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FEBRUARY 2017 - £4.50

THE YOGA OF L ♥ VE 16 page Special

360º YO

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Valentine's Report



Escape to enlightenment

for the perfect night’s rest

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To demo or not to demo that is the question

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OM Meets – Mandy Jhamat Spring a leek – versatile vegetables Hygge + Yoga – comfort & joy Peak condition – Australia’s Duncan Peak

Open all year, The Yoga Hide­Away offers you the opportunity to swim, paddle, bike or hike your way to unique yoga locations and experience a journey of self­discovery in the mountains. 

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OM Magazine Issue 69, February 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:

Chief Editor:

Martin D. Clark e:


Tom Sanderson e:

Art Director:

Emily Saunders e:

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Sara Stant 44 (0) 1787 224040 e:

Subscriptions and Back Issues:

Hannah Allen 44 (0) 1787 224040 e:

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Yolande Arnold 44 (0) 1787 224040 e: COVER: Meredith Dziewit ( photographed for the cover of OM Yoga and Lifestyle magazine by Matt Fricovsky (

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.


Got to get you into my life. Yes, I mean yoga, of course! But at this time of year, with Valentine’s Day upon us, it might be nice to get a bit of love into your life too. If that’s what you’re after then we can help. No, we’re not launching a dating app, I’m afraid, but in this issue we’re including a report on yoga’s potent power in all things to do with love - from Tantra, through to conscious dating, and even chocolate (yes, some people really do love this aphrodisiac that much!). Love moves in mysterious ways, but deepening our understanding of it through our yoga can help us relate better not only to those closest to us but also to ourselves. A bit of self-love and appreciation goes a long way when you’re trying to find ‘The One’ out on the high street, at work, or even online. Of course, if you do love yoga – and you’re lucky enough to have a friend – then partner yoga could be a great thing for you; we’ve got that covered inside too. It’s all about making those connections, sharing, giving and receiving…plus it’s a whole heap of fun too. Buddy up and get a big new yoga boost. It’s true that we don’t need to look outside of ourselves to find happiness – all that we need is within us - but it sure makes watching the sunset or going to the movies a nicer experience if we have a pal or a partner by our side. And, if you’re really lucky, maybe they’ll even buy you some chocolates or a bunch of flowers when February 14 swings by. All you need is love, but if you still want more…you’ll find oodles of other great stories, inspiration and practical yoga in OM to help you both on and off the mat. That includes our new 360º Yoga experience, OM’s anatomy academy (this month we’re focusing on Plank Pose). Don’t forget: for the full interactive experience (which includes video, bonus content and a human figure you can rotate to see the asana from all angles) be sure to visit the OM app on your iPad. It’s a great resource whatever your level of experience. So, make yourself a nice cuppa and take some time out with OM this month. Hey, and good luck in your search for true love this month, or in your quest to find more peace and love from the inside. It’s all there waiting for you. Remember, we’re all one big interconnected happy family deep down so we’re all rooting for you here at OM HQ. Have a fantastic February folks, stay well, and shine your light.

OM in 30 seconds “Plank Pose is an arm balance that helps to develop strength and stability in our shoulder joints and shoulder girdle while developing our core musculature. Plank Pose helps us to develop our focus and concentration.” 360˚ Yoga (Page 38) “Sometimes, taking the time to explore each other again can be all it takes to make you feel a new beginning. And take the time to really look at each other; you will see how your beloved is new every day.” The Yoga of Love (Page 58) “After a physical practice, feeling grounded, centred and calmly present are the positive ripples we can take into life. Feeling buzzy, heady or excited can mean we’ve not spent enough time in grounding Savasana.” De-Stress Yoga (Page 76)

This month’s competition & subscription


Win 2 VIP tickets to Soul Circus Yoga & Wellness Festival (worth over £1,000)

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

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Contributors Tahereh Sariban

Belgian-born, Tahereh has spent long periods in Moscow, Montreal, Tehran and Dubai working between the consulting and art sectors and picking up languages on the go. When she’s not in the yoga room practicing or teaching, she hones her writing skills covering mostly topics of architecture, art and design. For her debut with OM, Tahereh contributes a first hand interview with Australian yogi Duncan Peak for our OMFM section.

Victoria Maw

Victoria is a journalist and yoga teacher based in south-east London. She has a three-year old daughter and is passionate about the positive and empowering effect of yoga on motherhood. She specialises in gentle slow-flow and pregnancy yoga and places particular emphasis on treating the body and the mind with kindness, respect and love. Find out more at:

Juliana Kassianos

Juliana is a nutrition and lifestyle therapist. As a former editor of a health policy journal, she felt not enough was being done within the health system to help people live healthier lifestyles. Launching her practice in Brentwood, Essex (, she empowers people to develop a better relationship to food and their bodies through nutrition, lifestyle and behavioural adjustment. She is qualified in various holistic health practices and recently went on a yoga therapy course.

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


“Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is Divine, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source”

Leo Tolstoy 4

February 2017

Contents OM Regulars



Editors Letter


Peak Condition: Australia’s Duncan Peak


My Secret Place


Man On The Mat: Mountain Pose




Yoga Changed My Life


The Strike


What’s Your Affirmation


Cultural Treasure

Cover Story

A Loving Pathway

58 The Art Of Love:

Finding A Deeper Meaning

62 Chocolate For Breakfast:

Niaouli Essential Oil

Celebrating Cacao

Amazing Spaces

64 Conscious Dating Guide:

20 OM Loves:

7 Keys To Conscious Dating

Beautiful Things For Beautiful People

22 Fashion: 26

New Balls

68 Get Yourselves Together: Tantra Yoga On The Mat

Your Photos.

114 OM Lite: We’re All In It Together

OM Body Cover Story


Yoga At Home: Sleep Well

Cover Story


OM Meets…Mandy Jhamat

Cover Story


360º Yoga: OM’s Anatomy Academy


What My Yoga Mat Means To Me

42 Shifting Your Perspective: Strong Roots, Soft Heart


Just Good Friends: Partner Yoga Fun Grab Some Valentine’s Goodies

101 OM Books: Great Yoga Reads Your Community


67 Love Shack:

Planet Yoga

102 Yoga Is For Every Body:

The Yoga Of Love

56 A Tantric Guide To Valentine’s Day:

17 Yoga & Aromatherapy: 18



Yoga Therapy: Depression


Real Life Yoga: The Excuse Annihilator

OM Mind 70 Meditation Of The Month: The Dark Side


Hygge + Yoga: Comfort & Joy

76 Free Yourself From Poor Confidence: Guide To Breaking Free


De-Stress Yoga: What Is Grounding




Cover Story

OM Spirit 80 Escape To Enlightenment: Set Your Spirit Free

82 Love Is The Gospel: The Church Of Yoga

106 70

OM Living Cover Story



Eat Drink Yoga: Healthy Eating Goodies


Spring a Leek: Versatile Vegetables


Nutrition Zone: Sugar Free

OM Family 92

Conscious Parenting: Teen Camp

OM Actions 94 The Wild Yoga Experience: The Yoga Hideaway

OM Teacher Zone 96

My Yoga Biz:

Tips From The Experts

98 Mindfulness In Action: Yoga Teachers Are Only Human Too

Cover Story

100 Teacher’s Tales: To Demo Or Not To Demo

OM Travel 104 OM Travel News: Awe Inspiring Retreats & Ideas For Yoga Explorers


106 Hell Of A Ride: Yoga And Helicopters 108 Let’s Run Away To Ragdale: Ragdale Hall

110 To The Lighthouse:

Carbis Bay Hotel & Spa


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My secret place Location Ponte del Diavolo, Italy Yogi Jen Warakomski Photo Francesca Magnani Jen Warakomski, a true New Yorker, moved to Italy a few years ago and found in Lucca her new home: “I teach and share yoga, meditation and reiki as a means of healing and developing self awareness and compassion for oneself,” she says. “When we are compassionate to ourselves, we become compassionate to everything around us. Little by little, this brings more peace to the world”. Here she is photographed near Ponte del Diavolo in Borgo a Mozzano, near her beloved Lucca.


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

My yoga bible

I just wanted to start by saying this is the first time I have ever felt the need to write in to a magazine. OM has quite literally taken me by surprise, as I am someone who doesn’t practice yoga, but does practice Body Balance and absolutely loves it! However, thanks to OM I am feeling the benefits of the very informative and wise advice from the articles your magazine is packed with. Every issue becomes battered where I read and then re-read each page. Even things I have never heard of soon become pages of how did I manage without this piece of information in my life. I am now covering pages with Post-it notes so I know I need to go back to it. I am learning very quickly to be happy with who I am, and realise that it’s okay to make mistakes, thanks to the great writers that share their knowledge with us. I practice poses that have been shown through your magazine so beautifully that even a beginner can follow. I can now breathe in a way that brings a clear and focused mind. My ultimate goal is now to begin my journey on my yoga path, but until then I will be self taught through the bible of your wonderful magazine. Rhonda C, by email

Brush with the devil

I am a 14-year-old girl, living in Australia. When I was nine, I was diagnosed with leukaemia, which then brought about a strong and ongoing passion for eating nutritious and organicfoods. Soon after that, I got into yoga – without my ‘brush with devil’. I would never have even blinked in the direction of a yoga studio, let alone changed my diet and lifestyle! I love reading and writing and was keen to find out more about this both peculiar and amazing exercise. So…that’s where your magazine has come in! So far, I have only read a few issues, but they have all been so informative, inspiring and a lot of the time, relatable. They have encouraged me to get out my mat and get my body and mind stretching. Thank you, and keep up the fantastic work! Madeleine, by email

THIS is literally what I’m dedicating today to. Cappuccinos, yoga, some much overdue exercise and reading magazines. Don’t forget to take time for yourself, especially when times are rough! I’m so excited to open this issue of @omyogamagazine. Isn’t the cover lovely and wintery? @eliseeverse

Happy new me

Great start to the new year, guys. Always love my OM magazine but was especially happy to get your January issue through the post this time. I find it quite a challenge getting started again after the festive holidays but OM helped me get back on my yoga mat and thinking really positively about the year ahead. Roll on 2017! I really appreciated your Starting Over report as well. As it happens, this is the year I really want to explore teacher training so great timing from you guys. Keep up the amazing work! Jane L, by email

Keep in touch

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


What you said about us on social media

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20% off retreats in Snowdonia

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omfeb17 offer ends 28 February

Don’t hold yourself back says Sophie MacDonald Why did you start yoga

NAME: Sophie MacDonald AGE: 28 OCCUPATION: Yoga Teacher, Juicer

I came to yoga as a way to deal with the death of YOGA YEARS: 5 my dad. I didn’t want to be at home and, needing (teaching for three) something to distract myself, I started going to the gym every night, and then to a yoga class outside of the gym; I loved it and began to take yoga classes every night instead. Then a friend took me to a mindfulness class at a studio near me called Yoga at the Mill in Chelmsford (where I now work) and it was incredible. I felt such a deep sense of peace afterwards, I just knew yoga was something I wanted to share with everyone. When my practice began to deepen and I started to understand the asanas and the anatomy, I began to ‘feel’ my body all the time – I knew when I was tensing my shoulders or jaw. I could feel myself breathing!

How has yoga changed your life? Yoga Dance 27–29 Jan Yoga & Mudra 3–6 Feb Ayurveda, Tailored for You 3–5 Mar Ayurvedic Cookery 10–12 Mar Meditation Retreat 10–12 Mar Yoga & Walking 31 Mar–3 Apr Yoga & Walking 26–29 May Yoga & Weight Loss 2–4 Jun Yoga, Nutrition & Detox 14–16 Jul Youth Summer Retreat 2–6 Aug Yoga & Walking 3–6 Aug Yoga, Nutrition & Detox 1–3 Sep Ayurveda to Balance Hormones 17–19 Nov

After months of seeing my dad fight and lose his battle with cancer, yoga was an hour to myself where I could switch off and slowly begin to heal. I applied for the 200 hour intensive yoga course with the amazing Simon Low and his Yoga Academy. Two years and four months later I quit my day job and took the plunge to teach yoga full time and work with my best friend on our business The Sphere (

Favourite yoga haunts

My yoga teacher (Lucia Cockroft) asked me to help at her retreat a year ago and I could participate in classes. We were in legs up the wall in a beautiful converted barn with big glass walls and all I could hear was the call of two owls. It was one of those moments were you are aware that you are alive, and breathing, and everything was so overwhelmingly beautiful and peaceful I cried! Another favourite place is the studio where I work and practice. I’m usually early, so I roll my mat out, eyebag on, and take an extra five minutes Savasana!

