IN SARDINIA, MAJORCA AND CROATIA Open from 1 April to 4 November, for short breaks or week-long yoga holidays. Hatha and Vinyasa flow yoga classes every morning overlooking the beach and then the rest of the day free to enjoy the beaches and fabulous local area (sailing trips to the fabulous local islands, tennis, cycling, local markets, agriturismo, wineries, spa treatments and many other activities - or relaxing by the pool or on the beach). Beginners, experienced yogis, solo travelers, couples and groups all welcome. www.sardiniayoga.com

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travel guide 2017

YOGA TURKEY • Liberating yoga retreats in Göltürkbükü, Bodrum - the Turkish riviera • May-June, Sept-Oct • Famous vegetarian and living foods

www.yogaturkey.co.uk info@yogaturkey.co.uk 020 8699 1900 (London) 0090 542 681 8009

Established in 2007, we run 40 UK weekend retreats and 10 yoga holidays a year.

SPAIN | NORWAY | WALES | TURKEY

FIND YOUR BLISS Facilitating yoga retreats and holidays for nearly 25 years

is calling

Find out why people keep coming back

SNOW SURF HIKE WELLBEING AY U R V E D A DETOX BEACH

‘My favourite yoga holiday destination’ Simon Low adventureyogi.com

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huzvad@gmail.com | www.huzurvadisi.com


*Price based on two sharing. Single supplement of ÂŁ49 applies.

Enjoy a two day yoga retreat in the heart of the Lancashire countryside. Enter a world of calm & wellbeing for two days of Yoga practice at the award-winning Spa Hotel, situated within the grounds of our five-star holiday village.

To find out more call 01772 671111 or visit ribbyhall.co.uk/yoga-retreat

Thursday 23rd & Friday 24th February 2017


om mind Meditation of the month

Love&kindness

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om mind

In a world of great uncertainty, let love and kindness guide your thoughts. By Jill Lawson

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hat does it mean to be kind? In a world fraught with uncertainties, fear and anger can easily dominate our state of being. When we have no motivation for gentle, loving thoughts toward those who disagree with us, stress levels rise, and violent acts may ensue. Showing love for someone who upsets or hurts us may seem impossible, but, kindness is necessary if we want our human race to survive. The following meditation is helpful whenever your mind becomes turbulent or agitated. Practice during times of disagreements and arguments, so you can readily retreat to the calm ocean of your soul.

Do it now

Lie down in a comfortable position, free from external distractions. Take several deep breaths to start letting go of your anger. Bring your awareness to sensations throughout your body. Once you’ve begun to calm the flames of rage, notice subtle changes that are taking place in your body. Perhaps you are no longer clenching your teeth. Maybe your chest softens, and you feel your heartbeat slowing down. Next, place your right hand on your belly, and your left hand over your heart. Feel under both hands, the gentle rising and falling motion of your breath, and your heart beating steadily. Let the wave-like motion of your breath, and the rhythmic beat of your heart, gently rock you to a place of peace. Now, imagine your breath and heartbeat are sending ripple-like waves through your entire body. See these waves much like the ones created when you drop a rock into still water. Visualise these waves continuing to travel, beyond the boundaries of your physical body, and then out into the world around you.

Imagine these waves are sending healing light, love, and compassion to all people on the planet. Send them to someone who makes you feel angry. Send them to someone with whom you just had an argument. Send them to all human beings in your field of imagination. When you radiate waves of love and compassion from your heart, it becomes an act of kindness. Trust that it works. On some level, those who have upset you are reaping the healing benefits of your kindness meditation. It is not used to change someone’s opinion, it is simply a method to help you dampen the awful ugliness that arises when people misunderstand, hurt, or disagree with each other. Practice as often as necessary, because as it helps you, it will indeed soften the hearts of everyone around you.

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


Competition Win a place on the RainbowLight Yoga Teacher Training (YTT200) in France* (May 6-30, 2017)

Worth €2,700

To enter please go to ommagazine.com/rainbow2017 Win a place on the RainbowLight Yoga Teacher Training (YTT200) in France. You’ll enjoy a 25 day intensive teacher training experience in magnificent countryside, surrounded by organic farmland with views of the low undulating sweeping hills in the nation’s Aquitaine region. To the west, dotted along the magnificent Atlantic Coast are the sandy surfing beaches of Hossegor, Biarritz, Capbreton and Saint-Jean-de-Luz; to the east, the wine growing regions of Tursan, Madiran and Saint Mont as well as the wonderful brandy, Armagnac; to the south, the foothills of the Pyrenees and the Basque Country, which you can see from the venue on a bright sunny day. RainbowLight Yoga Teacher Training (YTT200) focuses on yoga as a holistic spiritual practice. It takes an in-depth study of yoga’s ancient Indian and Tibetan roots, and balances the knowledge and practice of the physical poses with knowledge and practices of the inner body – the channels and the chakras, as well as the practice of meditation (raja yoga). The Yoga Teacher Training in France is a 25-day intensive residential course accepting a maximum of 12 students per course. This means you get all the support and personal attention you need when embarking on such a life-changing adventure. During the course, you’ll be given a grounding in the different aspects of yoga to enrich your life and deepen your yoga practice.

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The teacher training course also covers asana practice and teaching methodology. It will give you enough practical experience to feel confident to teach your first professional class. RainbowLight Yoga is a registered school with Yoga Alliance, the largest international yoga registry. It runs a dedicated yoga school in Coudures, Landes in south-western France. As a graduate of the YTT200 Programme, you will be able to register with REPs (Register of Exercise Professionals) as an L3 Yoga Instructor in the UK and as a registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. For more information email: sunshine@rainbowlightyoga.com or visit: www.rainbowlightyoga.com

Closing date: 12 January 2017 * Terms and conditions apply. Prize is for one person. Value is €2700. Prize to be taken at RainbowLight Yoga Retreat France, 1122 Route d’Encos, 40500 Coudures from May 6-30,2017 only. Includes 24 nights accommodation, 3 simple vegetarian meals daily, course fees, certificate. Not included: Airfare to France, ground transportation (ground transfer to RainbowLight Yoga Retreat can be arranged from Mont de Marsan train station for €30 return).


W O N 17! G 0 N 2 NE TI E LI UI UN N CR J K O RE R O O F BO

Bliss Teacher Training Academy The only 200 hour Yoga Alliance UK Accredited teacher training in the West Midlands WHAT OUR CURRENT STUDENTS SAY: “The teacher training programme has been amazing – I’m really looking forward to the next weekend.” - Lis I have done teacher training courses before but none that really equip me to teach. I already feel I just can’t wait to lead a class. All my fears have gone.” - JK “Spending whole weekends with like-minded people immersed in all things yoga is a dream come true. I can’t wait to pass on what I have learned.” - Kelly

Discover Teacher Training Event Saturday 4th February 2017 11.30am - 2pm Bliss Yoga is a friendly, welcoming and authentic yoga company which has studios in Aldridge and Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham. We run retreats in Oxfordshire & Andalucia, as well as workshops and our ever-popular Yoga Foundations Course.

www.blissyoga.org.uk

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om mind spirit De-Stress: Yoga off the mat

Release your inner child

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Child Pose can bring physical and emotional release in our everyday lives, writes Charlotte Watts

hild pose or Balasana is a pose featured many, many times in most yoga sequences and for very good reason. Its name comes from replicating the foetal position that you evolved with in the womb. That curling up of knees into your belly, your head in towards your heart is the same shape you curled up before and when first born – it represents a time before you were able to sit up or stand up. The secondary curves we develop in the first year of life – the inward curves of our lower back and neck - signify what it is to be human, to stand upright and on two legs. These balance out the outward curl of the primary curves at the back of our head, the top of our back and our tail bone, cleverly stacking force to uplift from gravity, up from the ground. The resulting S-shape is cleverly engineered to allow us to stand up on to two legs and distribute the weight upwards with some ease. The pay-off that comes from freeing our arms to use when standing is that the lower back and neck tend to be areas of weakness for humans. Looking after these and being aware of how we use them is a crucial part of our spine health and how we move. We tend to create quite a lot of compression and tension in these areas in the way that we hold stress and sit on chairs, crunching into

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our spines to look at screens. So, in many of our yoga postures, we lengthen our lumbar (lower) spine and neck. We practice moving into them, stretching and twisting them, but we come back to Child Pose to allow them to drop back into that first shape, that first setting before they evolved into more support.

Releasing tension

When there’s a patterning of holding stress or long-term physical effects of tension, we often move into a pattern to unravel it. So, habits that we might be holding in the lower back or the neck could be soothed and softened by allowing those places to come back to a rounded position that feels safe and familiar, as somewhere that we were once fully protected. Human beings are also unusual in the fact that the standing up that signifies our place in the world also exposes our soft bits, our belly and our groin, to the world and it’s very natural for us to feel we need to protect those. In fact, coming into a foetal position is somewhere that we instinctively go when we feel that we need to feel a sense of safety and self-protection, drawing our knees up in towards our chest. Returning to this shape also helps cultivate a deep sense of


om mind

safety into the whole nervous system: somewhere to come to where we can nurture, a place to move out from again. Physically, that curling in (flexing the thighs into the body) is initiated by the psoas muscle, which runs up from the thighs, up through the belly and into the diaphragm. The psoas extends to allow us to stand upright and is often referred to as the emotional muscle as our protective responses start from this core place. Lots of chair sitting tends to shut this down, continually flexing the knees up in towards the chest, which could also be collapsing down in a less conscious foetal shape. So if we’ve been curling around for a sense of safety, or just as sedentary habits, if we move too quickly opening up the front body (e.g. lunges or back arches where we open up the front of the thighs, groin, belly and chest) then this can seem quite an emotionally stressful event for the body and the deep core in the psoas. So countering with curling into the foetal position in Balasana isn’t simply a mechanical opposition. It also allows us to open into these patterns, without imprinting on the nervous system that when we do a lunge it is a stressful event for the body. We open up and then we draw back in again; cultivating a sensitive and inviting approach to creating new patterns in the body.

Physical reset

In my classes I instruct Balasana or a version of a foetal position in different planes, many times throughout. I like to work with a workrest attitude to yoga where we engage energy and then come back to a place where we gather back in again, so that we’re not creating agitation or overwhelm. We can do a foetal position, yes, in Child Pose face down on the ground, but also often laying on the side on our back in Apanasana with the knees drawn into the chest or even upright onto the balls of our feet with our heels lifted and curling in, or feet on the ground or heels on a block to curl in and rest there. We can also use this protective space in more dynamic postures, such as fully dropping down the front body in a lunge or standing with bent legs, dropping the torso fully down onto the thighs and letting the head and arms release – this standing Child Pose is a great decompressor for the spine, simply hanging to let gravity punctuate postures where the lower back and neck hold so much weight to stand upright. Fully dropping the head is the benchmark of Child Pose, letting the weight of those thoughts go and focusing on breadth, space and release into the back of the neck and across the lower back. This is a potent physical symbol of the power of yoga as embodied awareness. Charlotte Watts is a UK-based yoga instructor and the author of The De-Stress Effect: Rebalance Your Body’s Systems for Vibrant Health and Happiness (charlottewattshealth.com)


om spirit

gong for good

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OM’s Claudia Brown explores the transformational and healing properties of the gong meditation

ongs tend to provoke a reaction in people, one way or another. When I say the words ‘gong meditation’ to a class, anyone who hasn’t done it before usually pulls a face…and not a very complimentary one. But those who have experienced the wonder of ‘The Gong’ will typically say, “Brilliant, I love the gong!’” Some people even request it when they arrive to class. My introduction to the gong was through

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two private clients (Jane and Hannah). They had come along to the OM Yoga Show in Manchester and came running up to me telling me all about their amazing experience doing a gong meditation and could they do it in the sessions with me. I won’t lie, I thought: “Oh for the love of God, seriously, what a load of hooey!’” Still, I’m up for trying anything once, so I started to research all things gong meditation and downloaded some gong tunes. And then I was hooked. So I introduced it into some of

my yoga classes, telling everyone, “You will either love it or hate it – and I’m still to find someone who hates it.” Gong bath, gong meditation, singing bowls, tibetan singing bowls…different names but the same amazing, healing, transformational results.

Holistic healing

So I decided to try and find a real gong class to experience it for real, rather than downloading one and playing it through


om spirit

A JOURNEY IN SOUND WE SPOKE TO JOHN AND JUNE SHAPTER TO FIND OUT HOW GONG BATHS AND OTHER SOUND HEALING THERAPIES CAN BENEFIT ALL OF US. How do you explain gong meditation to someone new? John: Sometimes we find it quite hard to find the words to describe what we do as it’s so experiential. We do use a wide variety of instruments to create a soundscape which is both beautiful and relaxing. This is an ambient soundscape within a mindful protocol.The sounds of gongs, Himalayan singing bowls, drums, bells and chimes work together to form a complex vibrational network, which helps bring harmony to mind, body and spirit. June: The gong and yoga are closely connected for us, as our first teacher was Don Contreaux who was also one of the first teachers of Kundalini Yoga in the west. He, himself, studied with Yogi Bhajan who taught both yoga and the way of the gong. Our space is also used for yoga classes when we are not working with sound. How did you first get into gong meditation? June: It was a surprise birthday gift for John, a whole day of gong and sound meditation. We hadn’t heard of it before but thought it sounded like an interesting experience. It was awesome and John’s overwhelming reaction was to say, “I’ve got to get a gong!” That was five years ago and it’s simply changed our lives. This is a full time calling for us now.

Photos: Beth Orton

John: Since that initiation into the world of sound we have sought out and received training by the best international teachers in this field. Over the last few years we have spent time with Don Contreaux Aidan McIntyre, Jens Zygar and Mitch Nur. Can you describe the different types of gongs and what they do? John: We have 39 gongs in our personal ‘sound chamber’ (with three more on the way from America) which is one of the largest collections in the country. There is nowhere else in the world, that we know of, where there are so many in one healing space and where people can come and enjoy such an immersive experience. This is quite unique. We use gongs and instruments from all sorts of cultures and from countries across the world, from China to Poland. However, the centre of the collection is a full set of Planet Gongs made by Paiste in Germany with which we can take you on a journey through the solar system and back. It is quite a profound experience, which we call Cosmic Journeying. >>

Photo of John and June: Julie Lou Weston

my iPhone speakers. After a quick internet search, I discovered the Chiron Institute, a place only 20 minutes from where I live (in all places, Stoke!). I hotfooted it up there to discover an oasis of calm and kept pinching myself that this amazing place was on my doorstep. John and June Shapter who run the Chiron Institute have a fascinating background. John was a mainstream clinician for 38 years and a clinical governance consultant but also has an understanding and experience of holistic care and shamanic journeying. Of this experience, he says: “I found myself raised into an extraordinary place of quiet and serenity. I found a connection to a world of love for fellow human beings and a feeling of physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing that I`d never attained before.” Through his practice of sound journeying, he brings these benefits to other people. In this new age, sound is both a means of attaining good health and promoting peace and love across the world, he says. Over many years, June has trained in tuning fork therapy, Reiki, EFT, reflexology, Indian head massage, theta healing and relaxation techniques. She has used her skills with individuals, in a children’s hospice and in drug treatment and recovery settings. She’s also a qualified and experienced hypnotherapist and her experience as a trained counsellor is invaluable in working with people both before and after sound sessions. “It transcends all barriers, there’s nothing that gets in the way, it’s just about you and what you hear and what you feel,” she says. “Sound is one of the first senses we experience in the womb and sounds created with the healing intent are both beautiful and powerful.”

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om spirit

MAKING A DIFFERENCE JOHN SHAPTER, CO-FOUNDER OF THE CHIRON INSTITUTE, EXPLAINS HOW THE CENTRE IS RAISING THE VIBRATION OF THE AREA IT SERVES, FUELLING A MORE CREATIVE, ENERGETIC COMMUNITY

Some gongs are made with a specific healing purpose either through intent or by being tuned to notes such as the Solfeggio tones. Some gongs are made to reflect the energies of the fundamental elements. We have two gongs commissioned by us from a master gong maker to reflect our own individual energies whilst working with sound; these are our Yin and Yang gongs. We have begun to make gongs too. Our Butterfly Gong is intended to facilitate change and transformation and the feedback so far is that it is a powerful energy that has touched many people. Gongs that are made with intent by their maker have the most powerful effects. The gongs themselves are beautiful objects, shimmering and sparkling in the sunlight that floods through our windows. We feel blessed every day to be surrounded by these in our place of work. What are the main benefits of a gong meditation? John: Sound is a very powerful tool and can be used for the benefits of mind, body and spirit in a number of ways. Some people come to purely enjoy the sounds and find a place of relaxation, some to journey to find a place of self-healing and some to find clarity and spiritual enlightenment. Although sound is quite often used in a clinical setting, such as ultra-sound, we use it in a broader healing way by tapping into ancient traditions and beliefs such as Shamanism and Buddhism. Sound is a simple and powerful way of achieving a mindful or meditative state. Vibrations and rhythms can entrain and alter brainwaves. More than this, sound can create an altered state of consciousness which we believe can make change and transformation possible. Our experience indicates that sound can also help with anxiety, depression, behavioural change, physical pain, insomnia… the list is becoming endless. June: Some hospitals and other healthcare institutions with an open outlook are beginning to use ambient sound to aid anxiety and promote healing. Mainstream medicine is beginning to wake up to the benefits of sound in this way. The yoga groups here all report a positive and relaxing energy to the space which can only come from it being awash with beautiful harmonics most of the day. In fact, the overwhelming sense of calm and safety one feels on entering can be enjoyed without us even striking a gong. Is there any research to back this up? June: Although past research appears to confirm what we feel, further and more detailed research is required to provide a solid backbone of evidence. We have initiated our own projects and early results indicate a greater sense of physical and emotional wellbeing by people experiencing our sound immersions. One test compared this with listening to favourite music and shows a profound difference in favour of a gong bath, with enhanced feelings of peace and wellbeing. In the meantime, we rely on ongoing feedback from clients to reassure ourselves of the positive benefits of what we do. We have collected stories of how the use of sound has positively affected the lives of people attending group and personal sessions at our institute. These keep us going on our own journey, in following our own path, in seeking new knowledge and experiences with which we can help other people.

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“We see the Chiron Institute as a central location to promote and support healing sound work, meditation and peace studies. It’s such an amazing space and the main Sound Chamber lies on two intersecting ley lines which creates an extraordinarily peaceful, yet energising, space. We are already attracting world leaders in our field to teach here which, in turn, is bringing in students from across Europe. We love that we can contribute positively to the growth of knowledge and facilitate training at this level. The numbers of people attending our daily group sessions are gradually increasing and we’d love to attract people who have never experienced, or even thought about experiencing, healing sounds. This is not just for people already ‘switched on’ to the alternative and complementary use of sound. Energetically, this is having such a profound effect on the area around us. Stoke-on-Trent is our home and has sadly been affected by the decline of the pottery industry with high levels of deprivation. However, this is how vibration works and by raising the frequency in our centre we are subtly sending out positive vibes that alter the energies around us. We are not surprised that there has been a gradual rise in creative endeavours in the area of the Chiron Institute since we started and feel that we have contributed to this change in energy.” Find out more about The Chiron Institute at: chironuk.com

Claudia Brown is a yoga teacher and writer (yogabyclaudia.com)


Yoga Education from the Source! With over a decade of experience training students to become teachers Himalaya Yoga Valley (Yoga Alliance RYS 200 & 500) is a global leader in yoga education delivering the highest quality Yoga Teacher Training Courses and further education courses at our centres in India and Ireland.

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om spirit One minute of calm

Today. For a moment. Just for a moment... I shall allow myself to dissolve, into the space that holds me, in the palms of its hands And I shall let go of everything completely I shall let go of all my worries and I shall let go of all my cares And in so doing, just settle into the stillness... Nothing to do Nothing to be Just letting go completely and resting in the stillness And in time, I shall begin to feel the stillness as it begins to rise and expand within me And with that, I shall be at peace... I shall be at peace with myself I shall be at peace with the world And I shall rest in this peace just till all is well And in time, I shall begin to be aware of the goodness that exists at the core of this experience And I shall hold on to it Holding on to the goodness Feeling at one with the stillness and imbued with peace I shall be ready... I shall be ready to begin the day ahead Just as I would a brand new day! By Esther Emanuel (estheremanuel.com)

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teacher trainings + immersions 200 hour diploma, 300 hour advanced kundalini, restorative, pregnancy, hot + more enrich your practice + teach authentically at triyoga london www.triyoga.co.uk

Every Body Welcome The BWY is a charity, run mainly by unpaid volunteers, with the purpose of helping its members explore their journey in yoga. Exciting modules for ordinary members and teaching members. New modules coming on Anatomy and Physiology with Gary Carter, Yoga Philosophy with Peter Connolly and modules on pranayama, teaching yoga to children and Mindfulness.

Join the BWY today Call 01529 306851 Full details of courses including course content, locations, tutors and contact details are available at www.bwy.org.uk BWY registration is a prerequisite to acceptance on all courses.