Best yoga moment

I have two (I’m sure there will be more!). The first when Lucia asked if I wanted to teach at her studio. I couldn’t believe she was asking me to teach yoga to other people paying to come. I’m so grateful and thankful to her for believing in me and giving me the confidence to say to myself, ‘Okay, let’s do this!’ The second was when I graduated from the Yoga Academy. After two years - and mostly hating anything to do with anatomy(!) I’d finished. I stood there with my certificates thinking ‘oh my god...what do I do now?’

Anything else

Taking the steps to hand in my resignation to a job that paid the bills, to now teaching what I love, was terrifying but I am so thankful and grateful that I did. If you love it, then do it. Nothing, except yourself, is holding you back. My favourite saying is this: “Once you make a decision the whole universe conspires to make it happen.” That’s pretty incredible.

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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

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Lendrick Lodge, Brig O’Turk, Callander, FK17 8HR Tel: 0044 (0) 1877 376 263 email:

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Striking out

Yoga teacher and OM cover model, Erin Fogel, graces the big screen in new US feature film


oga teacher, actress and occasional OM cover model Erin Fogel is now starring in her very own feature film, which she also helped produce. The Strike is a female-driven comedy set in New York City and draws on some of Fogel’s own yoga background, including a scene set inside her studio. She is also one of the founders of the House of Jai yoga studio in Manhattan. The American actress (who last graced our cover in September 2016) says the film is based around three, less than talented, New York actors who after years of missed opportunities, criticism, and bad first impressions, take fate into their own hands when they devise a half-baked theatrical ‘siege’ in order to prove they have what it takes to make their mark in the film business. Written and directed by Guillermo Ivan, it also stars Bronson Pinchot (whose past credits include Beverly Hills Cop, True Romance and TV show Perfect Strangers), Paul Calderon (Pulp Fiction), Guillermo Ivan (Vantage Point) and Christopher Marquez (Habana Instant). And, naturally, Fogel’s very excited about the whole thing. “The Strike has a multi-cultural and eclectic cast which carries all the humour and funnies of a great comedy film,” she tells OM. “It was exciting to act opposite Bronson and bring him back into the limelight again. He is such a talented, seasoned actor to work with.” Find out more at:


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AFFIRMATION? An affirmation for self care and healthy relationships

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

Yoga Academy Teacher Training Course 2017 BWY Diploma level accreditation, Yoga Alliance Professionals and Yoga Alliance US 200-hour certification Commences in the UK in November 2017, limited to 20 students

Yin & Yang Yoga Teacher Training and Study Immersion Yoga Alliance Professionals and Yoga Alliance US 200-hour certification 27 January—25 February, 2017, Samahita Retreat, Koh Samui, Thailand

Ongoing Training and Study Immersions

“I am always safe and secure in my surroundings. I attract healthy, beautiful, loving relationships into my life. Life loves and supports me”

Surround yourself with people who lift you higher and support your dreams. Notice when you feel alive and vibrant and learn to recognise when your energy feels drained. People and places have an effect on our energy levels. Listen to your body, notice how you feel when you’re around certain people. We need to feel grounded and secure yet lifted and exhilarated. Keep your feet on the ground although be willing to take a look at things from a different perspective. Always aim high. Let yourself soar. Remember you were born to fly. Make the choice to always speak highly of others; never bond with others through gossip. Only engage with positive communication. Making someone else wrong or putting someone down for their choices in life never makes us the superior one; gossip and negativity just depletes our energies. Don’t ignore your feelings - listen to them. Tune in to your energy and raise your vibration when you need to. Surround yourself with people who smile when you’re smiling and who make you feel like smiling. Aim to make others smile. Remember, people will always remember how you made them feel.

By Deb Mac (

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 theyogaacademy YogaAcademyUK yogaacademyuk



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 simonlowuk yogawithsimonlow yogasimonlow


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Cultural treasure

Yoga added to Unesco list of intangible world heritage

ore international recognition for yoga: Unesco has just added the ancient Indian discipline to its list of intangible world heritage. The list of intangible cultural treasures was created 10 years ago by the Paris-based body, mainly to increase awareness of them. It also sometimes offers financial or technical support to countries struggling to protect them. Yoga joins other ‘intangibles’ such as Cuba’s Rumba dance and even Belgium’s beer culture, reflecting the diversity of the list and, of course, the incredible cultural diversity of the planet. It’s also another feather in the cap for yoga as it continues to grow worldwide. It follows the endorsement of a UN International Yoga Day (now celebrated every year on June 21) in 2015. Unesco began compiling its list back in 1972, which also


includes well-known physical sites such as Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, Australia’s Uluru national park (formerly Ayer’s Rock) and the Grand Canyon in the USA. Here’s what Unesco had to say about yoga: “The philosophy behind the ancient Indian practice of yoga has influenced various aspects of how India’s society functions, from health and medicine to education and the arts. Based on unifying the mind with the body and soul for greater mental, spiritual and physical wellbeing, it consists of a series of poses, meditation, controlled breathing, word chanting and other techniques. Traditionally passed on from master to pupil, nowadays yoga ashrams, hermitages, educational institutions and community centres also help to transmit the practice.”

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Yoga & Aromatherapy Niaouli Essential Oil (Melaleuca viridiflora)

A World Class Yoga Retreat Centre in Southern Spain

February often heralds the first signs of spring; the first shoots may start to appear as the warmth returns with the increasing power of the sun. This month is time for some purification and cleansing so that we can emerge from winter, stronger, brighter, warmer versions of ourselves. A wonderful oil to use for purification is Niaouli oil, Melaleuca viridiflora. Niaouli oil was traditionally used to purify water and is the perfect oil to use to purify your home or yoga studio. Place 300ml of distilled water in a spray bottle, add 5ml of Niaouli oil and then spray liberally to purify your space and let the anti-viral properties of Niaouli remove any germs. To purify and cleanse the mind this month, place a couple of drops in a diffuser and spend some time in meditation – the Niaouli oil will help to clear the mind and improve your ability to concentrate. Use a couple of drops only, as Niaouli is very stimulating, and light a candle to honour the rebirth of the sun and to think about all the new things that are on their way. Niaouli oil is also very good for clearing the respiratory system, so perfect for any winter colds or flu that are still lingering. Place a couple of drops in a vaporiser or in some grape seed oil and then rub in into the neck and chest area to help alleviate symptoms. Always use in small quantities as it’s a stimulant.

By Julia White (

Join one of our retreats Enjoy our facilities as an independent guest Bring your own group Immerse yourself in a yoga teacher training

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Amazing spaces Stylish and inspiring studio design ideas and interiors

Isle of Yoga, 7 Arthur’s Hill, Shanklin, Isle of Wight, PO37 6EW Isle of Yoga represents a shared vision from Elaine and Erling McCracken: that yoga is life and you can live your life through yoga. Using their beautifully renovated late Victorian family home on the Isle of Wight, they run hosted small group yoga retreats for guest teachers, facilitate their own residential workshops, retreats and holidays and offer local weekly classes. Their personal approach to yoga and teaching is Scaravelli inspired. The owners set out to make Isle of Yoga’s studio as comfortable as possible. It has under floor insulation (keeps all drafts out), preserved original floor boards, heated and a Norwegian wood burner for extra warmth. A bespoke audiophile stereo produces a quality sound which is as good as any recording studio production. This can add a whole other dimension to sound tracks for practicing yoga and meditation.


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loves Y

Beautiful things for beautiful people Pukka Herbs Clean Me Green Kit - £19.99

Designed to put the spring back into your step, this kit brings together the power of organic plants in one easy-to-follow, two week programme. Includes Pukka’s expertly blended Detox tea and Clean Matcha Green tea, plus Clean Greens superblend powder. Comes with a wellbeing guide packed full of helpful tips and recipes to help you get your glow back.

Buttafly - £22.99 - £35.99

The revolutionary new yoga block and meditation seat all rolled up in one clever design. No more slouching or perching uncomfortably on the edge of a regular block, Buttafly offers the perfect support for effortless cross-legged sitting with good posture to help you get the most out of your practice.

Organyc Intimate Wash - £6.95

The wash contains gentle, soothing and organic ingredients of calendula and chamomile to soothe the skin while you wash, leaving you feeling refreshed. An ideal choice for women with sensitive skin. No parabens, SLS, mineral oils or synthetic preservatives, just 100% natural and organic skin friendly ingredients to care and nurture your skin.

Vivobarefoot Wing Shoes - $124

Barefoot shoe company Vivobarefoot just launched a new line of women’s urban minimalist shoes, created for the everyday woman who lives in the city, and chooses to stay fit and healthy. The Wing is a refined performance shoe that’s lightweight, making it the ideal shoe for city streets, yoga, gym, and indoor classes. Combines style, comfort, and an eco-conscious vegan design, delivering optimum breathability and comfort.


om beginnings VOYA Lazy Days Seaweed Bath - ÂŁ16.00

Create a luxurious and rejuvenating spa experience from the comfort of your own home. Indulge your senses in the tub with the VOYA Lazy Days Seaweed Bath, perfect for healthy and rejuvenated wellbeing and skincare. Fresh from the coast of Northern Ireland, the seaweed naturally rehydrates and springs back to life, releasing a magical blend of luxurious oils and dead-sea salt crystals, to hydrate and moisturise the skin, all while you simply lay back and relax.

Cleanse, Nurture, Restore with Herbal Tea Book - ÂŁ20

The new book from Sebastian Pole, co-founder of Pukka Herbs, is full of inspiring ideas for a healthier life. Includes 70 herbal tea recipes to help readers to harness the power of plants for overall wellbeing. Also includes advice on the art of herbal tea making, suggesting herbs to help with sleep, support digestion and reboot energy levels.

Fall in love with toesox Truly. Madly. deeply. L i m i t e d E d i t i o n L o v e C o l l e c t i o n f r o m To e S o x yoga | pilates | dance


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Bamboo Gathered Tank, Midnight, £35

Paraqeet leggings, Unicorns, £49

New Balls

Vibrant technical leggings and soft natural bamboo clothing - a winning combination

Models: Louise, Candice, Rebecca, Paula and Maggie the dog Photos: Jane’s Photography (


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Paraqeet leggings,£49

Bamboo Soft Tank, £33

Luxury Jumpsuit, £79

Seamless Soft Tank, £33

Harem Pants, £62


om beginnings Bamboo Wrap, £47 Seamless Bamboo Leggings, £39

Bamboo Catsuit, £65


Bamboo New Strappy Tank, £35 Paraqueet Leggings £49

Bamboo Bra with removable cups £33

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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 BWY registration is a prerequisite to acceptance on all courses.

OM_BWY_Everybody_AD180x120_dec_Jan17.indd 1

BWY – for your lifelong journey in yoga 19/12/2016 10:14


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



Royal appointment

Prince Harry’s latest squeeze Meghan Markle was spotted recently heading to a yoga studio in Toronto for a bit of downtime on the mat. The 35-year-old actress is currently filming US TV legal drama series ‘Suits’ in the city. She was ‘papped’ by photographers clutching her own rolled up yoga mat and sporting a $1,500 Mulberry tote bag as she made her way to the studio. Toronto’s vibrant yoga scene is enough to entice anyone though. Yoga and wellness is booming in Canada’s biggest city, with lots of fab new studios.


Epic fail

US rapper 50 Cent has admitted that yoga can be hard going, after trying his first class recently. The singer got a rude awakening after trying to keep up with fellow yoga students with more experience. “It started out good and then the ladies started going faster and faster,” he told Harry Connick Jr. in a television interview. “It was difficult moves for you to put your body in different spaces and I was like, ‘what?’ and I’m looking around to see if other people are having the same experience. I ended up in a class that was a little too advanced for me.” Moral of the story: don’t follow the crowd, just play your own game.


Flying high

Airline pilot Malin Rydqvist, 29, who flies a Boeing 737 for her day job, is winning admirers for her yoga moves too. Between flying around the world in her jet, she is posting flawless headstands on social media from locations around the world. Multi-talented Rydqvist, who is Swedish but based in Croatia, swaps her pilot’s hat for her yoga pants as soon as she touches down. She says she first got into yoga after a 2008 snowboarding accident, which left her with back pain. “I tried everything and the only thing that really worked for me was yoga,” she was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

om beginnings Health benefits

A new study has again underlined the health benefits of a regular yoga practice - this time for controlling blood pressure. Experts have long known of yoga’s dazzling array of health benefits, including helping patients with high blood pressure to manage the condition, but new research shows that it can likewise aid patients with prehypertension - a condition where blood pressure is higher than normal, but not high enough to fall in the hypertension range. The findings were presented at the annual conference of the Cardiological Society of India.

Yoga Courses & Sports Massage Therapy Training By Dawn Morse MSc


Japan Yoga CPD Courses & Workshops Include: Anatomy for Yoga The Science of Stretching Yoga Science and Back Pain Courses open to all including Yoga Teachers, Students & Practitioners Please get in touch if you have any questions


A company in Japan is combining mindful yoga with the ancient art of the tea ceremony. Tranquilitea was founded by two Japanese women, Machiko Hoshina and Noriko Kirishima, who believe that the tea ceremony and yoga share a common philosophy of meditation, to help balance mind, body and soul. “By activating the five senses and being present in a Zen-style tearoom, you may feel yourself a part of the whole of nature and the enlarged universe – and learn the preciousness of being yourself,” Hoshina told the Japan Times. A cup of tea and a bit of yoga. What could be better? +44(0) 7887 535766

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Sleep well A 10 minute evening yoga flow sequence for a perfect night’s sleep with Lucy McCarthy


Props needed: eye bag, strap, block


Child’s Pose Forehead On Block (Balasana)

From a kneeling position open your knees shoulders distance apart. Top of the feet flat on the mat with your big toes touching. Keeping the heels touching the buttocks, walk your hands out in front of you until your spine is long and forehead touching the floor. Arms are shoulders distance apart with the palms down, fingers spread open. Then place a block (on the lowest height) under your forehead with the skin of the forehead gently drawing down towards the bridge of your nose. The block presses gently on the vagus nerve which assists in deep relaxation and a quieting of the mind. Take 5 slow deep breaths expanding the lungs fully in all directions on the inhale and exhaling fully as you relax the whole body deeply.



Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Inhale lift your chest off the floor bringing your shoulders stacked over the wrists. Exhale tuck the toes under and lift the hips diagonally back and up into Downward Facing Dog. Hands shoulders distance apart; feet hips distance apart. Spread the fingers and toes. If the back of the legs feel tight or your heels are lifted high off the ground take your feet wider apart to release your lower leg muscles. Take 3 deep breaths here.

Bicycling The legs

From Downward Facing Dog begin to bicycle the legs. Bending into one knee as you press the opposite heel down into the ground to stretch the calf muscles and achilles tendon. Match the rhythm of the movement with the rhythm of the breath. Move calmly and fluidly.


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Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

From Downward Facing Dog inhale raise your left leg high to the sky into Three Legged Dog. Exhale step your left foot through between the hands. Lower your back knee to the floor. Make sure the front knee is stacked directly on top of the ankle, middle of the knee lined up with your second toe. Inhale reach the arms overhead keeping hands shoulder distance apart, spread the fingers wide. Take 3 full, deep and calm breaths here.


Lizard (Utthan Pristhasana)

From the wide legged forward bend on an inhale look up and lift your spine halfway up with a long flat back. Exhale and pivot a quarter turn back to the left into a lunge with the left leg forwards. Place both hands to the inside of the front foot then step the front foot to the far left hand side of the mat and turn the foot out at a 45 degree angle. Either stay up on the hands or if more open in the hips mindfully lower onto your forearms. Relax your head and neck completely taking 4 breaths into the back body. If you are on your forearms come back up onto your hands. Step the left foot back into the middle of the mat with the hands framing the foot and on an exhale step back into Downward Facing Dog.


Wide Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)

On an exhale lower the hands either side of the front foot onto the floor and lift your back knee off the floor. Pivot your chest and both feet a quarter turn to your right coming into a wide legged forward bend. Look at your feet pigeon toe them turning your toes in heels out slightly. Hands stacked directly under your shoulders. Bend your knees generously to free up the lower back. Take 3 deep breaths as you completely relax the face and back of the neck.


Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

From Downward Facing Dog inhale raise your right leg high to the sky into Three Legged Dog. Exhale step your right foot through between the hands. Lower your back knee to the floor. Make sure the front knee is stacked directly on top of the ankle, middle of the knee lined up with your second toe. Inhale reach the arms overhead keeping hands shoulder distance apart, spread the fingers wide. Take 3 full, deep and calm breaths here.


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Continue sequence >> 31

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Wide Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)

On an exhale lower the hands either side of the front foot onto the floor and lift your back knee off the floor. Pivot your chest and both feet a quarter turn to your right coming into a wide legged forward bend. Look at your feet pigeon toe them turning your toes in heels out slightly. Hands stacked directly under your shoulders. Bend your knees generously to free up the lower back. Take 3 deep breaths as you completely relax the face and back of the neck.


Child’s Pose Forehead On Block (Balasana)

From a kneeling position open your knees shoulders distance apart. Top of the feet flat on the mat with your big toes touching. Keeping the heels touching the buttocks, walk your hands out in front of you until your spine is long and forehead touching the floor. Arms are shoulders distance apart with the palms down, fingers spread open. Then place a block (on the lowest height) under your forehead with the skin of the forehead gently drawing down towards the bridge of your nose. The block presses gently on the vagus nerve which assists in deep relaxation and a quieting of the mind. Take 5 slow deep breaths expanding the lungs fully in all directions on the inhale and exhaling fully as you relax the whole body deeply.



Lizard (Utthan Pristhasana)

From the wide legged forward bend on an inhale look up and lift your spine halfway up with a long flat back. Exhale and pivot a quarter turn back to the left into a lunge with the left leg forwards. Place both hands to the inside of the front foot then step the front foot to the far left hand side of the mat and turn the foot out at a 45 degree angle. Either stay up on the hands or if more open in the hips mindfully lower onto your forearms. Relax your head and neck completely taking 4 breaths into the back body. If you are on your forearms come back up onto your hands. Step the left foot back into the middle of the mat with the hands framing the foot and on an exhale step back into Downward Facing Dog.


Alternate Nostril breath (Nadi Shodhana)

From Child’s Pose lift the chest into an upright position, shoulders stacked over the hips kneeling. Open your right palm out in front of you and fold the index and middle fingers into the palm of the hand leaving the thumb, ring and baby finger sticking up. Bring the right hand in front of your face with the thumb alongside your right nostril, ring and baby finger alongside the left nostril. Close the right nostril with your thumb inhale slowly through the left nostril, at the top of the inhale, close the left nostril with the ring finger open the right nostril and exhale. At the end of the exhale inhale back through the right nostril. At the end of the inhale close the right nostril with the thumb, open the left nostril and exhale. Repeat this for 4 more rounds. In through the left, out through the right, in through the right, out through the left is one round.

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Leg Strap Sequence Supine (Supta Padangusthasana) Part 1

Come to lie down on your back. Loop the strap around the ball of your left foot holding each side of the strap in either hand with the left leg extended straight up into the sky. Flex the left ankle pulling the toes down as you reach the heel up. Spread your toes. Take three breaths here each time you exhale drawing the left leg closer into the body.


Leg Strap Sequence Supine (Supta Padangusthasana) Part 2

Take both sides of the strap into your left hand only and place the right hand down on the top of the right thigh to keep it anchored. Take a long slow inhale and as you exhale open the left leg and left arm out to the left to stretch the inner thigh. Take three breaths here. On an exhalation draw the navel to spine as you bring the left leg all the way back up to the centre.


Leg Strap Sequence Supine (Supta Padangusthasana) Part 3

Take both sides of the strap into your right hand now. On an exhale with your right hand draw your left leg across the body to the right until it comes to toward the floor. Open your left arm out to the side at the height of the shoulder with the palm facing up. Spread your toes and take three deep breaths here reaching out through the ball in the heel of both feet. On an exhale bring the left leg all the way back to centre, bend the knee and change the strap on to the ball of the right foot. REPEAT STEPS 12-14 ON THE RIGHT SIDE. Yogi: Lucy McCarthy Images courtesy of: Movement For Modern Life ( Visit the website for more online yoga classes from the best teachers

Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani)

Hug your knees into your chest and come up to sitting. Take the short edge of your mat to the wall. Sit just to the right side of your mat with your left knee and hip touching the wall, knees bent. Lie on your back as you swivel your legs up the wall, heels over hips. Place your eye bag over the eyes. And open the arms into a cactus shape. Relax deeply for at least 3 minutes. Up to 7 minutes if you have the time.

GET YOUR YOGA FIX AT HOME Try the complete video now – it’s FREE! Visit the website: or download the Digital version

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OM meets...

Mandy Jhamat


om body Mandy Jhamat, co-founder of Yogasphere, famed for its luxe retreats and uber cool London skyline classes at The Shard, is a yoga teacher to the stars. Here, she tells OM that it’s all about keeping things simple and just following the bliss How did you first get into yoga My first experience of yoga was during my A-Levels at school via a yoga DVD, I fell in love with the flow practice and remember really connecting with the blissful relaxation in Savasana. That DVD kept my yoga appetite fed until my early 20s when I explored classes in gyms and yoga centres, but the seed was sown with simply practicing in my home alone. I took that self-practice feeling into classes, being absorbed in my practice even though I would be in a big class. What inspired you in those early days I was drawn to the practice for both its physical effect, as I was never the most flexible (and, in fact, avoided gym class at school!) but also the wonderful calm that washed over me by the end of each practice. I did not over-think it and just kept practicing as I always left feeling so much better. Any favourite teachers or locations My teachers and guides are not only from yoga but also meditation as I came to have a dedicated meditation practice first. My life has been heavily influenced by Osho and his active meditations. I also love practicing abroad and have been blessed to have practiced all over the world. But my favourites have included the simplicity of a Goa beach followed by a watermelon juice…and then the complete other scale of a luxury resort in the Maldives in a beautiful yoga shala facing the Indian Ocean.

Any transformational yoga moments There have been so many. But my top three would be: 1. Respect and honouring my body; not always easy as a female with all the pressures to fit a mould of how we should look. Yoga is an embodied practice so you honour its limitations and learn to respect it as the vessel for your soul. 2. That ‘A-ha’ moment, when I felt and experienced (through meditation) an interconnectivity between little me and the world around me. One of my favourite quotes puts it beautifully: “You are not a drop in the ocean but the entire ocean in a drop. “This changed my whole perspective. 3. Compassion, love and understanding as core principles to live my life by. How would you describe your teaching style It really takes a while to develop your personal style as it’s unfolding on its own. Teaching for me is a sharing that creates a communion between teacher, and the teachings that have moved and impacted me, and the sensitive communication of those to my students. I am not the expert in the room to be blindly followed but simply a guide to allow people to be led by their own voice and light. My style is therefore a reflection on my primary interest in meditation; the practice provides a moving meditation taught mainly in a slow Vinyasa and sometimes Yin-style poses to deepen into. I teach to move students away from the awareness simply in their physical body, but energetically instead and then away from the labelling mind into a place of observation.


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“My personal mantras do change depending on my circumstances but one that has stuck is: “My soul is here for its own joy.” How do you want people to feel after your classes Like they have arrived back into themselves - their centre, their essence, away from doing and into being. We are so attached to ‘action’ and have lost how to simply ‘experience’ so if I can help students to do that for an hour and half then that is an honour for me. What are your own plans going forward We have some long-term and short-terms plans in place but confirmed for 2017 we have collaborated with Tibits in London (a restaurant selling amazing vegetarian and vegan food) and will be running yoga breakfasts and yoga brunches at their locations in the West End and London Bridge. Further afield we have a new residency for those wanting a yoga holiday or retreat in Thailand. It starts in February and will be available all year long for those in a tiny island off Krabi/Phuket. How do you reassure someone new to yoga That we all start somewhere and it’s the taking the steps towards our desires that are important. It’s completely natural to be apprehensive or fearful even, but fear only paralyses us. But when we make an unknown or a new scenario into something we are familiar with then that is empowering. Most of all your mat time is just for you, so forget the need to compete and just ‘be’ and have fun.


What do you do when you’re not doing yoga Well, I love travelling. Asia is a personal favourite and I visit every other year at least. I like to explore; travel that is enriching, so it tends to be around my yoga and meditation practices. I am also very fortunate that my work takes me abroad to some stunning places. Reading is a must in my life so I try to make time for this. I used to be a makeup artist so I also still like to attend events, workshops and seminars to stay connected to the fashion and cosmetics world. And I am a spa addict I think, so if you can’t find me I am normally in my favourite one in London - Akasha spa. Any personal motto or mantra My personal mantras do change depending on my circumstances but one that has stuck is: “My soul is here for its own joy”. This reminds that I am simply the vehicle for consciousness to express itself joyously and that simplifies so much of the clutter I let myself get caught up in in life. Another one that is dear to me is Sat-Cit-Ananda, which means Truth Consciousness Bliss. So simple, but so powerful. Any good life hacks for the rest of us Wow! Well, I can only say from my experience that if we all focus on that which makes us feel joy, love and bliss then we are on the right path. It does not mean the path will not bring us pain or heartache but only so we can recall how to get back to bliss again. Every step is an opportunity to learn and grow.

Find out more about Mandy Jhamat and Yogasphere at:

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om body presents...

360Ëš yoga with

Doctor yogi Detailed alignment cues for Plank Pose

An overview of...