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BWY – for your lifelong journey in yoga 18/11/2016 10:14

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STARTING over

re-write your story in 2017

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Redefine yourself with the transformative powers of yoga. There are no quick-fix detoxes here, just lifechanging wisdom derived from an ancient practice on breaking old habits and re-wiring your mind to create the life of your dreams

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orget fad diets and quick-fix solutions, any change that’s going to be enduring and long-term must be deep-rooted, and really ‘owned’ by the individual. New Year’s resolutions are a nice idea but let’s be honest about it: how seriously do you take someone when they tell you what they’re going to do – quit smoking, get fit, emigrate to Australia – when January 1 comes around? More importantly, how seriously do they take you? That’s where yoga can be so powerful. It has a subtle way of shifting your perspective, allowing you to better make sense of your outer and inner worlds, as well as all the obvious benefits like improved fitness and a greater sense of calm. Yoga’s ability to seep into areas way beyond the mat – driving positive lifestyle change in areas such as nutrition, and even career choices – is truly remarkable. That’s nothing new for experienced practitioners, who continually draw on the ever replenishing pool of inspiration, creativity and self-reflection that it provides, but it can take new students by surprise. Away from all the inner peace and bendy bodies though, it’s a transformative discipline that anyone who’s ever attempted a New Year resolution would be wise to take on board. So, we’ve put together this section on ways yoga can help kickstart your year and get you off to a positive start, whatever your plans may be.

Ditch Your Old Story:

Breaking free from your addictive patterns. The three stages to freedom in sobriety, by Jo De Rosa

A Life Less Ordinary:

Is this the year you turn yoga into a career? Michelle Nicklin looks at how to choose a safe teacher training course

Taking Responsibility:

A daring new paradigm in health. Stefan Lehner explains how we can improve our health and wellbeing - and other areas of our life - by making better, more conscious choices

To make real, positive and lasting change, the best thing you can do to get things moving this year is to roll out your yoga mat. From specific goals like changing job or buying a new car, to less defined areas like eliminating negative thought patterns or emotional eating, yoga will find a way to create the mental and physical space to help you make progress with your life. It’s powerful stuff, this yoga, though, so watch out: expect the unexpected!

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STARTING OVER

DITCH your old story Break free from your addictive patterns. The three stages to freedom in sobriety. By Jo De Rosa

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Y

ou can’t experience something that you don’t believe, so to change your current situation you have got to have a shift in what you believe to be true around the subject. We tend to get tied up in knots when it comes to our addictions, going round and round in circles doing something that we don’t actually want to do. We end up feeling like we are going mad because the situation is so ridiculous, and what we are doing is in fact pretty crazy because we are trying to fix the outer circumstances rather than going to the underlying cause.

Stage One: Learn

It’s like putting on a plaster every night rather than tending to the injury that’s underneath, and then wondering why the wound isn’t healing. The first step on any journey is to have an awareness of what is truly going on; why this is happening, and only if we are willing to take a look without the plaster (the substance) do we have a chance of lasting recovery, and ultimately freedom. Yoga and meditation is the route that I personally took to look within and ask questions that needed uncovering. It may not have been easy but it was the most rewarding act of kindness I could have shown myself. My practice has become stronger throughout the last 20 years; it is the very core of who I am and continues to be my utmost priority in life.

Stage Two: Believe

In any addiction whether it’s to alcohol, drugs or food etc. there are many potentials, every potential in fact. We may know someone who is an alcoholic and doesn’t want to help themselves; we get frustrated with the drinker who says they want sobriety but can’t stop picking up the next glass. We all know someone who tries so desperately hard but keeps on stumbling when triggered. However we also all know someone who is has done it and is totally free. If you don’t personally then you know me. But why is it different for each person? It’s obviously mindset. What you believe you experience so to change you need to shift your beliefs around sobriety. Think of it like traffic and we’ll slim down the countless possibilities to just six lanes on a motorway: 1.  A heavy drinker who doesn’t even want to change 2.  Someone who is thinking of changing 3.  A person who is actively looking for a solution 4.  This person is in a programme

5.  Sobriety has been achieved in this lane but the person is still hankering after a drink 6.  Freedom: this person has totally let go of the story If you believe it’s going to be difficult then that is what you will experience, however, if you shift your internal clock to one of believing that freedom is possible, guess what? That will become your new reality; you will drive your car into the next lane. And driving in any lane is easy when we are 100% committed to being there. But when we begin to weave in and out of lanes, not in either one fully then we are going to struggle, it makes sense that we would. As it is with our addictions, we say we don’t want to drink/smoke/do drugs again yet find ourselves back in the place where we are being tugged by the urge. At this point we have one foot in each lane and will always struggle in this place. Here we know that we don’t want to carry on where we were, but are not yet fully embracing where we are going.

Stage Three: The Quantum Jump

Science tells us that on the quantum field all potentials already exist and you are simply coming along and choosing which one you want to experience. So is now the time for you to make the jump to a new reality, one where you expand into who you were always meant to become? The past’s ceiling is the future’s floor and once we move beyond the old limiting beliefs we are opening ourselves up to a life that we could only dream about in the past. Don’t believe that to be true? Then you can’t experience it, but if you dare to dream big then you might just get the biggest and most wonderful shock of your life: freedom... That elusive state that we can’t quite believe is possible I am giving you permission right now to realise. that for you are no different to me; why would I be able to achieve it and not you? The only difference is what you believe and whether or not you are ready to take that quantum jump into the life you have only dared dream of. And for me I get connected through my daily practice, plugging in to something that is far greater than me and sharing it through my teaching with clients who also can comprehend this quantum leap of faith into freedom in sobriety.

Jo De Rosa is founder of Quantum Sobriety, the revolutionary addiction programme consisting of an online course, oneday workshops and residential retreat (quantumsobriety.com)

Training with Excellence Meditation Teacher Training Jan 2017 | Snowdonia Yoga Teacher Training Jan 2017 | London & Midlands Yoga Therapy Diploma Mar 2017 | Snowdonia Ayurveda Certificate Course Mar 2017 | Snowdonia Ayurveda Massage Diploma Apr 2017 | Snowdonia

druyoga.com


STARTING OVER

A life LESS ordinary Is this the year you turn yoga into a career? Michelle Nicklin looks at how to choose a safe teacher training course

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aving lived and breathed yoga since the age of 17 and taught yoga for many years from my own studio and teacher training school, I have witnessed how this ancient lifestyle has transformed from the perceived life choice for those of us who are ‘hippy at heart’ to mainstream in the last five years. It’s a shift, perhaps, where those of us chained to the corporate world were first looking for relief from the stress of our modern lives to then turning those yoga practices into a career that allowed us to free ourselves from our desks. This is a phenomenon that I predict will only increase. Yoga studios, teachers and styles are popping up at an astonishing rate and it is this sudden growth that has prompted a debate in the media into whether we need to look at regulating the industry in order to protect those we teach. At the moment there are no official qualifications needed to teach yoga

and whilst I whole-heartedly welcome those who have found yoga, sharing their passion on, I think it is important to understand what is involved when passing this knowledge on to others in a modern world. If you are considering making the transition from student to teacher, what should you be looking for in a training school? How do you make sure that you are making a ‘safe’ choice for your new career path?

How do I know I’m ready?

In general terms, most teacher training schools will ask for at least a minimum of two years experience before you look to apply. But ask yourself: Do I feel comfortable that I have the knowledge to take my training further? Do I have the time to dedicate to my new learning? A large portion of your confidence will develop during your teacher training but if you’re unsure of the answer, it may be wise to wait before making an application.

Decide your path

What style of yoga speaks to you? Do you want your teachings to be more spiritual or appeal to those who are looking to improve their strength or fitness? It’s important to consider this as when training gets tough you will need this passion to pull you through.

Do your research

We obviously have the most powerful search tool in the palm of our hands but don’t limit your research to the Internet. Ask those in your yoga community for recommendations. Your teachers should be able help find a suitable school for you and advise if they think that you are ready to take that step.

Visit the school

There are more opportunities to train in the UK now so if you are considering this route then make sure you visit the school before making your application. Take a few classes to

“Yoga studios, teachers and styles are popping up at an astonishing rate and it is this sudden growth that has prompted a debate in the media into whether we need to look at regulating the industry in order to protect those we teach.”

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make sure you’re comfortable with the style. Talk to the course tutor. How long have they taught for? Training abroad is an option. India is a popular country for yoga teacher training. It may not be practical to visit your centre of choice but still do your research. How well known is the centre in the UK? Will my qualification be recognised once I’m back in the UK? Will I get insurance to teach? How can I be supported once back home? Can I speak to former students?

Accreditation

You don’t have to have an accreditation to teach, however, that doesn’t mean that it is the safe option. By choosing a school with accreditation you are choosing a place that has promised in a professional capacity to abide by terms set out by the body to train teachers to a high standard. With some yoga bodies you will automatically become fully insured to teach based on satisfactory completion of your course, although it is also possible to arrange insurance separately. Most studios will ask you to have insurance before letting you teach. There are several recognised bodies in the UK and many more overseas. But be warned: regulation and accreditation is still a subject that divides the yoga community. Many devotees argue that yoga is an ancient way of life that is over 7,000 years old and shouldn’t be governed like any other fitness activity.

The course

Minimum hours are normally 200 hours. These can be completed as intensive immersive training, over several months or over several years. You will need to work out how much time you can dedicate to your studies to decide which course is best for you. Each course will have a different level of contact with a senior yoga teacher, some have minimal contact, others will require at least 70% contact. An accredited course will normally set a high minimum standard. More time dedicated with a senior teacher will increase your confidence in the course. Each will also have a different assessment process and it is wise to understand what’s involved to be able to make an informed choice. There is so much to consider when looking for your yoga teacher training school but only you can decide what is right for you. Some say that when the timing is right the teacher will appear to you. But if you’ve carefully considered the points above in your decision, you can be confident that you have found a course that will guide you through your training in order for you to provide a safe environment for your future students to practice in.

12 YEARS OF EDUCATING THE INTERNATIONAL YOGA COMMUNITY

Michelle Nicklin is a senior yoga teacher and the founder of Bliss Yoga & Pilates (blissyoga.org.uk)

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STARTING OVER

Taking responsibility A daring new paradigm in health. Stefan Lehner explains how we can improve our health and wellbeing – and other areas of our life – by making better, more conscious choices

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hen confronted with a health concern – be it minor like flu or a cold, or major such as diabetes or cardiovascular problems - how often do we apportion blame? We might think (or even say): ‘Oh, I have bad genes’, ‘That is normal, everybody has that’, or ‘I am just getting older’. Sometimes we might even imagine an illness being some sort of punishment or a destiny being laid upon us. However, what if we looked into health issues from a more rational point of view? Becoming ill is always an effect of something; hence, there must also be a cause. As the Indian sage Swâmi Prajnânpad said: “For every effect, there is a cause.” The effect is what we call symptom. Today, besides the focus on treating the effect (the symptom), more and more we also see an inclination towards understanding, healing and eliminating the cause. And yet we still tend to favour ‘quick-fix’ solutions. We live in a world where things must be instantaneous, fast and efficient. We may think: ‘I take a pill, I do not think about it any longer, it works, I am all sorted’ – this is the predominant logic in life. And not just with regards to our health, but also how we begin and end relationships, how we want to achieve

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our objectives and ambitions, how we aspire to succeed professionally.