Plank Pose

(Utthita Chaturanga Dandasana) Plank Pose is an arm balance that helps to develop strength and stability in our shoulder joints and shoulder girdle while developing our core musculature.


t is often seen as part of a Sun Saluation as a transition between Mountain Pose and Chaturanga. Plank Pose helps us to develop our focus and concentration.

FIND A NEUTRAL CHEST l Lengthen through all four sides of your waist to create more space between your hip bones and your lower ribs l Round your upper back slightly as you draw your shoulder blades apart to create space at the back of your chest l Then widen across your collar bones (clavicles) to stabilise this space

FIRM YOUR LEGS l Press your heels to the back of the room to lengthen your legs l Gently draw your knee caps up but keep a micro-bend in your knees to prevent you from locking your knee joints


l Place your hands shoulder width apart directly under your shoulders l Have your index fingers parallel to each other l Bend your elbows slightly, energetically draw your hands towards each other and then straighten your elbows


om body The benefits of Plank Pose

l P lank Pose develops core strength, supporting our lower back and improving our standing and seated posture l I t builds strength and stability in our shoulder joints and shoulder girdles l P lank Pose encourages us to lengthen our spines l I t improves focus and concentration l C losing your eyes helps to develop balance and spatial awareness


l I t is suggested that Plank Pose may not be an appropriate asana to practice if you have Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, however the option of practicing Forearm Plank Pose can be utilised here.


Here are some variations of Plank Pose that you may have come across: l F  orearm Plank Pose, where the elbows are under the shoulders, will take any strain off the wrists l I n Forearm Plank Pose you can also lower your knees to the ground l T  ry keeping your pelvis neutral but lift one foot off the ground at a time

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

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 l Reach the crown of your head forward to lengthen your spine

l Your focal point (drishti) is at a fixed point a couple of inches in front of your hands

FIND A NEUTRAL PELVIS l Roll your upper, inner thighs back to create space at the back of your pelvis l Stabilise the pelvis by lowering your sacrum (the flat part of your lower spine) and tailbone (coccyx) down towards your heels l Avoid ‘tucking’ or ‘scooping’ your sacrum and coccyx under which can lead to a clenching of your gluteal muscles and a hardening of your pelvic area

FEET HIP DISTANCE APART AND PARALLEL l Find the boney points at the front of your pelvis (these are known as the ASIS, Anterior Superior Iliac Spines) and line these up with the midpoint of each of your ankles l Line the mid-point of each ankle up with the base of your second toe

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

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What my yoga mat means to me Juliana Kassianos describes her relationship with her yoga mat and how it has guided and shaped her life for the better through the years


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ince a teenager I’ve had a disordered relationship with my body and mind. I suffered from chronic dieting, stress and crazy bouts of acne. Feeling confident in my skin was a daily challenge and my self-esteem was at an all-time low. I started to wage a war against myself that would continue for a number of years. Throughout my early twenties I experimented with various diets, militant exercise routines, clothing, make-up and different hairstyles, but I still felt disconnected from within. It didn’t matter how many people told me I was beautiful, I never felt it; if anything, it just made things worse as I felt pressure to become the person who they saw through their eyes. That was until I first stepped on to my yoga mat. At the time, I saw it simply for what it is - a soft thin padding of protection, which separated my body from the hard wooden floor beneath. Somewhere that indicated to others in the class that this was my space. As the yoga class began, I watched how my body moved in the mirror in front of me. I’d never really looked at myself in the mirror in a loving way. It was always to inspect my flaws, self-judge and criticise myself. For the first time I watched as my delicate body moved slowly within the outline of my mat; there was no way of running away from the reflection mirrored in front of me, I was facing myself front on. With my bare feet and hands stretched and pushed down into my mat, I started to feel grounded. This was my mat; no one was going to cross the line into my territory. Feeling safe within a group of people I didn’t know, practicing something I’d never tried before, I was able to bring myself into my body, letting down the barriers that I had built up.

An awakening

As I stretched my muscles and massaged my internal organs, I noticed where I held tension; sharp aches of pain that wanted to be released. Glued to my mat, resisting the temptation to move and holding trust in the practice, I breathed through the areas of my body that felt tight until eventually the pain subsided and the tension had become unlocked. Working within the confinements of my mat, I stayed present and focused, slowly learning the process of surrendering to my body and letting go. For too long I felt the body I had been

born with had let me down. I began to realise though the awful truth; it wasn’t my body that had let me down, it was I who had let it down. For 20-odd years, every cell in my body worked endlessly to keep me alive, yet within those years I had let my inner citric – that no-longer served me – dominate my thoughts. Not once had I appreciated the beauty that I could now see reflected back at me as I sat on my mat. The lesson finished with relaxation. Feeling exhausted, I lay down on my back, letting my body sink down into the mat. It felt heavy, as though it was deeply rooted through my mat into the floor beneath. I observed how my breathing slowed down and the normal chattering in my mind ceased. A sense of calm came over me. In that moment, I felt at peace with myself.

Sacred place

Slowly awakening, my body and mind arose together as one. As I sat up, I breathed in a positive breath of fresh air that seeped into my lungs and renewed my senses. Bowing my head, I gave thanks not only to the class, but to my mat for having given me exactly what I needed; a new perspective. Now heading towards 30, my yoga mat has become a sacred place; not so much in a religious sense, but a place I regard with great respect. When I refer to my mat, I’m not referring to a particular mat I have, but to the mat I use for any given practice. It may be the mat my yoga teacher lays down in front of me, the one I borrow for my group class at the studio or the mat I use at home. It is a symbol for that which it represents. A safe haven; somewhere I can find inner peace no matter where I am or what is happening within my life. My mat has taught me that I have the tools and strength within to deal with anything that life throws at me. All the resources I need, I already have. It has enabled me to learn the art of patience, to be radically honest with myself, to heal old wounds, to reconnect with who I am and to truly appreciate how abundant my life is. Not a day goes by where I don’t challenge myself on my mat and work hard to develop inner strength, both physically and mentally. With a newfound sense of responsibility towards myself, I am now more than ever committed to creating long-lasting change from within. Juliana Kassianos is a nutrition and lifestyle therapist and writer (

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Shifting your perspective Strong roots, soft heart. Let your physical practice be a celebration of your soul and the foundation of your self. Eleonora Zampatti looks at four traditional advanced asanas that can help you transform your take on life


etting strong roots allows trees to grow strong and tall despite the many storms that life will put them through. Every tree grows towards the sun, and every one of them is a unique living entity with a different story behind its journey. As are we when we stand on our mat, approaching our yoga practice: strong, tall and unique, aiming to something higher, using our physical practice to achieve the ability to find peace within ourselves, embracing our true essence. Our body is an instrument. We have to play the melody of our soul, and if we set strong foundations, we will be able to bloom in every pose we approach, as well as open our hearts completely. Now, we start to see things in a different perspective.

Compass Pose (Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana)

Compass Pose is a challenging asana as it stretches out the hamstrings and opens up the shoulders. It is typically performed only by advanced practitioners because it is a complex pose and it should be performed with patience and reverence. A good warm up of hamstrings, hips, groin, shoulders and spine is essential to prepare for the asana. In this variation we are approaching the pose keeping both stiffness grounded on the floor and the standing leg close to the body. By pointing the foot we are changing the line of the traditional pose where your foot is flexed. This pose requires a good amount of strength and flexibility. A good beginner’s tip is to always precede the pose with warm-up exercises like Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation). Additionally, when performing the pose bend your knees or use a yoga strap for support. Remember not to slump. It’s very important to stay up on the top of the sit bones. Breathing properly will help you maintain control and balance yourself throughout the pose.


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“The power of this asana is that physical reminder that we are capable of so much more, and that our power and our spirit are vast.�

Forearm Stand (Pincha Mayurasana)

Forearm stand is an arm balance. It brings your body upside down, changing your foundation from your legs to your arms. The power of this asana is that physical reminder that we are capable of so much more, and that our power and our spirit are vast. This physical experience helps us connect with our fears, breathe deep, and move through them. The moment where you learn how, with intention, to move upside down and hold the pose is a moment of truth. We can take this experience any way we choose or need in that moment; we can embrace the fear and choose to feel alive, or we can choose freedom and allow ourselves to fall out of the pose without being afraid of what will happen in the landing. The traditional pose is performed with straight legs pointing up. It can be performed with legs in Scorpion (the feet touch the forehead). In this variation you are playing with your legs using them to find balance, waiting to decide if you want to hold the pose or fall out of it; choosing between control and freedom.


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Forearm Variation Of Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana)

Wheel Pose is an energising and invigorating pose. As we move through our lives, we may not be aware of eternity, only the material world, as we go through our cycles of birth, life, death and rebirth. Performing this pose we have the opportunity to connect with a deep, unchanging aspect of our nature, allowing us to let go of unnecessary holding and listen to our heart. This pose helps us to understand how to observe our life without reacting to it, to be witness to our emotions rather than subjected to them, to allow our heart to fully open and simply embrace whatever it is saying to us, to fill our lungs with oxygen and teach us how it feels to breathe. In the traditional variation, the arms are straight and the palms are pressing on the floor, as well as the souls of our feet. In this variation, we are standing on our forearms allowing the ribcage to expand more and developing a stronger connection to the mat. We are standing on our tip toes, lifting the hips higher to the sky, playing with balance.


“Performing this pose we have the opportunity to connect with a deep, unchanging aspect of our nature, allowing us to let go of unnecessary holding and listen to our heart.�

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Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

Eleonora Zampatti is a US-based yoga teacher. She has created a series of fundraising events called Ode to the Moon, a practice to bring awareness to the topic of domestic violence to benefit the charity, 180 Turning Lives Around Inc. ( Find out more about her at: Photos: Claire Sheprow (

Bow Pose is another intense backbend. We establish a connection to the mat and the heart by laying on our stomach and then using that support from our core, we hold our ankles and open our heart to the sun. In our body, the spine represents the bow. The idea in this pose is to move our spine in a backbend position, treating our physical body like a bow, challenging it and learning to use it effectively, but always within its limits. This is another asana that requires a lot of patience. One breath at a time, with no rush, we slowly move into the full pose (feet to head). In Bow Pose you may tense yourself like a bow that is ready to shoot, thinking about what is it that you are aiming at. This pose is asking you if you are ready to bring your entire being into reaching your target. This variation is an advanced move that requires a proper warm up, open shoulders and strong lower back.


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Practical yoga therapy The Problem Depression is a state of low mood and anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, techniques to start you aversion to activity that can affect a guilty, irritable, or restless. person’s thoughts, behaviour, feelings and on the road to health: physical wellbeing. Depression can cause a The Solution physically, mentally, person to lose interest in activities that once It can sometimes be difficult to catch pleasurable, experience loss of appetite yourself before reaching ‘depression’, but it emotionally and spiritually. were or overeating, have problems concentrating, will certainly help you to bring some yoga remembering details or making decisions, into your life daily and you will most likely By Sarah Swindlehurst even contemplate or attempt suicide. Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, loss of energy, or aches, pains or digestive problems that are resistant to treatment may also be present. They may also feel sad,


see a positive shift in your mood. With these simple yoga techniques, you can lift your spirits and your mood whenever you feel the need to.

om body Yoga Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II)

Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II)

Stand with the feet wide apart and the hands on the hips. Turn one foot out to the side so that the feet are 90 degrees to each other. Bend the knee over the ankle of the foot that is turned out. Inhale and lift the arms up parallel to the floor. Relax the shoulders and gaze over the back of the hand. Hold for three breaths, then inhale back up and repeat on the other side. Do two on each side. Affirmation: I am strong and centred in the now.

Yoga Reverse Triangle (Parivrtta Trikonasana)

Stand with the feet leg distance apart. Turn one foot to the right and the left foot in slightly so that it is at 45 degrees to the right foot. Inhale the arms up and then exhale twist round to the right and place the left hand lightly on the right leg. The right arm stretched up as you look up to the hand (if there is any strain on the neck then just look to the side or floor). Hold for three breaths and then inhale back up and repeat on the other side. Do this twice on each side. Affirmation: I release the past (exhale) and stand firm in the present (inhale).

Yoga Yoga Roll

Start sitting with the knees bent. Hug the legs. Inhale and then exhale roll back. Inhale roll up and exhale roll down. Continue this as many times as you like. Affirmation: I roll happily with life (inhale/exhale).

Pranayama Bee Breath (Bramari Breath)

Sitting in a comfortable position. Inhale deeply and then exhale as slowly as possible whist making a hum sound with the mouth closed (like a bee). Inhale again and repeat. A great breath to do to cheer the whole being (we rarely hum when we are sad, so this can make us more cheerful!). Do this for 10-15mins. Affirmation: I am happy and joyful in every moment.