The right environment

Our body has tremendous self-healing capacity, predominantly through a strong immune system. But, contrarily to ‘quickfixing’, healing does take time, perseverance and trust. A strong and healthy body will be more resistant in the first place and, secondly, it will be able to fight better and more efficiently against intruders (such as bacteria and viruses). So what is a good starting point for a person’s health and wellbeing? A body that receives all macro- and micronutrients: a) in sufficient quantities, b) in good and clean quality (e.g. without chemical charges and heavy metals) and c) in an absorbable form. Of course, eating need not become mathematical science, or a permanent intellectual challenge. I strongly believe that eating should remain a social and pleasurable activity. We just need to observe and adhere to some basic principles and have a minimal understanding of how nutrition works. Today, access to this is readily available; actually to a point where the challenge is no longer access to information, but rather the enormous amount of it. In addition, we are

exposed to a cacophony of contradictory statements, the power of marketing (a field that created words such as ‘superfood’ and ‘detox’) and above all persisting obsolete myths (such as ‘you need to consume milk for sufficient calcium supply’ or ‘meat consumption is required for sufficient intake of protein’).

Lifestyle diseases

Even though it might cause unease among some readers, cancer (to a vast degree), diabetes type 2, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, blocked arteries and some other cardiovascular diseases are first and foremost lifestyle diseases. We may even call them ‘diseases of affluence’. Lifestyle includes factors such as environmental issues, quality of air, pollution with heavy metals and chemicals, mental, psychological and emotional stressors, spiritual concerns and, of course – to a very large extent – our nutritional choices. As early as 1864 the German philosopher and anthropologist Ludwig Feuerbach wrote the now famous statement: “You are what you eat”. As I regularly remind my clients, food is – besides water and oxygen – the only fuel to nourish the precious machine that is our body. We would not seriously consider putting


regular fuel into a diesel car, but we are less careful about what we eat. Too many of us do not think twice about what we put into our body. We are even less considerate about the consequences our food choices may have on our biological systems in the long run.

The blame game

Unfortunately, we also tend to justify the situation we are in by finding the underlying cause in ‘outside factors’ (outside the area of our own influence), such as blaming hereditary issues, advanced age or just bad luck. Now, are we really coherent here? Most of us will agree that ‘eating well and healthily’ (beware of myths that die hard, though) will help to avoid health problems and enhance one’s resilience and wellbeing. We even ignore sometimes the obvious link between health and nutrition by saying, “I feel good, hence I am in good health” or “Eating is a pleasure, I have to enjoy life a bit”. The other way round, though, we have a much harder time acknowledging that an unhealthy lifestyle and food consumption favours the development of illnesses. Every so often we justify our health condition by pointing mostly to external factors (such as genes, age, fate, bad luck, normality). From an emotional perspective there’s a good chance that we also face the feeling of guilt – more or less consciously. Therefore, the automatic response is looking for the culprit somewhere else.

Taking charge

I suggest that we simply take more responsibility for our choices in life. With regards to health, this means being accountable and taking ownership for what we decide to eat. There is no use in blaming oneself for poor nutritional habits and choices in the past. Then, we were a ‘different’ person,

with a different set of habits, knowledge and consciousness. Today though, we can start being more responsible for what goes onto our plate and own these choices fully. This is not necessarily comfortable in the first place; it opens the door to trial and error, to deception and guilt if we give in to old cravings. But this is all part of a transition, and it also offers the opportunity to empower ourselves with regards to our health and, more broadly, our lives. The hypothesis is that with more accountability, we will be better able, more motivated, more curious and more persistent on the road to transforming our eating habits and even other behaviours. In a way, a healing process on a physical level is comparable to a personal transformation process on an emotional and psychological level when seeing a therapist or coach. Profound transformation takes time, perseverance, implication and action – as well as a portion of trust. Only once we take full ownership of our actions can we lay the basis for a real, durable transformation. We are entering an era where awareness of nutritional choices, challenging old beliefs and demanding more accountability from the food industry is shifting. We are certainly moving in the right direction, even though I would like to see things speed up. Yet I remain optimistic, thinking of Arthur Schopenhauer, who said: “All truth goes through three stages. Truth will first be ridiculed, then violently opposed and finally accepted as self-evident.”

Stefan Lehner is a nutrition coach and educator based in Paris, available to work worldwide. Besides nutritional education he likes to put an emphasis on the emotional and psychological underlying patterns of our relationship with food. Find out more at: thevibrantfactory.com


om living

eatdrinkyoga Healthy eating goodies

Soupologie Three Mushroom Broth - £2.99 (600gms)

Delicious as a soup base or broth, the vegan Three Mushroom Broth contains the world’s most nutrientdense mushrooms and is rich in Vitamin-D, the sunshine vitamin, which includes at least 90% of your daily nutrient reference value. Dairy-free and gluten-free. soupologie.com

Chocolate Cocoa Tea - £8.50

Chocolate and tea combined in one delicious drink…what’s not to like? Made from roasted cocoa nibs, which have a delicious, chocolatey aroma and floral, refreshing taste, it’s healthy and refreshing and may even help curb your chocolate cravings! Three delicious variants: Raspberry, Mango and Fennel Seed - all three help to compliment the complex cocoa flavour. Available in 120g tins (Fennel Seed, 110g) paxtonchocolate.com

Green Magic Powder - £8.95 (30g)

Give your immune system a boost with this superfood Green Magic powder. It includes 16 incredible superfood ingredients, including spirulina, wheatgrass and chlorella. A tremendous boost to health and vitality during the winter season. Also comes in capsule form. proto-col.com

Lentil Lites - 75p

Reaching for a bag of snacks doesn’t have to add inches to your waistline….Lentil Lites are low fat, low calorie and full of flavour. Gluten-free and made using lentil flour and all natural ingredients, they’re great for all health-conscious nibblers. Three tasty flavours: Blue Cheese, Jalapeño Chilli & Lime and Tomato & Herb. fairfieldsfarmcrisps.co.uk

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Are you looking to increase your yoga knowledge through training and CPDs. Become part of the growing Yoga Mama sangha - learning to teach and support pregnant women throughout their pregnancy.

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Senior yoga teachers Women’s health physiotherapist Midwife 80 hour course accredited by Yoga Alliance professionals.

Asana, pranayama, sequencing classes, propping and assisting, anatomy for pre and post natal yoga, common ailments associated with pregnancy. For full course outline visit our website.

We also offer CPDs in fertilty and postnatal women

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Vegan! Never! oh, hang on... Think your family could never eat vegan food? It’s time to think again

Double-Double Cheeseburgers Serves 4 / Prep Time: 25 Minutes (not including time to make Basic Cashew Cheese Sauce) / Active Time: 30 Minutes / Inactive Time: 20 Minutes You know those people who say that there’s no way a simple veggie burger could satisfy their mighty appetite? Do you know what I say to them? Nothing, actually. I just shove into their face two lentil-mushroom burger patties, covered in cheese and cradled in a bun with all the fixings, and make them eat that while I watch. Okay, I don’t actually watch because I’m usually eating my own burger, but you get the picture.

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1 teaspoon olive oil ½ medium yellow onion, chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 225 g (8 ounces) cremini mushrooms (or button mushrooms), sliced 220 g (2 cups) cooked lentils 2 tablespoons liquid aminos (or glutenfree tamari; use coconut aminos to be soy-free) 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (gluten-free and/or soy-free if necessary), optional 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon dried parsley ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

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½ teaspoon salt Black pepper to taste 100 g (1 cup) rolled oats (certified gluten-free if necessary), plus more if needed 60 g (½ cup) quinoa flour 3 tablespoons almond flour 2 tablespoons flax meal 4 vegan burger buns (gluten-free if necessary) Basic Cashew Cheese Sauce Optional burger fixings: ketchup, mustard (gluten-free if necessary), vegan mayonnaise (soy-free if necessary), relish, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced red onion, pickles

Method 1. 2.

3.

4.

5.

Ingredients •

Ingredients • • • •

Basic Cashew Cheese Sauce

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75 g (½ cup) raw cashews, soaked in warm water for at least 1 hour and drained, water reserved 5 to 6 tablespoons reserved soaking water 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast ½ teaspoon white soy miso (or chickpea miso)

Method 1.

Combine the cashews, 60 ml (¼ cup) of the reserved soaking water, the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and miso in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add up to 2 tablespoons more water for a thinner sauce. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or up to 7 days. The cheese will thicken when chilled, so you may need to add more water to thin it back out.

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms and sauté. until the mushrooms are tender and the onions are translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a food processor. Add 1 cup (110 g) of the lentils, the liquid aminos, nutritional yeast, Worcestershire sauce (if using), cumin, parsley, paprika, salt, and pepper. Pulse until fully combined and all pieces are similar in size. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the remaining lentils, the oats, quinoa flour, almond flour, and flax meal and mix until a thick dough forms. If it’s too liquidy, add more oats. If it’s too dry, add water by the tablespoon until it’s no longer crumbly. It should hold together without crumbling when squeezed. Use your hands to form the mixture into 8 patties and place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through to ensure even cooking. Drizzle cheese sauce over the tops and bake for another 5 minutes. To assemble, spread ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and/or relish on the top and bottom halves of the buns. Place some lettuce on the bottom bun and stack two patties on top. Top the patties with tomato, red onion, and/or pickles, as desired. Serve immediately. Leftover burgers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.

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Jackfruit Crabless Cakes with Lemon Dill Aïoli Serves 3 or 4 / Prep Time: 15 minutes (not including time to cook brown rice) / Active Time: 20 minutes You know those nights when you crave something a little greasy, quickly? Don’t settle for some third-rate drive-thru or restaurant—treat yourself to something delicious and, I dare say, gourmet and that comes together with very little effort! These jackfruit-based crabless cakes are ridiculously tasty and will have you wiping your (slightly) greasy fingers on your jeans in just 30 minutes. If you want to go a healthier route, you can always bake these guys (see box out), and if seafood isn’t your thing, leave out the Old Bay Seasoning and kelp granules.