Let go of processed and refined foods for a while and see if this helps your mood to change for the better. Making some meals and smoothies using fresh vegetables and fruits will really help, plus adding proteins and healthy fats too. Extra vitamin B and D is beneficial, as is supplementing a healthy diet with a good quality multivitamin and perhaps some

anti stress factors. St Johns Wort is an excellent anti-depressant alternative to conventional medication, however ideally this should be taken under the advice of a qualified herbalist.

What your body is saying

Of course, there can be many reasons for the onset of depression, and those reasons do tend to be very personal and individual. However, this is also a time for you to connect with the darker side of self and for you to feel/connect with the reason your light is dimmer than the dazzling love light you really are. Perhaps your depression has a positive meaning to it. What could this state be saying to you? Are you meant to see another aspect of yourself and to discover your whole self? What is the opposite of your feeling? Dark cannot exist without light, light cannot exist without dark. Embrace all aspects of yourself, and with yoga you can work towards finding your light again. You know it exists, and your inner wisdom knows how to find it. Trust and know there is light to be found within you, and this is now your exciting journey. Sarah Swindlehurst is the founder of The Yogic Prescription. If there is a particular ailment or issue you would like covered in OM please e-mail her at: sarah@


om body




Stop making excuses and start doing yoga, says Meg Jackson

hat’s up there in your ‘Top 5 Reasons Why I Can’t Do Yoga’? Get a nasty rash from Lycra? Incense makes you cough? Ears bleed at the first hint of an out of tune ‘om’? Maybe not. I’m not going to go on a big rant about how the most important thing anyone should find the time for is keeping themselves mentally, physically and emotionally healthy. I’m also not going to remind you how if your life is that busy, and if that many people are relying on you to do stuff, then surely it’s even more important that you take care of yourself? I won’t do that because I know you know that already. But what I am going to do is make it harder for you to find excuses as to why you can’t get off you’re backside and into an asana.

downward dog). Leaving it ‘til later in the day won’t work because something else will always happen. Worse case scenario – you do have that elusive 10 minutes later in the day so you can do it all again. Bonus!

EXCUSE ANNIHILATOR #1: Your bed does not control you.

EXCUSE ANNIHILATOR #3: Change isn’t comfortable.

Get up 10 minutes earlier and do it before you do anything else in your day. (Apart from putting on appropriate clothes. Trust me – however much your partner loves you no one wants to see you naked in a


EXCUSE ANNIHILATOR #2: Some things in life are tough when you start. Suck it up and do it anyway.

Guess what? Doing new stuff for the first time is hard. Shocker, eh? Trouble is, when we’re grown-ups we forget what it’s like to be so excited about something – we work and work and work at it ‘til we can do it. Riding a bike, learning to rollerskate, memorising Bananarama’s whole routine to ‘Robert DeNiro’s Waiting’ – whatever it was, we worked for it. Nothing has changed, apart from our attitude (and hopefully music taste).

For most of us, when we start out, yoga is most definitely a predominantly physical practice. You’re going to be using bits of your body that probably haven’t been asked to do very much for a fairly long time. But

the more uncomfortable you are, the more your body and mind fights back, and the more you find yourself hating every moment, the more you need this practice in your life.

Excuse Annihilator #4: It can cost you almost nothing.

Personally, I would recommend that you get yourself a yoga mat because they’re designed to try and stop you doing yourself an injury a la Bambi on Ice. If you shop around you can get really cheap ones, which will definitely do the job when you’re starting out. I’m talking under £15. Still can’t afford it? Stop buying posh coffee every day on your way to work and you’ll have it covered in around a week. Then get on the internet. There are so many totally free-of-charge (and good) yoga videos out there. Yes, learning with a teacher in the same room/ country/continent as you is ideal, but if it’s doing this or doing nothing – you know which one you should do. Meg Jackson is founder of Real Life Yoga, a movement to help people bring a little (or a lot) of yoga into their real lives (reallifeyoga. net)


Inside: Page 50: Peak Condition Page 53: Man On The Mat

Yogi: Bobby Buoncristiano Photo: Natiya Guin (



Peak condition

Australia’s Duncan Peak, founder of the Power Living Australia Yoga studio chain, or PLAY, talks about success, building a yoga brand and why it even matters. By Tahereh Sariban 50



orldwide, the rising tide of stress and the corresponding appeal of a slower life have elevated the practice of yoga asana to an unprecedented level. According to the UN, two billion people now practice some form of yoga. Studios have cropped up on every corner, while yoga apparel brands emerge out of the woodwork at a pace difficult to follow. Yoga festivals are global affairs where yogis come to connect with a community of like-minded souls in a liberating atmosphere of asana, hula hoops and soft beats. For those too busy to come to the studio, a plethora of platforms offer online videos at attractive prices for home practice. From Vancouver to Denpasar and every town and cellular tower in between, yoga is alive and breathing. One place where yoga has become big business is the land Down Under. In some parts of Australia’s eastern shores, there is a studio for every 30 people and yearly industry revenues are estimated to reach A$1.1 billion by 2021. It’s a growth market.

Early days

Let’s PLAY

In time, the studio owners also came to notice his business acumen and asked him to manage the space, then assist in a business expansion, a plan he thought was too risky. When the chain went bankrupt, he got a call to help re-start one of the branches. The story repeated itself: Peak’s brand of conscious power vinyasa drew the crowds in lesser time than it takes to say yoga. Power Living (for Power Living Australia Yoga or PLAY) ( started the day he bought that studio - with help from his mum and brother. The first location at Bondi Junction expanded to several studios across the country, and even one in Wellington, New Zealand. PLAY now runs worldrenowned teacher training courses and has just launched Yogaholics, its own in-house portal of online classes.

Power to the people “In some parts of At its core, PLAY’s success rests on how Australia’s eastern it has consistently intertwined yoga with shores, there is a studio people. If Duncan Peak can be counted for every 30 people and amongst the pioneers of modern day yoga, largely because of how he modelled yoga yearly industry revenues it’s around people, rather than perpetuating are estimated to reach yoga for the elite or teaching a rigid delivery of yoga asana. Starting from a place of A$1.1 billion by 2021.”


Back before the craze, however, was an Australian called Duncan Peak sporting a huge smile, tattoos and shoulders larger

than life. In the early 90s, Peak was a teenage boy getting into heaps of trouble at home, at school, on the streets. At 14, a friend’s dad took him in and introduced him to Raja Yoga, or what Peak now describes as “five poses and a lot of meditation”. It wasn’t love at first sight, rather a subtle introduction to the idea that there is, as he puts it, “more to life than what goes on in the mind.” Over a decade later and Peak was pioneering a new style of yoga in Australia, a modified version of the primary Ashtanga series which he began teaching to a bunch of muscle guys in a Sydney beach club, forking over the proceeds to the local cancer foundation. A studio approached him with an offer to teach and within weeks, he was redefining the expression, ‘studio capacity’.


FM wanting to share his personal experiences of the practice with others, his accessible, strength-based model combined with “a lot of philosophy so people could become present” was what jam-packed his classes, at a time when yoga mostly conjured images of mountaintop gurus in orange robes lost in transcendental meditation. PLAY’s new style of yoga - accessible, physical and humble - tapped into the roots of today’s global phenomenon: the desire for a serious physical practice that relates to more than just muscles and adrenaline, but contains unifying messages steeped in everyday human experience. At Power Living itself, people are paramount. Starting with Peak himself, the company CEO but also its most senior teacher. Yoga is the business and business is the yoga. Amongst the Power Living crew, there’s a strong recognition and respect for that. The guy at the top knows what he’s talking about; he knows his yoga asana and he knows how to manage a business. This trust has periodically allowed him the time and space to pull back when needed to develop his own path as yoga teacher and address the real needs of the business. We’re back to the CEO growing as a yoga teacher and the yoga teacher growing as a businessman.

Growing business

Then there are the teachers. A majority of the PLAY studios are a direct result of senior teachers wanting to tie themselves to the brand more permanently, undertaking part ownership of locations and communities they have helped build. Of the many outside investors interested in a piece of the cake, Peak says: “It’s very tempting to say I’ll take your million dollars and let’s go and open multiple studios” but that’s not what interests him, and new locations only open up “with the right people”. Today, Power Living counts nine owners; Peak owns 70% of the bigger brand, which itself owns 60% of all studios (except for Perth and Adelaide which operate under license). Power Living is now a multi-million dollar business, but Peak still responds himself to his Facebook messages and at every one of the nine PLAY studios the walker-in is treated like family. When asked why he does it, he replies, unflinching: “To be of service to something bigger than ourselves. That’s what we always come back to at Power Living”. Tahereh Sariban is a yoga teacher and freelance writer (




Mountain Pose (Tadasana) Benefits

It always puzzles me that people are so concerned with learning to balance on their arms and hands in yoga classes, when most cannot even stand on their own two feet particularly well. So Tadasana is a great place to start working with our most fundamental posture of all; master this single pose and every other asana is suddenly truly open to you.

Common Mistakes

There is no right or wrong way to ‘do’ Tadasana or any posture come to that, as long as your body doesn’t suffer from the experience and you are connected mindfully to your practice. Tadasana can be a very solid and firm pose like its mountain namesake, or it can be soft and gentle rather more like a hill. It is likely that we will want to have elements of both strength and softness, rigidity and suppleness, like a mountain with a soft, snow laden peak and differing faces.

Spread your toes, lift them up. Notice the arches of your feet becoming more pronounced as you pull the tendons that pass through the soles tighter? Those arches are the key to the strength, spring and shock absorbing properties of your feet. Collapse them at your peril! Now place the toes back down whilst keeping them spread. Engage through the points of contact with the floor, most notably the balls of your feet and your heel (sometimes defined as having an inner and outer edge). Don’t forget to mindfully press into the ball of the big toe, we often tend to subconsciously roll onto the outside edge of the foot. Not engaging through the inside, medial edge of the foot has far reaching implications for everything from balance to core muscle and pelvic stability.

Find out more about Dan Peppiatt’s teacher training immersion and workshops at


n Ialways begin with the feet and the mind. After all the feet are our point of contact with the ground – our foundation. The mind controls the winds that buffet and swirl around the mountain. If the mind is not calm and the feet are not grounded we have no hope of establishing a stable and easeful posture as Patanjali would have recommended. n E xplore the effects of creating and releasing tension in various parts of your body. Experiment with tensing the lower leg muscles, upper legs, thighs and knees, the buttocks, groin, pelvic floor and abdominals. Explore various combinations of tension. Do the same with the upper body. n A sk yourself, does this create more stability? A greater sensation of lightness? Does it feel more supportive to my spine? Do I fell solid and supple or rigid and brittle? n O nly you can understand your Tadasana. And you can only understand it by spending time with it. Alone.


I love working with Tadasana with my eyes closed. That way I can really feel the pose rather than thinking it. If you are comfortable working with the eyes closed and safe to do so then try it this way. Trust me, it will open up entirely new dimensions of the posture that you never understood before. So begin with the breath. Allow the breath to settle and find its own stable pattern. When you feel mentally calm, however long that takes, move your attention around the body. Where are you holding tension today? Don’t expect it to be the same as yesterday or two hours ago. Yoga is about working with the person that you are now, not a memory of what you think or thought you were. Take your awareness to your feet. Are they parallel and facing forwards or turned outwards (or more rarely inwards)? If they aren’t aligned straight ahead then (for the majority of bodies) that twisting will be carried up through the entire leg to the hip joint and pelvis. We will be creating unbalanced areas of tightness as well as areas lacking engagement. From this start point we can’t ever hope to grow upwards with stability. So sort those feet out! Photo:


The yoga


of L ve Welcome to a special 16 page report on the most important thing in the world – love

Something that Einstein referred to as the ultimate universal force, love is what makes us all tick. With Valentine’s Day this month, we explore how yoga can help us feel love more powerfully in our lives – for ourselves, for our partner and all those around us. Partner yoga, Tantra – any yoga – can help us align with our higher selves and resonate more with this great force. Yes, the chocolates, red roses and blissful sunsets on Hawaiian beaches are nice too, but it’s the love that makes these things so sweet. Ready? Let’s get it OM


Th e yo ga of Love

A tantric guide to

Valentine’s Day Valentine’s give us all, singles and couples alike, the opportunity to treat ourselves to Tantric treats…ones that imbue us with divine delight and give us a skip in our step and a melting heart. Enjoy this loving pathway with Jan Day Flirt like a Shakti or Shiva

Summon up your goddess or god within, imagine that you truly inhabit this heavenly place and take it out on to the streets, or the supermarket, or the local cafe. Flirting is playful and fun and we (at least here in in Britain!) need to do much more of it. Try a little light banter with a shop assistant or the parking warden, feel that tingle in your yoni or your lingam, let the sparkle of that moment enliven the rest of your day and theirs. It’s about allowing your sexiness out to play and to explore with others. Flirting is an invitation and should be practiced with that tonality. It also means taking a risk. Go on.