Ingredients • •

• • • • •

565 g (one 20-ounce) can jackfruit, thoroughly rinsed and drained 265 g (1½ cups) cooked cannellini beans (or one 15-ounce/425 g) can, rinsed and drained) 4 green onions, finely chopped (green and white parts), plus more for garnish 160 g (1 cup) cooked brown rice 2 tablespoons chickpea flour, plus more if needed 1 tablespoon vegan mayonnaise (soy-free if necessary) 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning 2 teaspoons liquid aminos (or gluten-free tamari; use coconut

• • • • •

aminos to be soy-free) 1 teaspoon dried parsley ½ teaspoon kelp granules ½ teaspoon garlic powder Salt and black pepper to taste Sunflower oil (or canola oil) for frying

Lemon Dill Aïoli • 165 g (¾ cup) vegan mayonnaise (soy-free if necessary) • 3 tablespoons lemon juice • 1½ teaspoons dried dill • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder • Salt to taste

Method n A lternatively, you can bake these crab cakes. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Leave the patties on the baking sheet. Spray the tops of the cakes lightly with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes, flip them, spray with olive oil, and bake for another 10 minutes. Serve immediately. n Y  ou can also put these cakes in a sandwich, using the aïoli as a spread. You will not regret it!

1. 2. 3.

4.

5.

6. 7.

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Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Place the jackfruit in a food processor and pulse about five times, until broken up into smaller pieces. Pour the beans into a bowl and use a potato masher to mash them until creamy but still chunky. Add the jackfruit, green onions, brown rice, chickpea flour, mayonnaise, Old Bay, liquid aminos, parsley, kelp granules, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and stir together until combined. The mixture should hold together when you squeeze it. If it doesn’t, add chickpea flour by the tablespoon until it does. Scoop up 80 ml (¹/³ cup) of the mixture and use your hands to shape it into a patty. Place the patty on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining mixture. You should have about 12 patties. Heat a large frying pan, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Pour in enough oil to coat the bottom and heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Line a plate with paper towels. Place three or four patties in the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until crispy and browned all over. Place the cooked patties on the plate and top with more paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Repeat with the remaining patties, adding more oil as necessary, until all are cooked. While the cakes are cooking, make the aïoli: Combine all the ingredients in a cup and stir together. Chill until ready to use. Garnish the cakes with chopped green onions and serve with the aïoli on the side. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.


Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies Makes 30 cookies / Prep Time: 10 Minutes / Active Time: 20 Minutes / Inactive Time: 10 Minutes Who doesn’t love a hearty, chewy, peanut-buttery oatmeal cookie, crammed with all sorts of tasty add-ins? Nobody. That’s why these cookies are bound to be a hit with everyone in the family. Peanut butter (or the nut or seed butter of your choice) works together with applesauce and coconut oil to replace eggs and butter, making a remarkably flavorful binder that builds perfectly soft and chewy cookies. You can make them as is, or add chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, or all of the above. I mean, really, who’s not going to like this cookie?

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

130g (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour blend, soy-free if necessary) 100g (1 cup) rolled oats (certified gluten-free if necessary) 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon xanthan gum (exclude if using all-purpose flour or if your gluten-free blend includes it) ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg 260g (1 cup ) unsalted, unsweetened natural peanut butter 120 ml (½ cup) maple syrup 80 g (1/3 cup) unsweetened applesauce (or mashed banana) 60 ml (¼ cup) coconut oil, melted 40 g (¼ cup) coconut sugar, optional 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Optional add-ins: 60 to 90 g (½ cup) raisins, chopped peanuts, and/or vegan chocolate chips

Method 1. 2.

3.

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Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, xanthan gum (if using), and nutmeg until fully incorporated. In a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, applesauce, coconut oil, coconut sugar (if using), and vanilla. Stir until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. If you’re using add-ins, fold them in. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough out of the bowl, roll it in your hands to make a perfect ball, and place it on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the balls 1. inches (4 cm) apart. Use your fingers to gently flatten each ball just a bit. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until firm and slightly golden along the bottom. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Cool completely before serving. The cookies will keep stored in an airtight container (in the fridge if the weather is warm) for 3 to 4 days.

Recipe from But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan!: 125 Recipes to Win Everyone Over ©Kristy Turner, 2016. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. theexperimentpublishing.com Photos: Chris Miller

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om living Nutrition Zone:

for life Start the year with the best detox for your long-term health. By Chantal di Donato

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very January, websites, magazines, television and social media promote one detox after the other: the cabbage detox, green juices, superfood smoothies, and so on. There’s an evergrowing list of new products, diets, fitness plans and health regimens promising to cleanse your body after all the food shenanigans of the holiday season. Although many tips and ideas being promoted can be helpful and inspiring, the way people detox can sometimes be incorrect; the result means the detox might be short lived and possibly even detrimental to our body. A good detox is approached holistically, targeting the major organs, which function to detoxify the body in the first place. It allows them to let go of toxins through our digestive system and even our skin. It’s important to make sure that when toxins leave our adipose tissue (fat) and organs, they go out of our system completely and not circulate into the bloodstream. So it’s important to help our major organs push them out.

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Look after you

In truth, there aren’t foods or exercise routines that will ever replace the natural purpose of our internal organs, but we can support them with the right tools - in this case with diet and some specific herbs, as part of a healthy lifestyle. During a detox we can focus on adopting new habits, but long-term success means those habits should remain with us to help the body do its work all the time. But fear not: this does not mean you will be on an enteral diet! The holidays are normally a time when we are impairing the natural cleansing abilities of our organs as we socialise more, indulging in unhealthy, processed, sugar-laden foods and drink more alcohol than we would normally do, causing more inflammation and overwork in our system. Inflammation impairs the body’s natural response to toxins and its ability to removing them, reiterating that in a normal state, the body is a perfect cleansing machine. So January is definitively a great month to look yourself in the mirror and say: “I am going to look after you from now!”

Common toxicity symptoms TOXICITY AND INFLAMMATION: can manifest in different ways. Ironically, we think that some of the symptoms may be related to ageing and accept them as part of our daily lives, but through a proper detox, regaining the feeling you should be having when healthy, you will realise that age has nothing to do with it. So below follows a list of signs that can relate to toxicity (and where detoxifying will definitively help): FATIGUE: this can relate to the kidneys and colon being over toxic impairing elimination and also affecting the adrenals, situated in the kidneys. VISION: tired or impaired vision, often leading to wearing glasses, could be linked to toxicity in the body, possibly the liver, as suggested in Chinese medical charts. COUGHING: sometimes a sign that our lungs are toxic, especially if you don’t have a cold or chest infection. It is always advisable


om living to see your GP if you find yourself coughing a lot, but there is a chance that detoxifying can help. When it comes to the lungs things like smoking or inhaling harsh chemicals should be eliminated. We are unfortunately subject to toxic air everywhere, but where we can help it - like the types of perfumes or cleaning products we use - we should make the effort to make cleaner choices.

foods targeted to a certain organ, a detox diet will help all the organs to be clean. In my opinion, it is essential to cleanse the colon first, as that is the main way of passage for the toxins to leave the body. If we detox the liver first, for example, and we are unable to purge via our colon, toxins will remain inside our body.

HEADACHES: headaches are often associated as a short-term side effect of detoxification. But suffering from chronic headaches and migraines could be a sign of toxicity in the body; these may be eliminated with a proper detox.

The colon is a pretty intelligent environment, with tens of trillions of microorganisms called gut microbiota living in it and providing a balanced digestion. It is in the colon that we absorb nutrients and let go of waste, which is why it is key to keep the system clear and free. There are some good natural tips to promote gut heath and therefore detoxification:

THYROID ISSUES: a sluggish metabolism and hypothyroidism can be linked to toxicity and at times just cleansing the organs in our body can rectify this. ACID REFLUX: the stomach can be quite toxic too causing acid reflux, or heartburn. BLOATING & GAS: these symptoms can mean the colon is suffering from over toxicity. There is even a chance of leaky gut syndrome causing more inflammation and toxicity in the body as toxins leave the colon through cracks in its wall straight to the bloodstream. In more severe cases, ailments like IBS and Crohn’s disease can be a result of toxins accumulating in the large intestine. INSULIN ISSUES: if our sugar levels are out of control and we suffer from things like prediabetes or hypoglycemia, we might need to consider detoxifying, as our pancreas might need it. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar and the pancreas produces it, so obviously if we are toxic, its functionality will be impaired too.

Gut health:

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ELIMINATE, OR AT LEAST REDUCE, PROCESSED AND FAST FOODS. This is one of the long-term tips to follow. If your diet is rich in processed foods then this will always overload the body with toxins and a short detox once a year will not be very helpful. This is therefore a major lifestyle tip! ADD FERMENTED AND PROBIOTIC RICH FOODS TO YOUR DIET. Another awesome lifestyle tip is adding food like sauerkraut or kefir to your diet, which can help the colon restore its flora (microbiota) so that the good bacteria can do their job in retaining nutrients and letting go of toxins. Taking a probiotic supplement is also a good suggestion.

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EAT APPLES: when detoxifying the colon, apples are very helpful as they contain high levels of pectin (soluble fibre) and quercetin, which is amazing to alleviate food sensitivities and boost immunity. EAT AVOCADOS: an incredibly fibre-rich fruit but also contains high amounts of magnesium and potassium and helps the colon flush waste. ENJOY FLAX SEEDS: these are incredible sources of omega 3 fatty acids with awesome added fibre, which again helps keep the colon active. SUPPLEMENT WITH TRIPHALA: this ayurvedic herb is an actual colon detoxifier that is a natural laxative, thereby allowing expulsion of toxins.

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Liver detox:

The liver is our filtering system and keeping it clean is a must, especially after higher amounts of alcohol and fatty or processed foods. If you have taken the time to cleanse the colon, and have a regular bowel movement and no side effects from overtoxicity, like gas or constipation, then you are ready for the liver to start detoxing too

“A good detox is approached holistically, targeting the major organs, which function to detoxify the body in the first place. ”

OTHER HORMONAL ISSUES: PMS, menopause for women, hair loss or man boobs or ‘moobs’ for men, are the most common hormonal imbalances linked to toxicity. Our endocrine system is heavily affected if our major organs are malfunctioning and unable to keep our body clean.

How and what to detox

The key organs needing a little help during a detox are the liver, kidneys, and colon. The lungs are not cleansed through diet per se, but paying attention to lifestyle and the products we use and inhale will help them. The key factor to understand is that, although there are some specific herbs and

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so that everything can be freely flushed through the digestive system:

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ELIMINATE, OR AT LEAST DECREASE, PROCESSED FOODS AND ALCOHOL. Just like for the colon, the liver does not need more obstacles in doing its work, and so we should make sure we take the time to change our habits and remove anything that cannot really be considered food. By just realising that not everything that is ingestible is food, we can become more selective about what we choose to put into our body. Sugar falls under this category, especially artificial and fructose-rich sweeteners. Ideally, none of the above should be consumed during the detox period. ADD HERBS TO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE. There are three amazing herbs to include in a liver detox that will make a difference. Milk Thistle: the most popular liver tonic known to the west. Thanks to its content of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant, it helps calm inflammation and restores the liver’s ability to remove toxins. Turmeric: this powerful root gained so much popularity in the last year and is a healing powerhouse. In ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is one of the most used herbs, as a powerful detoxifier and anti-inflammatory. Dandelion: take as a tea twice a day; it is extremely soothing. PROBIOTIC RICH AND FERMENTED FOODS. Just like for the colon, again, the liver benefits from fermented foods to help it fight inflammation. DRINK APPLE CIDER VINEGAR AND LEMON JUICE. Both are wonderful for liver and colon health. Have them on salads

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or mix them in water and drink. Both are said to cleanse the liver, especially when taken first thing in the morning. You can easily alternate between lemon and apple cider vinegar day-by-day or have them at different times on the same day. EATING WHOLESOME FOODS. Another of the long-term lifestyle tips for allowing the body to detox. Food is key as we eat every day, so choosing phytochemical and micronutrient-rich foods will help your liver’s performance at all times. That means lots of vegetables and fruits, plus wholesome, mostly gluten-free, grains like rice and quinoa, pulses, nuts and seeds. SUPERFOOD CHLORELLA IS A CLEANSING POWERHOUSE. If you had to choose one green to add into your diet, I would suggest this weed. EMOTIONAL DETOX. The liver is said to be linked to anger, resentment, unforgiveness and frustration and affected by those feelings, so it is important to practice gratitude and calm each day to help this organ stay healthy.

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Kidney detox:

The kidneys are responsible for fluid balance in our body and blood cleansing. By detoxifying the main three organs mentioned here we are also looking after ‘blood health’, and the kidneys play an important role.

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HERBAL AID. Again the power of nature brings in some wonderful herbs to help support kidney functions. Nettle is a great one to have as a tea, and is relatively cheap to buy. Rehmannia is an adrenal tonic herb, and will help stabilise the adrenal glands in the kidneys, which will help with fatigue and

other hormonal imbalances. DARK FOOD. Fruits like cranberry, black cherries and blueberries, as well as vegetables like beets, are wonderful for kidney health. They also cleanse the blood, particularly beets, and the urinary tract, which we expel uric acid from when the kidneys break down purine. It is key for the kidneys to cleanse the blood from abnormal levels of uric acid not to face ailments such as gout. SEAWEEDS AND SPINACH. Greens that are very helpful in helping the kidneys detoxify. There are edible seaweeds like nori, kelp, arame, and supplements like chlorella (called seaweed but grown in fresh water) or spirulina – all wonderful for any detox.

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The body works as a unit to keep healthy and let go of toxins, but we can certainly help it too. It’s easy to recognise that the common denominator for most detoxes is to adopt healthy eating and lifestyle habits – mostly the habit of consuming real food from nature, with certain herbs and medicinal plants that support particular functions in the body. Feel free to add in green juices, smoothies and superfoods into your detox plan, but mostly focus on eliminating what challenges your body and focus on what reinvigorates it. Help your body, don’t hinder it! Chantal di Donato is a yoga teacher, health coach, nutritional advisor, author and speaker. She is the founder of Live Lean Health, which offers complete and personalised detox plans. Visit: liveleanhealth.com


BodyYoga is the culmination of many years gathering expertise and knowledge at the BodyHoliday in order to create a Yoga programme to suit a wide range of needs. BodyYoga is about the pursuit of optimal wellness. Our aim is to find the right Yoga style for you and combine with sensible nutrition, therapies, relaxation and meditation. To learn more call 0203 096 1676 or visit www.thebodyholiday.com/om-yoga


om family Concious Parenting

LET YOUR

IMAGINATION

SOAR

Imagine a world where anything is possible. For children, that world already exists, so let’s meet them there, writes Siri Arti

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hildren need magic. Life should contain sparkle and plenty of wild imaginings. A childhood without this is not a childhood at all. During the early years, from 0-7 years old, it is imperative to cultivate a healthy and productive imagination. There are many ways to ensure that this takes place as well as ways to hinder the process too.

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Esteemed educator Maria Montessori was a firm believer in establishing a rock solid foundation in reality before fantasy is introduced to the child. This is to ensure that imagination is based on aspects of life that are real. Once this is established, fantasy can be explored freely, but only beyond the age of seven. In a Montessori school, you will find things of beauty on display, but never from the unreal. No Disney or

movie characters exist in fantasy land. The paintings, photographs and posters will be of real scenes, used to inspire and cultivate a healthy imagination. The functional apparatus found in a classroom assist in creating a good relationship with reality, a springboard to imagination. Rudolf Steiner, another pioneer, also believed in the importance of imagination in the early years. Joined with the cultivation


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fantasy richly woven into the classroom and their teaching. To enhance a child’s imagination, they offer toys that are natural and often unfinished to the child. Pieces of wood, pinecones, shells, silk scarves, multicoloured pieces of cloth and dolls without faces. This encourages and supports openended imaginative play. Here are a few simple ways you can help to unleash the limitless imaginations of your children:

Dare to dream with your children

To them, play is life and for this, imagination is key. When was the last time you sat down with your children and played pretend? Invisible tea in a miniature cup, talking to friends you can’t see or jumping over a river that isn’t really there. When was the last time you imagined your reality the way you choose it to be? If imagination and fantasy were not part of your childhood, when you really need it, it will be hard to bring it to the fore. It’s not too late to reconnect to the magic, however, if you are willing to receive the invitation.

Be a fierce protector of childhood

Do what you can to keep imagination alive for them. Take time to meet them in their world by finding the freedom to be comfortable there. Be the one who brings magic to them and watch how their eyes sparkle in the very presence of it. Only when you are able to meet them in their world, are you free to bring them into yours, but be careful not to rush the process.

“During the early years, from 0-7 years old, it is imperative to cultivate a healthy and productive imagination.” of imagination, fantasy holds a rich place in any Waldorf school. These schools believe that the magic of fantasy is alive in young children, so they incorporate this into the curriculum by telling stories and keeping

Keep it natural

Be aware of television, plastic toys or complete concepts. These can hinder the process of imagination. Instead, create space to breathe, keep things natural and inspire through beauty. If you can keep imagining, your children will too. Remember play is life, so step out of your adult mind and play a little. Siri Arti is the creator of Starchild Yoga, an education for peace. For details of teacher trainings and any other events please visit: starchildyoga.com


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BREATHE, JUST BREATHE OM talks to Michèle Barocchi, the scientist yogini who re-learned to walk after a terrible scooter accident. Words and pictures by Francesca Magnani

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ichèle Barocchi brought the Rocket – a style of yoga rooted in the Ashtanga practice that developed in San Francisco during the 1980s – to Florence, Italy back in 2004. That year she also opened a studio, It’s Yoga Firenze, and then, in 2014, a second followed – It’s Yoga Loft – for events, seminars and private classes. OM met her to talk about one particular experience of hers, one in which yoga was crucial to her survival. My name, not my essence, is Michèle. I was born in Florence, Italy although I grew up in the heart of technology, in Silicon Valley. My love for my father, a physicist, drew me to the sciences – and I began my career in medicine as a marine wildlife biologist in the early 1990s. Driving over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco at sunrise sparked my fascination with nature, and its incredible power to awe. I studied marine biology, but then moved on to human medicine after a two-year masters in public health at Berkeley. Invited to embark on a research project to discover the issues that led to slum diseases, I left for Salvador in Brazil. In this two-year period I studied infectious diseases at the Oswaldo Cruz, Ministry of Health, and continued my research in immunology, finishing my studies at the University of California, Berkeley in 2003 with a PhD in immunology and infectious diseases. My longing to return to Europe allowed me the opportunity to find work in Siena, Italy, at the infamous Chiron, then Novartis and now GSK, Pharmaceutical Company, where I applied my knowledge in disease biology and medicine to discover molecules to enhance immune response towards fighting infectious diseases.

Science is reductionist, it takes big things and divides them into much smaller things so that one can find the meaning – at the biological, cellular, molecular, structural and even anatomical level, in order to understand how things work. Yoga allowed me to expand my inner self and connect to the something that I did not know how to explain, but I felt was everywhere. In Italy I started teaching yoga after work, or early in the morning before going to Siena. I am dedicated to serving my community, and this is what allowed me to keep doing both activities. In the beginning, around 2007-2009, I was only teaching two classes a week at the yoga studio. I had a molecular research group that was incredibly organised, and independent, which allowed me to continue projects on infectious diseases – specifically pneumococcal pneumonia – and still have time to leave the lab at a decent hour.

My yoga journey

I began my yoga journey in 1998 and during my last month of doctoral work, under pressure to finish my thesis and graduate with several publications, I decided to embark on the YA 200 hour registered teacher training. During my last month as a doctoral student I trained at It’s Yoga in San Francisco and committed myself to the practice, not knowing at the time the power and strength that the practice would one day give to me. I was going to move to Italy, but aware of the absence of a well defined yoga community, I felt the need to look into a training programme that would allow me to teach and to build a community of like-minded people.

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Building a community

I was the only instructor, but through the years many amazing people have crossed my life, and supported me in helping to build It’s Yoga Firenze, It’s Yoga Loft and also my It’s Yoga retreats. I am very grateful to have both of these disciplines in my life. I have used the yoga in mediation issues at work, in calming people down during high level meetings, and in allowing me to prepare for international scientific talks around the world. I have used the business and science knowledge that I have learned at leadership meetings: on how to organise teams, make them efficient, how to support people in executing their vision and creating goals for It’s Yoga and all of the team members. So I run It’s Yoga through a leadership and goal-oriented organisation and I use the teaching of yoga to support me in being a good scientist, with strong values and skills, and pranayama. Then everything changed.