Allow the romance to surface

Conjure up the spirit of romance with words, gestures and gifts. This is an excuse to leave the everyday and lift yourself into the Tantric Hollywood zone. If you’re single, dress up in one of your waftiest dresses and dance softly around the living room to Snatam Kaur, let your heart melt to the music and invoke the romantic partner you would like. If you’re part of a couple, make your partner feel their specialness. Treat them like a god or a goddess. Do something unusual like a game where one of you blindfolds the other and leads them on a journey that includes being fed and being undressed slowly. Leave him or her a loving note before you go to bed. Do something recklessly expansive like telling them that you worship and adore them. This is the ideal time for the heroic gesture and they will love it.

It’s about allowing your sexiness out to play and to explore with others. Setting the scene Flirting is an invitation and should be the scene is so important and the possibilities are endless for practiced with that tonality. It also means Ah, creative innovation. If it’s a date, or if it’s your long-term partner, have taking a risk. Go on.♥♥ some ideas about what sort of scene you are creating. Is it a temple or ♥♥

a boudoir? Do you need candles, music (will it be Marvin Gaye’s Sexual


Healing or Premal’s Embrace) incense, sarongs? What sort of food would you like to feed to each other when the blindfold is on? Sushi, mango pieces, Booja Booja chocolate. Maybe you have rose oil ready and a mattress so that you can give her or him a massage.

Being present

Being present for yourself, and therefore the other, is at the heart of Tantric practice. If you are alone, you could do some self-loving meditation to Osho’s Kundalini CD. If you are a part of a couple, simply sit opposite one another, tune into yourself first with your eyes closed, then softly open your eyes and engage in gazing at each other gently with no emphasis on an outcome. When you are both ready, one of you starts with an appreciation of the other and you alternate with this practice until it naturally halts. Hold hands if it feels right. This is a beautiful way of sinking down into truly being there for each other and opening your hearts.

Tantric sexuality

the most tender of ways. You may want to lie with him inside you and breathe together. Whatever you do, do it with the spirit of exploration rather an achievement. And it will be utterly gorgeous.

Open to ritual

Creating rituals enhances your making love life tenfold. Ritual allows you to be transported into another way of being together, something that is more profound and non-material. We can enter the mystery and the liminal space here. We can connect to the sacred part of ourself and the other. We can become that Shakti and Shiva in all our essences. You might create a mandala of fruits, put flower petals on the love bed, anoint each other with oils, honour each other with a Namaste bow at the beginning and end. You might do a foot washing ritual for each other. You might want to read each other Rumi poems. Whatever you do in this zone, slow down, breathe and do everything with a godly grace. Jan Day is an intimacy and relationship coach and has been leading workshops on a tantric approach to life since 1999. (

Now is the time for sexual play without any goals. Maybe you’d like to take each other’s clothes off very slowly where the other feels totally seen and held in wonder and thrall. This can feel like a wonderful erotic service for the other. And is a tremendous turn on. The slowness is key to exquisite feelings of being adored in all your naked glory. Oh, this is so delicious. There is also the possibility to be vulnerable here which leads to a richness of connection. I mean you might feel suddenly exposed by your nakedness and that means you can show your shyness, which will make you all the more endearing to your partner. When it comes to the sexuality part, you might want to give him or her an erotic massage. You may want to simply stroke each other in


1 Be open to learn from everything. 2C ultivate presence in everything you do – as a way of living in love with life. 3 Be honest with yourself and your partner. 4P ractice calming and regulating yourself so that you don’t get triggered into old, self-sabotaging patterns. 5D evelop practices that work for you personally to get in touch with yourself on a daily basis.

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Connecting people through yoga 57

Th e yo ga of Love

The art of love

Finding a deeper meaning to love through the yoga of Tantra. By Maria Porsfelt


antra is the path of life – the way of fully embracing life and everything it offers us in order to learn about ourselves and to grow into our full potential as humans and as divine beings. In the Sanskrit word, ‘Tantra’, ‘tan’ can be translated as


‘network’ or ‘web’, referring to how the understanding of Tantra not only stands behind and unites all relevant esoteric traditions in the world, but also incorporates everything we experience in life into a way of knowing ourselves better. Tantra teaches us that everything in our

lives has a meaning, a place and a unique potential. The dreams we have of a perfect life, a perfect love, a perfect relationship – they are all intuitions of the extraordinary potential present in our existence. And it can be a reality if we learn how to make it unfold.

A new beginning

A relationship is a wonderful gift in our life; a chance for love and fulfilment, to discover new depths within and grow to new heights in spirit. Who doesn’t long for that incredible feeling of being newly in love? The world is suddenly magical, colours are brighter, everyone is smiling. In fact, the world has not changed; you have. You see everything with new eyes. In Tantra we call it the ‘energy of the beginning’ - seeing everything with a fresh perspective and a heart alive with love. It is a moment when we are closer to and more open towards the truth of our existence. And it is also when your relationship is the most magical. ‘A Tantric always stays in the beginning,’ it is stated in the Tantric texts. This does not mean starting many new relationships, but always seeing your beloved with new eyes – fresh and full of wonder, even after many years together. Tantra offers many tools that help us to stay forever in the energy of the beginning. One of the biggest enemies of being newly in love is habit: you get used to each other, you take each other for granted and you stop exploring. Sometimes, taking the time to explore each other again can be all it takes to make you feel a new beginning. And take the time to really look at each other; you will see how your beloved is new every day.


Stop for a moment and look into each other’s eyes. Really contemplate the person in front of you – taking the time to see that person, and allow yourself to be seen. It is said that the eyes are ‘windows to the soul’,

Tantra teaches us that everything in our lives has a meaning, a place and a unique potential. ♥♥

Photos: Darya Harnitskaya


and when we aim to look deep into the other one’s heart, just a few minutes of eye gazing can create a profound state of intimacy and chase away the numbness of habit and routine – at least long enough to remember why it was you found each other so exciting and amazing to begin with.

The senses

In a loving couple there is a huge potential for sensorial experience, which can be explored as a gate to the realm of the present moment – a place most of us visit very rarely. The present moment is a magical place where we are always in the energy of the beginning. Tantra teaches us to use the five senses in a conscious way – in a couple or individually – to explore different energies, and as a very accessible method to become more present. When we do this, the door opens to truly intimate experiences in life and love. So be creative in how you explore the magical sensations of smell, taste, sight, touch and hearing together.

Couples yoga

And why not practice yoga with the one you love? You can train yoga postures individually to gain awareness over your energies and to learn to work with them, but yoga can also be practiced in a couple, creating postures with two bodies instead of one. This practice has a greatly harmonising effect, dissolving tension and routine and will help you to discover new layers of yourself and your relationship. It allows two lovers to connect deeply in a non-verbal way and opens up a whole new world of possibilities for amplifying intensity and attraction. Tantra’s unique holistic perspective on life and existence creates the space for immense personal growth through any life experience – and at the same time shows us in a practical way how to experience life in ways that we would otherwise only dream of.

15 natural flavours Free from dairy Free from soya Free from gluten Free from refined sugars Organic Raw Vegan

Maria Porsfelt, Tara Yoga Centre (

t 01342 313876

Everlasting Valentines Meditations and exercises for sustaining love, romance and intimacy all year round. By Leora Lightwoman Th e yo ga of Love


hy fall in love, when you can rise in love? Rising in love is when that initial thrill evolves into something far deeper, more sustainable, sweeter and quite profound. And it keeps getting better! That delicious, exhilarating feeling of aliveness, that open-hearted ‘yes’ to life… And how would you like to be on Cloud 9 – even if you are single – knowing that this experience originates from within yourself? Could this Valentine’s Day be an opportunity to open a gateway into a more profound possibility for your whole life? Perhaps this is the Day of Love on which to commit to beginning this journey, as you would commit to a marriage. Not just for the thrill of the moment, but also for the long term. Valentine’s Day, like Christmas, can be a lonely or difficult time for some. Single people can feel inadequate, or envious, as if they are missing the boat; the same goes for couples in challenging relationships. A few simple Tantra exercises can help. For singles, people can fill up, from the inside out, and become happier and more alive in themselves - with or without a partner. Couples can build bridges from their lonely islands and create the most fabulous, authentic means of returning to love. Try out a little experiment: when do you feel most deeply fulfilled – is it when you receive a beautiful gift, or is it when you share something of great meaning to another? When you can feel their true appreciation, how much they value this gift, and you can see the difference you are making to their life? So this year, how would it be to decide to make your life beautiful? That you will love, appreciate and cherish those that you love, and the life you have.


Many of the elements we associate with Valentine’s Day are already celebrated within Tantra. Beautifying the love nest, for example, both in terms of aesthetic beauty, such as sprinkling rose petals on the bed you share with your Beloved, lighting candles and incense, and also in terms of creating ‘Sacred Space’ inwardly. Tantric mediations help us to move out of the way of the mind, and into the heart, the only place where true intimacy can occur.

Meditation 1: Appreciations

It seems such an obvious thing that when we love someone, or want to love someone, we notice what we appreciate in them; there is a whole art to giving and receiving appreciations. It is not uncommon, on receiving a compliment, to respond with a very British ‘thank you’ whilst swiftly averting gaze for too long, lest a hint of emotion should seep out. Alternatively, we can practice savouring the appreciation, and noticing how it affects us. Such as: ANNA: ‘I loved the dinner you cooked for us last night. You could see that I had lots to do, and you came straight in from work and made two versions of the dish, one for the kids, and the other for us. This gave me a break for a shower and a few minutes of ‘me time’, and I was a different person when I emerged. You did all of this with a smile and lots of engagement, and I could really feel your love and care and dedication to our family.’ (Instead of: ‘Thanks for cooking dinner’) STEVE: ‘You are welcome. I feel a warm glow when I hear you recognise my dedication to our relationship and family. It’s really

important to me to be acknowledged, and this gives me even more energy and enthusiasm. I am really happy to have enhanced your evening in this way, and look forward to doing so again.’ (Instead of: ‘A pleasure’). In this way, giving and receiving love can become a positive feedback loop, the momentum of which can transform previously absorbing conflicts, and allow these to be communicated in ways that deepen love and understanding. And true intimacy comes with having traversed the depths together. In terms of the meaning, the soul of a relationship, one that has lasted many years and weathered ups and downs and where a couple have come together to traverse both beautiful and challenging life events, holds a quality that is infused with deep appreciation and a knowing of partnership that extends to the roots. We can appreciate our journey together as a couple, and value the return to reconciliation after an argument.

Meditation 2: Heart Talk

Allow 20 minutes per person. You can practice this meditation alone or with a partner. Sit comfortably. Partners face each other. Close your eyes. One of you, place your hands on your chest, on your heart centre, and close your eyes. Imagine you are welcoming your heart. Imagine that your heart has its own unique wisdom, and its own quality. Give this quality a voice by speaking out loud as if you were your own heart. For example, I would say: “I am Leora’s heart…”. Keep repeating this phrase, and trust the messages that emerge from your heart. If you are with a partner, they can ask your heart three or four specific questions, such as “As Leora’s heart, how is it to be the heart of this woman? What burdens you? What liberates you? How connected are you with Leora’s sexuality?” If you are on your own, write these questions down in advance, and allow your heart to respond to them one at a time. Some hearts are not ready to speak in this way. Many people, in our culture even more so for men, have learned to guard their hearts. It can take time to open. You can let your heart speak about how difficult it is for the man or woman of which you (the heart) are part, to allow you (the heart) space. Leora Lightwoman is the founder of Diamond Light Tantra (


Th e yo ga of Love

Chocolate for breakfast


How cacao can take your yoga practice – and your love life – to the next level. By Jo De Rosa

here are a lot of people out there who think that they are a chocoholic, when the fact is they are not addicted to the cacao at all…it’s the sugar they crave. Give a ‘chocoholic’ 100% cacao, with nothing added, and they will recoil from the bitter, mature taste, which is totally different from what they are used to. Fortunately, there is nothing wrong with eating the right kind of chocolate. In fact, I eat it most days. So, I’d like to share with you my chocolate journey and why I love to have it for breakfast. Yes, for breakfast! The cacao that I am talking about here has been acquired for its meditation properties - the fact that it tastes good is only an added bonus. The beans have been sourced in Guatemala from the tropical rainforest that ancient Mayans would have used in their ceremonies throughout millennia. It’s true, chocolate has been used for centuries to focus the mind, but was overlooked in the 1960’s love revolution because it was not very ‘psychedelic’.

The facts

Sadly, most of the chocolate on the supermarket shelves just doesn’t cut it. Cow’s milk inhibits the absorption of theobromine, one of the many active compounds in cacao – with 99% of these active compounds missing from most brands of chocolate that we see in the shops. What with the procedure that it goes through in the factory, the very high heat of the process and then the


addition of milk, the original cacao is stripped of its goodness with just bad fat, milk and sugar remaining. Even the raw cacao we find in health food shops has a lower amount of active compound than ‘ceremonial grade’ cacao because most South American cacao is from hybridised beans. Some say that cacao originated in Central America whilst others say that it travelled from Ecuador or Peru north into Central America with the shamans. Perhaps only 10% of the world’s chocolate supply comes from the smaller non-hybridised beans, and there are not many suppliers in the world producing it for global shamanic ceremonial use, rather than flavour.

The spiritual uses of chocolate

I first experienced a full cacao ceremony three years ago and to say I was blown away by the chocolate and the whole experience is an understatement. From that moment on, I began to use the chocolate regularly during my yoga retreats and in classes - and now hold regular cacao ceremonies myself. Eat or drink alone or before class, savouring the taste as you begin to notice changes in your body and mind. The chocolate opens you up, connecting to the heart chakra, and enhances whatever you are doing, whether that’s yoga, meditation, writing, teaching, speaking – everything. You will feel a deep connection to self and surroundings and experience a doorway opening within you and an opportunity to walk into another dimension of

Founded by Leora Founded Lightwoman by LeorainLightwoman 1995 Founded in by 1995 Leora Lightwoman in 1995 yourself. You feel more focused and plugged in to what is around and within you. There is more enquiry in each posture and a A Touch A of Touch Magic of stability of mind in meditation that will amaze you. Writing will flow from you and you’ll experience your partner in a new and heightened way. Love is an elevation of self and, used wisely, this tool has far reaching capabilities.


& Sessions

The science

The health benefits are pretty great too. 100% cacao increases blood flow by dilating the arteries, thus lowering blood pressure, reducing heart disease and stroke - one study found that cardiovascular disease was cut by 37% and stroke by 29%. It balances out good and bad cholesterols, enhances your mood, has aphrodisiac properties and is even an appetite suppressant. So, along with it being packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, cacao also has anti-inflammatory properties. By consuming around 20g per day you can significantly reduce the build up of plaque in your arteries. So there is no surprise that we all love chocolate - but not all Tantric Practice TantricGroups Practice in Tantric Groups London Practice in London Groups in London chocolate is equal. You need to find a good source, one which still contains the goodness, and therefore, all the above benefits. Tantra is aTantra part ofislife, a part an ever-deepening ofTantra life, anisever-deepening a part of life, an ever-deepening Do that and this wonder stuff can elevate your mood, your 7pm-10 pm7 possibility.possibility. Wondrous Wondrous Wednesdays possibility. Wednesdays Wondrous Wednesdays health, and your love life. It’s so good that you’ll soon be having it North LondonNorth London keep this flame keep this alive. flame alive. keep this flame alive. for breakfast too!

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to Tantra, please and join a BEGINNERS' Newcomers to Newcomers Tantra, please come and Newcomers join come a BEGINNERS' to Tantra, please come and join a BEGINNERS' Couples - a space Couples to relax, - a space rejuvenate, to relax, Coup re EVENING. These are allEVENING. DIFFERENT! We theme each week, We theme each week, EVENING. These are all DIFFERENT! We theme each These week, are all DIFFERENT! remember yourselves remember as lovers, yourselves deepen asreme lov and the basic grounding principles are covered in each. If you and the basic grounding principles are covered and the in basic each. grounding If you principles are covered in each. If you Jo De Rosa is founder and director of Inner Guidance Retreat your connection. your connection. your thenthe you can join subsequent monthly love what you love find, what then you find, can join love subsequent what youthe find, monthly then you can join the subsequent monthly Centre in Lavenham, UK, where ceremonial grade cacao is used beginners' time. evenings beginners' evenings at anyevenings time. at any beginners' at any time. deepen Individuals - practice, Individuals - practice, and enjoy deepe Indiv

A Blissful Way of Life

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Inner Guidance Cacao Ceremony recipe Ingredients

¹/8 of a cup of ceremonial grade cacao (20g) ¹/8 of a cup of cashew nuts Add sweetener to taste (around 1-2 teaspoons of xylitol) 1 teaspoon of maca 1 teaspoon of lucuma a drop of pure vanilla extract (or flavour of your choice)


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

meaningful, aware meaningful, and intimate awarefriendships. and intima mea

INTERMEDIATE AND ADVANCING Tantrikas will join the Tantrikas will join the INTERMEDIATE AND ADVANCING Tantrikas INTERMEDIATE will join the AND ADVANCING 'TANTRA CLUB',fortnightly, which meets fortnightly, on second and and 'TANTRA CLUB', which meets 'TANTRA on the second CLUB', which andthemeets fortnightly, onCouples the second and Individuals Individuals - and become Couples partIndiv - be fourth each month. You will of need tomonth. commit to the fourth Wednesday of Wednesday each month.ofYou fourth will need Wednesday to commit to each the You will need tonurtures commit to thenurture of a community of that a community joyful, that of a c full for term, to allowand for continuity and deepening of the heart-opening work full term, to allow continuity deepening full term, oftothe allow work forwithin continuity andwithin deepening of the work connections. within hear heart-opening connections. the group. the group. the group.


on the first It is a meets monthlymeets on themonthly first Wednesday meets of Wednesday the monthly month. of It onthe isthe a month. first Wednesday of the month. It is a closed and theiscommitment is termly. deepen our closed group, and thegroup, commitment termly. closed group, We deepen and the ourWe commitment is termly. We deepen our practice in more advanced modalities. practice in more advanced modalities. practice in more advanced modalities.

Both couples and individuals are welcome to all events. The couple relationship remains sacred and supported in all our workshops.

07900 71207900 Both couples and to all events. Both couples and individuals are individuals welcome Both toare couples all welcome events. and The individuals areThe welcome to 207 all events. The207 712 couple relationship sacred and in sacred all our and supported in all our couple relationship remains sacredremains and couple supported relationship in allsupported ourremains workshops. workshops. workshops.

Put all of your ingredients into your food processor and blitz at a high speed until cashews have broken down and you’re left with a smooth drink. In a high powered blender, the cacao will heat itself with friction. In a conventional blender, you may need to warm your cacao on the hob. We heat ours to around 46°C, so it is warm – but still raw and not hot enough to cook out the goodies. If you are not using cashews and water to make cashew milk – you can use any nut/coconut milk, just not dairy milk, as it inhibits the uptake of the active compounds in the cacao. Store: in an airtight container/bottle in the fridge Shelf Life: will last up to 3 days in the fridge

Leora Lightwoman, MA (Oxon) founder of Diamond Light Tantra, is known for her sensitive, aware, grounded, playful and transformational approach to Tantra. She has facilitated Tantra workshops and individual and couple’s sessions since 1995.

For more information, or to book your place, please contact Diamond Light Tantra:

Online: By phone: 07900 2017 712 Or email us:

Th e yo ga of Love


dating guide


7 keys to successful conscious dating. By Jill Crosby

onscious dating is an enlightened way of meeting and dating. Using these spiritual dating keys, you will find that you are enjoying your encounters in a pure sense and connecting on a deeper, more soulful level.

1. Be brutally honest without being brutal

Most of us have been socially conditioned to not be completely honest. We’ve been taught to protect someone’s feelings by telling little lies. “It’s not you, it’s me”, “No, I’m not single, I’m flattered though”…In the movie, ‘The Invention of Lying’ where


Consciously dating creates a fun, enriching experience to be savoured and thoroughly enjoyed. When these seven keys are put into practice, results happen quickly, and it’s possible to be experiencing a blissful, loving relationship in no time at.♥♥ ♥♥

Ricky Gervais’s character, Mark, picks up Jennifer Garner’s character, Anna, for dinner, they both say exactly what they’re thinking. She opens her front door and he introduces himself and asks how she is. She replies: “A little frustrated at the moment, also equally depressed and pessimistic about our date tonight…” It’s a great movie. I’m not suggesting you be outright rude. However, I do recommend being brutally honest without being brutal. Tact is important, just don’t sacrifice the honesty with yourself or your date. Stay in your heart and speak your truth. You’ll be surprised how others find your honesty refreshing.

2 Be present and open

When you are truly present in the moment, you are open to meeting someone special because you are aware and paying attention. For example, when standing in line at the organic grocer, instead of checking your emails, be receptive and conscious of who is in your space. Focus on the moment you are experiencing right now. Smile, say “hi” and initiate conversations. Asking someone a question or commenting on what they are buying is a great way to start a conversation. Meeting strangers can be fun, not only as potential relationship partners, but there may be also be other ‘gifts’ for you (or them) - a new job, place to live, a great friendship, you never know if you don’t reach out.

3 Be realistic

Chemistry comes in all shapes and sizes. Realise that your ‘type’ most likely was programmed by mass media, parental and societal conditioning. Most singles have used or will use a dating site at one point or another. When viewing profiles look at potential partners’ eyes and feel their energy through their photos. Your life partner may not look like the ‘type’ you’ve been conditioned to see as attractive. They may be taller, shorter, thinner, or thicker - look deeper. As you thoroughly savour and experience every person you encounter, you can appreciate their uniqueness and connect in a much more meaningful way.

4 Be real

Being real means dropping your guard and letting go of ego – being yourself without trying to impress or show off. Imagine you are hanging out with your best friend or sibling, someone you are totally yourself with. Practice being that way with everyone you meet, including potential partners. When you are real, relaxed, present and honest, others feel this and tend to be more comfortable and real too. Don’t worry if it’s a good match in the beginning, just get to know them and have some fun. Follow your inner guidance and use discernment. By expressing your true, authentic self, you send out that same energy to the quantum field and magnetise a partner that is also being real.

5 Listen

When on a date, practice active listening. Instead of planning out what you are going

to say next, or worrying about how you look, focus completely on the other person and really hear and feel what they are communicating. Hold the space for them to share without interrupting. Wait a second or two after you think they are finished and let it sink in before you respond. When talking, speak from your heart, and allow the conversation to flow naturally. Every moment doesn’t have to be filled with conversation – silence and just being together is nice too. Remember to breathe and relax.

6 Remember your divinity We are all divine energy, made of the same stuff. When you remember, feel and integrate your divine presence into your physical body – then it’s difficult to feel unworthy, which is a normal state for many people. It’s key to do some powerful selfgrowth work where you forgive and love yourself unconditionally. Allow this love of self and joy to radiate outward and attract the same.

7 Stay in the flow

Getting out of your head, following your heart and trusting your inner guidance is the essence of staying in the flow. When you are connected to your divinity, you know what to do, where to go, who to talk with. There is no ‘thinking things through’ for hours, days or weeks, it just happens. Letting go of expectations and preconceived ideas about how something or someone ‘should’ be, and not screening everything you say helps you stay present and in the flow while being brutally honest. Trusting that you are perfectly guided by your higher self (divine presence) is amazingly helpful and shifts your life to a series of crazy-fun synchronicities. Consciously dating creates a fun, enriching experience to be savoured and thoroughly enjoyed. When these seven keys are put into practice, results happen quickly, and it’s possible to be experiencing a blissful, loving relationship in no time at. Most importantly, ‘In-Joy’ the adventure! Jill Crosby is the owner of the conscious dating site ( A dynamic public speaker, retreat leader and hypnotherapist, she facilitates Wild Dolphin and Whale Swim Retreats for singles and is also the founder of

An invitation to live with passion, presence and love Living Tantra is for people who want more aliveness, richer relationships, deeper intimacy and more authentic connection with others. JAN DAY WORKSHOPS Living Tantra 1 Exploring how we love, relate and express our sexuality as man or woman. Open to singles and couples 24 Feb – 3 March Dorset 13 – 20 April, Somerset 18-month Living Tantra Training (starts June 2017) The Living Tantra training is for those who want a powerful experience of personal and spiritual growth in a closed group so that depth of exploration, relationship, trust and support can grow over time. Conscious Relationships 8-15 July, Findhorn A exploration into relating with authenticity, honest communication and love. Meetings without Masks (singles only, gender balanced) 12th Feb, 2nd Apr, 4th Jun, 10th Sept London 10am – 6pm A chance to meet and practice authentic, heart-focused relationship. For more info and full calendar of workshops: email: 020-8123 9831

Th e yo ga of Love

Just good friends Find connection, harmony, trust and play with partner yoga. Wendy A. Hern

By Wendy A. Hern (


Photos: Peter Englehardt 2015 (


ant to share your mutual love of yoga or share your personal passion of yoga with a friend or with someone you love? Why not explore partner yoga? Sharing a practice of breath and bodily movement can bring you closer together, whatever your relationship, temporarily on the mat and perhaps even cultivate a positive experience off the mat longer term. Letting yourself be free to trust yourself in the experience of also trusting your loved one can bring growth to your practice and relationship. As you engage in holding postures together by supporting each other and finding a balance with each other to keep your balance in asana, you begin to develop a respect of not only your abilities, but also the abilities of your partner. Where one may be stronger, the other may be more flexible. Where one may be more grounded, the other may take flight. Finding a ‘balance in opposition’ and encouraging a ‘give and take’ from each other is essential in daily life and in our relationships. Be open without judgement and allow yourself to enjoy another kind of ‘oneness’ in yoga with someone you love. You may just find yourself discovering something new about yourself and learning something new about someone you thought you knew everything about already.