Scooter accident

The episode I am talking about took place near Matera, in the south of Italy. I left Matera around 10 am on August 11, 2015, not knowing what was to come. Travelling on the back of a Vespa, as a passenger, during a warm summer day just past Miglionico, we took a turn on a small country road. I remember the sunburnt hills and the eagles flying overhead, as we came to a curve – the stark blue colour of the sky entered my body with a force greater than anything I had

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ever experienced; a clash between the material and the unknown. The pain overwhelmed my physical body, and before I knew it, I was on the ground, face up towards the sky, screaming for my life. My leg hurt so much I have no recollection of the pain I endured. Warm blood drenched my body as I lay in the sun. “Quick, please tie a tourniquet around my thigh, just above the knee,” I yelled. “Please, I said…I am dying”. The sky was still, above me. The driver was gone, and so was the driver of the car… both looking for help, screaming for someone to hear them. I kept looking up at the sky, reciting the few words that I could manage to pull out of my soul…my gaze empty and blurred from the loss of blood from my severed femoral artery. “Breathe,” I heard someone say. “Breathe.” My only job was now to take those long few breaths that would keep me alive until the ambulance and helicopter arrived. I don’t recall the ride to the bare hill where the helicopter awaited me; all I remember is the clicking sound of the gurney and the lift off the ground into the sky. As I lay in the operating room the nurses reassured me that everything was going to be alright. I sensed the mask from the anaesthesiologist as he counted down three…two…one.

Need for courage

I woke up three days later in somewhat of a dream. “My leg?” I asked. “Your leg is gone…”. I really don’t remember much of that


om actions initial conversation due to the morphine-induced trance state, but I recall being transported down the hallway to the emergency surgery department, where the team of surgeons were waiting for me. This would be my new home for the next 12 days. As I lay on the ground of that small country road, I had no idea of the level of trauma I had endured. My eyes were fixed on one thing…the sky. “Breathe,” a voice said, “just breathe”. I had stopped breathing for a moment, the pain was absolute, more than any one human being could handle in a lifetime. “Fix your gaze on the sky, and focus on your breath.” I remembered the teachings of yoga: through pranayama one could quieten their mind. My mind was in survival mode, fight-or-flight, and here I was ready to fight, with everything that I had inside me. Pranayama, or the regulation of breath, allowed me to focus on the sound of my breathing, the colour of the sky, the clouds that were passing me overhead, without falling into the panicking mind, the Vrittis, the craziness that surrounded me. The courage to stay alive came from the knowledge that if I followed my breath and focused my energies to a faith, I would survive. I was dying; the loss of more than half of my blood volume had made me weak, and my eyes were fixed on the sky. I had become the silence around me, I had become the sky.

More than form

Yoga is not about the form, but about the process, receiving the knowledge and understanding the level of commitment and patience that the journey takes. I would have never been alive if it wasn’t for the practice of yoga. I now realise everyone is complaining about something, everyone is lost in their own story, but when you are faced with such an opportunity to surrender, your only chance of survival is to let go of your mind. Even though my form has changed forever, my spirit is whole and complete, holding everything, and nothing, allowing what is to be. Nothing real can be threatened, nothing un-real exists, there is a greater power among us, and I invite us all to explore its infinity. The purpose of my studio, It’s Yoga Firenze, is to be grounded in light, and supportive in love, in order to share, with authenticity, the love of the practice, so that we may have a community based in joy, happiness, and peace. For more information about Michèle Barocchi, her retreats and courses, visit: itsyogafirenze.it For details of the YA registered 200 and 500 teacher training programme, visit: itsyoga.com

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MyYogaBiz Tips from the experts to help you grow the yoga business of your dreams. This month’s mentor: Alan Elworthy, 45, Warrior Yoga, Cardiff STARTING OUT You only need follow a very simple business model to make a success of teaching yoga: get qualified, find a venue, advertise your classes and teach your stuff. What your typical teacher training won’t cover is: setting up a website, building a brand, advertising, social media, controlling costs, people management, dealing with tax etc. If you don’t already have these skills (and more), you’ll need to pick them up somewhere along the way. BUSINESS PLANS Ha! For me, one of the magical things about teaching yoga is that only the vaguest of business plans is required: ‘Build it and they will come’. Right from the start I made a conscious decision to approach my yoga business with little regard to the money. Yep, I need to cover the rent, and I charge class fees that I would be willing to pay, but other

than that all my attention is on making my classes the very best they can be. Sure, at the start I ended up with the occasional accidental one-to-one, but now classes are full every week. It’s all about the yoga…the money comes in. SOCIAL MEDIA Social media is important. It allows us to connect with many people who are interested in what we have to offer and is often free of charge. The word ‘connect’ is important though. What would a potential yoga student like to see from you? A constant barrage of ‘sign up for this’, ‘buy that’ might be welcomed by a small number of hardcore students, but maybe a short teaching video with an invitation to join your next workshop at the end will go miles further. Giving, connecting, then receiving. WHAT’S YOUR NICHE I love ‘dynamic’ yoga styles and this is what I teach. My classes are very physical and might not connect with some potential yogis. It might be tempting to ‘teach to an audience’, and there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s great experience to expand one’s repertoire. But, in my experience, if yin is your thing, teach yin, and if a more dynamic style is for you, teach that; the right students will find you.

“For me, one of the magical things about teaching yoga is that only the vaguest of business plans is required: Build it and they will come.” 116

FUTURE TRENDS Like in many arenas, if you want to know where things are headed in the UK, look to what the USA is already doing. As the recession years fall behind us (fingers crossed) there’s huge potential for yoga in the UK to grow in a big way. I think yoga will continue to move away from village halls and community centres to dedicated studios, especially in the cities, and gyms will offer more ‘proper yoga’, as they look to cash in on an expanding market, and pressure towards ‘recognised qualifications’ and regulation will increase. An ever growing number of yoga teachers is very much balanced at the moment by an expanding market, but it will become increasingly important to stand out as a truly excellent teacher to get the work. Compiled by Claudia Brown (yogabyclaudia.com)


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

Inside: Page 118: The way of Santosa Page 120: Teacher’s Tales

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Teacher zone

The way of SANTOSA Facing loneliness with contentment. Gilda Giannoni explores the concept of Santosa (or Santosha) and how we can use yoga, and a little practice, to master it

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olitude has always been a profound issue for philosophers and spiritual seekers. One of the highest conquests a person can achieve on a spiritual path is a full understanding that a human being is ultimately alone, and consequently, to develop the ability to face this loneliness without despair. “To live alone one must be either a beast or a God,” Aristotle said. It’s really a matter of extremes. Someone who’s very much depressed or profoundly misanthropic would rather live alone than mix with anybody else. In both cases, loneliness is usually a way to escape from society and to avoid direct comparison with others. On the other hand, a person who has come to a deep knowledge of himself and of human nature is absolutely comfortable in his loneliness. Spiritually evolved people are those who are happy with or without others; they are more or less at ease in every situation, and they accept their solitude while still being okay with meeting other people as well. The point is that they don’t need. Need what? They neither need to escape nor to have company. They’re satisfied. Always. They have fully realised the yogic principle of Santosa, or contentment.

Practice contentment

It might sound too simplistic to claim that just by following Santosa one can bear loneliness. Yet Santosa is a path, one that can teach us much more than what we usually think. Contentment is something one can exercise, like any other mental faculty. And, as happens with all mental faculties, when skill begins to improve, the focus on which it is exercised can grow wider and wider. Swami Yogananada used to say something similar about willpower: start exercising your willpower on very small and humble targets, trying simply to fulfil what you desire. As your initial goals are not that difficult to achieve, you will succeed, your self-esteem and determination will grow, and then you will be able to aim for something harder, or bigger. If you start by being content with modest achievements, you will find yourself doing things you would have never thought possible before. So, how can we practice contentment to the point of reaching the state of being content with ourselves? Let’s start with some small things. My guru in India, Swami Maheshananda from Lonavla, used to say that we are not really able to use three common and simple words in our daily life: no, stop, and enough. We know we shouldn’t accept an invitation to go out when we were determined to do something else, but instead, we say okay. We know a third piece of cake wouldn’t be good for our stomach, but still we take it. We know we have had enough of an insane relationship, but we still go on. All these acceptances are in fact renunciations: we renounce our determination and willpower, our health, our happiness, our own dignity. Often, accepting an immediate pleasure reveals itself ultimately to cause a deeper frustration and results in lower self-esteem. Without self-esteem it is impossible to live peacefully - both alone as well as with others - because in both cases our predominant feelings and actions are driven by negative subconscious mantras like ‘I am missing something’ or ‘I am inadequate’ or ‘I am not good enough’. The point, then, is to reinforce determination, willpower, health and dignity. Happiness will then arrive as a consequence.

Turning to yoga

This symbolic asana sequence can be useful on the path to improve the qualities we need to be happy:

n V irabhadra Asana II, Warrior Pose II. The solid base of the legs, the chest open with courage, and the gaze focused on the fingers, make this posture an excellent exercise to increase determination. n G aruda Asana, Eagle Pose. The eagle is both in the world and above the world. It’s the symbol of detachment, as it is able to look out over everything from above. At the same time, an eagle can dive down into worldly life whenever it wants to achieve the goal it has in mind. The eagle is clear in its intention and it is able to achieve it with an incredible precision. Feel your willpower in this posture, which is a preparation to fly, like a spring ready to be released. n V rksasana with Bija mantra, HAM, Tree Pose. The tree in Jungian symbolism is representative of the self. It depicts the growth of a person, their capability to stand on their own legs, and the profound introjection of the parents. It’s a posture that claims dignity and self-affirmation. HAM is the Bija mantra for the Vishuddha Chakra. When the yogin is able to open this chakra, he is fond of himself, sure about who he is, what he says and what he wants. He feels that he simply is. n A rdha Mastyendra Asana, spine twisting. In ancient texts, this pose is described as incredibly effective for increasing digestive power and ‘destroying terrible diseases’ (Hatha-Yoga Pradipika, I.27). Certainly, health is empowered with this posture. It’s not by chance that this asana was given the name of the very first yogin, Matsyendra. Many important twisting asanas are named after sages. That’s because of their ability to look at all sides, to look at past, present and future, to be at ease with the masculine and feminine aspects within themselves. All this is clear when you assume the position: the back is twisted but upright, the gaze is proud, and a feeling of happiness for who and what you are comes over you.

Concentration on strong points

Relax in a comfortable, meditative position. Breathe slowly, and practice some Ujjayi breathing if possible. When you feel that your mind has calmed down, begin thinking about your strong points. Start with the physical ones. Think about what your body allows you to do, what kind of strength it has. Then go on to your mental strong points, and finally, to your the spiritual ones. Don’t judge, and don’t let the flow of thoughts deviate from your target. Just analyse one point, considering what it allows you to do, the advantages it gives you, and how you have used it in the past or the present, or how you can use it in the future. Then think of another strong point. When you think you’ve finished, review them all in your mind again, and then realise how they allow you to survive and to build your dignity in this life. When a person is fully aware of who he is, of his strengths and his ability to survive, when he’s able to attest to his own dignity in life, then he will be fully content with himself. With this contentment, he can find a wise way of living between being happily alone and staying pleasantly with others, a righteous ‘philia’ or friendliness, as Aristotle would have explained in his concept of The Golden Mean, the perfect middle way. Gilda Giannoni is a yoga teacher and writer based in Italy (yogamarga.it)

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Teacher zone Teacher’s Tales:

No comfort zone

You can’t be comfortable and grow at the same time. By Paula Hines

A

fter 10 minutes of Savasana, five minutes of which had been a 61 points guided meditation around the body, we sat up to close our practice. These words from a woman in the studio drop-in class broke the silence: “That Savasana was too long. Too long. Make it much shorter

next time.” Did I take her words personally? Yes, in that moment, I did. And my response was to feel very judgemental towards her though I attempted not to show it. I explained that I varied what we did each week to provide a different experience and that after all, everyone has different preferences. (It was also not the first time we had spent 10 minutes in Savasana in this particular weekly class, with the intention of providing some experience of meditation along the way.) But inside, I was thinking, “What is wrong with you that the idea of more than three minutes in Savasana is too much? What is the matter with you that you find it so difficult to be still?!” But for many of us it is difficult to be still. I have found this challenging and sometimes I still do – stillness takes practice. So, I am no different. My attitude softened. As Yogi

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Bhajan said: “Recognise that the other person is you.” When we are still the space opens up for thoughts and emotions to arise that are not always comfortable. We know this, hence we avoid the discomfort by distracting ourselves with keeping busy, constantly moving, or numbing with addictive habits or substances. This reminds me of something I’ve heard my teacher Judith Hanson Lasater say often: “You can’t be comfortable and grow at the same time.” Many of us tend to resist embracing the things we need and those of us who need stillness more than others often resist it the most. I continue to practice stillness and face the discomfort because I know the benefits I receive when I do are life enhancing. Savasana is not described as the most difficult posture to master for nothing. What we are teaching and practicing is not easy. I noted that though the woman in class felt the need to complain, she had not left before the end of the class. She stayed with the discomfort and overcame it. I wonder if she realised she chose that.

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


Teacher zone

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books

The Dance Between Joy And Pain - A Practical Guide To Emotional Wellbeing And Fulfilment Mansukh Patel, Rita Goswami, Chris Barrington, Savitri MacCuish & Louise Rowan £14.99 Dru Publications

A revised and expanded version of an old bestseller, this book is a brilliant guide to all things Dru Yoga. Filled with practical, easy to learn tips, tools and techniques that have already helped thousands of people. A goldmine of priceless knowledge to help build self-esteem, improve relationships and live a more energised, creative, balanced and joyful life. Fully illustrated in full colour it’s a wonderful companion for your lifelong yoga journey.

Further reading: The Little Mindfulness Workbook - Everyday Techniques To Help You Combat Stress And Enhance Your Life Gary Hennessey £7.99 Crimson Publishing

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Heal Your Mind - Your Prescription For Wholeness Through Medicine, Affirmations and Intuition Dr Mona Lisa Schultz with Louise Hay £12.99 Hay House

This book uses medicine, intuition and affirmations to address common conditions and processes of the mind, from anxiety to addiction to learning disability. Combining modern science with compassion and ancient wisdom, discover what goes on in your body when you’re sad, angry or panicked, or having trouble focusing, reading or remembering. In each chapter you’ll also get a ‘virtual healing experience’ through case studies in the All Is Well clinic with solutions and affirmations to restore wellbeing.

www.friendsofyoga.co.uk friends@friendsofyoga.co.uk


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Yoga is for every body Your pictures. Your community Kim Threadgall at Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire

Mountain pose: Zia McClean at Everest Base Camp

Katy Moyes in Ambleside, Lake District

Owen and Richard: Val d’isere, France

Friends: Jacqui, Jane, Debbie and Helen in Glasgow

Karolina Wawrzyniak

Finding stillness: Jayne Stocker in Cornwall

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Barbara and baby Juliain


om actions Annely Kutsar in Tromdheim

Big Apple: Rashila Amin

Hello world! Ingrid Herzog in her garden. South Carolina, USA.

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

A retreat with a heart The Yoga Garden Party goes to Kolkata, India Join the Yoga Garden Party team (Simon Low, Vikki Stevenson and Ruth McNeil) for a life-changing yoga retreat and experience around vibrant Kolkata, India, in aid of the Hope Foundation. If you’re looking to give something back through yoga then this is the holiday for you – and you’ve got plenty of time to plan ahead. The retreat takes place a year from now on January 6-13, 2018. The Yoga Garden Party is now an annual event on the summer yoga calendar in southern England and raises vital cash for street children in Kolkata. Now, the team behind it are giving everyone the chance to join them in India to give something back directly. Enjoy twice daily yoga with three amazing teachers in the birthplace of yoga itself and know that you’ll be helping some of India’s must vulnerable and needy young people. Off the mat, there’ll be opportunities to visit and engage in HOPE’s many inspiring projects for the city’s street and slum children, and also time to explore one of the world’s most colourful cities. Now that’s what yoga is all about.

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FACT FILE The cost of the trip is £2,500 for a single room or £1,800 for shared accommodation in a 5-star hotel. This includes two daily yoga sessions, breakfast, dinner, airport transfers, daily excursion costs including lunch and a £500 donation to HOPE. Find out more at: thehopefoundation.org.uk


om travel Barcelona calling Five days of blissful yoga in the Catalan capital Next month, head to one of our favourite weekend getaways, Barcelona, for a five-day retreat with the inspirational Leslie Keeler Saglio. A life coach, yoga teacher, energy healer, author, and forever-inspired globe trotter, Saglio will guide you through this powerful full moon journey (there’s a full moon on February 11). Her passion is helping people, especially women, find peace and infuse balance with tools to free themselves and step into their full potential. Escape the cold of northern Europe and head to Spain to de-stress, relax and nourish your body, mind and spirit. FACT FILE Retreat includes: healthy vegetarian brunch, freshly prepared by private chef, morning and evening yoga, energy healing, coaching sessions, Hammam spa day, private city tour and sound bath with one of Barcelona’s most sought after healers. Staying at the Yoga Weeks Barcelona, in the heart of the city. Airfares and transfers not included. Dates: February 9-13, 2017. Visit: lesliesaglio.com/barcelona-winter-retreat

Come dancing Dance your socks off in the mountains this month with Dru Yoga Enjoy a weekend of fun and laughter in beautiful north Wales if you’re looking for a quick getaway this month. There’s always something going on at the Dru Yoga centre in Snowdonia, and with a full roster of yoga and meditation retreats planned throughout the year, there’s something for every taste. This month, a Yoga & Dance retreat is lined up between January 27-29. Blending together the benefits of yoga and dance, you’ll experience an energetic, stress-busting form of Dru Yoga, with music from funk to soothing rhythms. Get your giggle on and get on down. FACT FILE Price includes tuition, food and accommodation. Ensuite room: £360 shared or £430 single Visit: druyoga.com

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Arctic Yoga A

Get your skates on and head for a yoga retreat on Swedish Lapland’s frozen waters

new experience is being introduced to visitors in Lapland this winter – ice yoga and meditation on Arctic Sweden’s snow covered, frozen waters. From January, visitors can experience this as either a three hour session at the Active North Camp on the frozen Byske River or they join one of two dedicated four-day retreats, staying at Aurora Safari Camp by Degerselet Lake. Both venues are located north of Lulea and just an hour or so drive from Lulea Airport. Surrounded by beautiful silence, pine forests and clean Swedish Lapland air, it’s perfect for those looking for a yoga session with a difference this winter – but brace yourself for the cold. The yoga sessions are run by Active North’s Rebecca Bjork, a nature tourism specialist and Nordic Yoga Institute teacher. She says the experience offers fresh air, a positive physiological change associated with being outdoors and exercising. Moreover, she says going from hot to cold increases blood circulation which helps nourish the skin and relieve muscle tension. “When in the cold, the body works harder to stay warm, which

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increases the amount of endorphins in the body and leaves you with a strong sense of happiness,” she says. n Long weekend (four day) retreats at Aurora Safari Camp from February 23-26, and March 23-26. Includes daily outdoor yoga and mediation sessions on Degerselet Lake, group silent walk and silent lunch, warm up sessions in the wood-fired sauna and hot tub, plus guidance on how to unwind, find inner peace and focus on the inner self. Cost: £1,324pp. Includes full board accommodation in authentic Sami lavvu rooms, yoga classes and equipment, mindfulness lectures and sauna and hot tub use. n The one-off, three-hour experience is available between January 1 and April 29 at the Active North Camp by the Byske River. Includes outdoor yoga and meditation, a warming cup of Chaga tea with home-made fika and wood-fired sauna session to finish off. Costs from £157pp. Visit: activenorth.se


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om lite

Happy New Year

I

Why I’m not making a New Year’s resolution this year. By Victoria Jackson

used to be really big on New Year’s resolutions. I love setting targets, making plans, measuring progress. There’s nothing like an improvement project – and of course the ultimate such project is oneself! On the face of it making resolutions to improve ourselves in some way can only be a good thing. But looking at this from a yoga perspective, New Year’s resolutions and such conscious selfimprovement now seem a bit ego-driven, a bit too goal-oriented, and by definition all about the future rather than the now. None of this fits well with how I practice my yoga, where I deliberately try to observe and accept how things are rather than getting caught up in shoulds, musts, and what ifs. I could all too easily come up with a whole list of things to improve in my yoga practice. But I’m deliberately not plotting a timetable for achieving an unsupported headstand, nor planning what hamstringstretching regime might help me work my legs perfectly straight in a deep Uttanasana (standing forward fold), and I’m not setting targets for the length of my daily meditation practice. More important than these kinds of objectives is simply to step onto the mat or drop my bottom down onto the cushion regularly without

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any goal or ambition. Although it can feel counter-intuitive, letting go of the aims can be very liberating and rewarding. In fact yoga is probably the one area of my life where I feel I have the freedom to do whatever I want, simply to explore and be curious, without needing to gain a particular result or reward. Why would I change that? So if I were to set a New Year’s resolution it would simply be about continuing my Sadhana, my regular practice, and to worry less about what might happen in the future. There’s no app to help me and no chart to show my progress. I can’t tick it off as a job done, kilos lost, pounds saved, countries visited, books read...the resolutions I used to make. I can’t measure it because yoga will always – beautifully – be a work in progress. The power of the practice lies in the daily resolve to experience it and to accept it. Change will just happen in time. So with the much-quoted words of Pattabhi Jois in mind “practice and all is coming”. It’s time for me to roll out that mat… Happy New Year everyone!

Victoria Jackson lives and practices in Oxford. She is registered with Yoga Alliance as a vinyasa yoga teacher.


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