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Get yourselves together

Th e yo g of Love a

Life tastes sweeter when you’re with someone else. Explore the magic of touch and Tantra on the yoga mat with your partner. By Gopala Amir Yaffa


ife is wonderful, but it is even more special when you share it with someone. Sunsets are beautiful, but even sweeter when you watch them with a loved one. Yoga is wonderful too, and it is even more magical when you share your practice with a partner. Yoga works on many levels; it is a journey of discovery, of ourselves and our interdependence; each one of us is a whole universe to be explored through this practice. We live in a fast moving world, so partner yoga is a great way to spend quality time together, enjoying a fun and healthy activity. Practicing together helps to strengthen the bonds between a couple. In partner yoga we connect to each other in new and fun ways, we touch and are touched, we stretch more than usual with our partner’s help, balance in ways we could not by ourselves, breathe deeply together and dive into tranquility while we stare into each other’s eyes.

Bringing people together

Partner yoga is a great way to bring two people together because, in relationships, everything is reciprocal: the more we respect our partner the more they respect us; the more we give, the more we get; the more we listen, the more we are listened to. In


spending time wholly absorbed in each other, stretching each other, massaging, listening to each other’s movements and giving and receiving, our connections deepen and our hearts heal. Even one or two hours of conscious practice in a partner yoga class can serve as a great bridge over gaps that were created in the past. In a relationship we serve as each other’s mirrors – we can see our reflection in the other and come to better understand ourselves. In partner yoga there is constant feedback between partners; as someone helps us to stretch, we not only enjoy a fantastic sensation, we also learn how to help them stretch in a better way. As we experience our partner’s touch we learn how to touch them and as we watch them listening and responding to our sensations, we learn to listen and act in response to theirs. Partner yoga provides a rare opportunity for both partners to be truly present with each other – without any other distracting duties, kids or cellphones – pure bliss! When we stretch together we can: ♥ Stretch a little more than usual ♥ B  alance in ways that we cannot by ourselves ♥ M  ove with more awareness, realising that our movements affect our partner

♥ G  et constant feedback to our actions by communicating with our partner as well as by experiencing how it feels when they stretch us ♥ E  nhance communication skills using words, facial expressions, touch, breath and more ♥ Develop trust and compassion ♥ Touch and be touched in a safe way ♥ Deepen our connection to our partner

The magic of touch

Babies who don’t receive enough touch in early life do not survive, and children and even adults who don’t receive enough touch might suffer from a variety of emotional or mental challenges as well. Touch is the strongest and simplest way of giving and receiving love, support, warmth and trust and in partner yoga classes we spend most of our time touching each other. By practicing yoga together, we learn how to touch, how to be gentle and kind, we learn acceptance and compassion, how to be respectful and trusting, and how to connect, communicate, and cooperate. It’s a great opportunity to open the heart and overcome past conflicts.

Partner yoga and Tantra

Just to make it clear, in partner yoga classes

we learn yoga poses. Nevertheless, the communication, touch and attentiveness skills that participants learn through this experience can definitely lead to a better love life. Partner yoga can be used to improve sexuality by: ♥ D  eepening the connection you feel with your partner ♥ Improve your own understanding of yourself and your partner ♥ P  ut you more in harmony with your own body and mind and so, make you a better lover and partner ♥ H  elp you cultivate and maintain emotional and physical balance ♥ K  eep you fit and healthy so that you’re more physically capable ♥ A  llow you to get into some very interesting positions

Tantra means expansion through awareness, and transformation through pleasure. It really means that your whole being is expanded through awareness of your senses, feelings and energy. ‘Traditional’ yoga is an individual practice, but this new partner yoga style is a way to expand our hearts and minds to include another person. If in the ‘old’ yoga we withdrew within ourselves to find inner joy and peace, in this new yoga we learn to expand ourselves and to discover that happiness is not only

within, but also all around us. Contraction is limiting and narrowing while expansion is freeing. The more we expand ourselves to include others, the more fun and meditative the feeling is. But there’s only so much that can be explained with words. So hold your partner’s hands, look into their eyes, breathe together and with heightened awareness flow as one through a series of beautiful yoga poses. By Gopala Amir Yaffa, co-founder, Rainbow Yoga Training (

Partner yoga is also based on Tantric philosophy. The word Tantra in Sanskrit literally means ‘weave’, denoting continuity. It also means ‘to manifest, to expand, to show’. In this context, everything - including yoga and sex - is thought to expand consciousness and to weave together the polarities of male, and female, into a harmonious whole.

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om mind Meditation of the month

THE DARK SIDE Learning to experience the darkness with the light to find true happiness. A short meditation to help you embrace your dark side, By Jill Lawson


om mind


ll throughout human history, people have been allured by happiness. The pressure to have, be, and do what makes us happy is relentless. Happiness is big business, as the self-help industry is not struggling to make ends meet. In whichever way we define the perfect life, we all want to live happily ever after. As yogis, we are acquainted with the quest for enlightenment. Many of us have sought out a guru, one who will help us move from darkness to light, because if there is darkness in our lives, we can’t possibly be happy. The Bible quotes Isiah as saying: “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.” All across the globe, the movement from darkness to light is something every good human must experience if we wish to be happy. We understand darkness to be suffering and anguish of the worst kind, however, the dark is as natural and organic as the light. Neither exists without the other. While we equate enlightenment as the absence of dark, we can still be enlightened in the presence of darkness.

“We understand darkness to be suffering and anguish of the worst kind, however, the dark is as natural and organic as the light. Neither exists without the other. While we equate enlightenment as the absence of dark, we can still be enlightened in the presence of darkness.” Gandhi said: “In the midst of darkness, light persists.” Without darkness, it would be impossible to even know light exists. The following meditation can help you release fear and aversions you have about darkness. Embracing your darkness won’t make you a bad person, promote evil deeds or harm toward others. It is simply a way to understand darkness exists, and when you realise this, the light becomes so much more evident.

Do it now

Begin in a comfortable position, in a safe and quiet room, preferably in the dark. Close your eyes and witness the complete absence of light. With your mind’s eye, study the dark. Notice any sensations that arise. Do you feel afraid or ashamed? Continue to explore the darkness without judgement. Next, bring your attention to the place within you that gives you most comfort, such as a feeling of connectedness to your soul. Go there and feel safe. Let this feeling of contentment shine light on the darkness that surrounds you. While the dark is still there, you are no longer gripped by its influence. Instead, you are bringing the force of light to your life. Once upon a time, folklore character Snow White said, “Remember, you’re the one who can fill your life with sunshine.” So, in your darkness, let your light lead the way, and may you live happily ever after.

Jill Lawson is a writer and yoga teacher in Colorado, USA (

Competition Win 2 VIP tickets to Soul Circus Yoga & Wellness Festival, 18-20th August 2017*

Worth ov £1,0e0r0

At Soul Circus you can create your perfect day. Whether you are brand new to yoga or an experienced practitioner there is a class or a workshop for you. Mix in restorative yoga with a sweaty, uplifting Rocket, a gong bath with a live DJ Vinyasa class or challenge yourself with something new like aerial yoga. Experience an outdoor sunrise class and soak up the energy of the beautiful surroundings or warm up in the cosy hot yoga tent. Watch the sun set to a beautiful kirtan or liven the soul with a live music yoga rave. Soul Circus offers a taste of internationally recognised teachers as well as top UK instructors. OM Yoga has teamed up to offer 1 lucky reader 2 VIP tickets to the festival in 2017.

THE PRIZE INCLUDES: n £100 off Glamping upgrades n 15% off any additional tickets n breakfast in the VIP lounge n free bottle of Moët on arrival n discounted Moët champagne bar n s pecial VIP classes with our Soul Circus ambassadors  n two free Soul Circus T-shirts n VIP goody bag on arrival n X2 free Soul Circus posters n x2 free children tickets if required

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* Terms and conditions apply. Prize is for one person. Value is £1,000. Prize to be taken in 2017.

Closing date: 9 February 2017

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Danish for comfort, wellbeing and all things nice, Hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-ga’) is the buzzword of the season. Here’s how you can incorporate all those snuggly, cosy moments into your yoga practice. By Victoria Maw


he winter months have a reputation for being dark, cold and dreary. In theory, all these long evenings in might mean more time for yoga. In reality, sometimes, all we really want to do is crawl under a blanket and hibernate. The good news is you can indulge this need for warmth and cosiness. All you need to do is introduce a little hygge into your practice. Say what?! Hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-ga’) is basically the Danish word for wellbeing. It may be a little word but it has very big ideas. Hygge is the buzzword of the season and is all about cherishing yourself and others, making the time and space to be cosy and comfortable, enjoying the simplest of pleasures whether it is a steaming cup of tea or the feel of your soft slippers, embracing the here and now. Hygge is certainly a very appealing concept, but it is also one that I think sits very naturally with yoga. Here are a few ideas of how to incorporate a little bit of it into your life and practice this winter.

Live and practice in the moment

Hygge is about living in and enjoying the present moment, something that is directly transferable to yoga. When we practice asana, we focus on the breath, the movements of the body and we aim to quieten the mind. For many, a yoga practice is a chance to set aside the noise and bustle of everyday life and come back to the body in that particular moment. Try and make your next practice all about the present. Observe how you are feeling and breathing right now and move accordingly.

Create a special space

I find that a change of scene can really alter and inspire my yoga practice. Why not take advantage of the dark evenings and cosy-up your yoga space. Turn the lights low, light a candle and burn some beautiful incense – I love the smoky warmth of palo santo. Find some super soft blankets to wrap around yourself in Savasana or practice supine poses like Happy Baby whilst lying on a sheepskin. Maybe even practice in your pyjamas one night. Pure hygge in action.


Practice with friends and family

Find your nearest and dearest – children, friends, pets – and practice yoga together. Hygge is about sharing simple pleasures with the people you care about. Enjoy practicing with your baby lying on a blanket next to you or let your toddler make a bridge out of your Downward Dog. Share the practice, share the love!

Spoil your fellow yogis

One of the things I love most about yoga is the sense of community or Sangha (to use the Sanskrit word) it offers. And this idea is also a big part of how to feel hygge. To show your appreciation for your fellow yogis, why not bring a flask of spicy masala chai tea to pass around after class. Or bake something healthy and delicious to share. You might find out more about fellow students in ten minutes than you have done in a year of practicing together.

Take pleasure in your practice

This may sound a bit obvious but it is so easy for both students and teachers to get distracted by feelings of competitiveness or desire for progress. Come back to what made you love yoga in the first place and be content with your practice, whatever it is. Be kind to yourself and don’t strive for improvement.

Spread the yoga love

One of the things that brings me back to my mat time and time again is that I know I always feel better post practice and I feel like I am nicer and kinder to myself and those around me. I am sure this is a feeling that resonates with lots of yogis. If everyone who practiced yoga could take a little bit of this inner warmth and spread it in the wider world, that could only be a good thing and we’d all feel lovely and hygge. . Victoria Maw is a yoga teacher based in South East London (

om mind spirit De-Stress: Yoga off the mat

What is


Taking the time to really get grounded and to be in the now can feed through to all aspects of our daily life. By Charlotte Watts


om mind


he term ‘grounding’ is often used in yoga classes and in relation to any activity that helps to draw us into a sense of the present moment. But what does grounding actually mean? What qualities and physical attributes make grounding an important part of our practice? To not be grounded in life at any moment is to feel that we’re not really there. That includes a full physical sense that we are somehow off and away, that we are off in our heads, even ‘away with the fairies.’ This removal from a sense of where we are at that moment can even move into feelings of dissociation, where we can experience a complete disconnect from mind and body. This state has been associated with the ‘out of body’ experiences sometimes viewed as a spiritual high, but often has its roots in trauma. In yoga, opening into the higher echelons relies on solid roots; fostering grounding through the lower chakras (pelvis and belly) to meet the subtleties of the higher chakras up into the head. Grounding is really feeling where we are on a whole physical level in the here and now, in this present moment. So, it’s a very sensory thing, a very sensory feeling in quality. It involves having a clear internal sense – interoception of the shape and size and ratio of our physical being just as it is right now. So for instance, if we lay down in Savasana or at the beginning of a class to simply arrive, we might feel that our body feels larger or smaller in places. Maybe our feet feel very big or very small or that we can barely feel them. Cultivating a sense of grounding means fully engaging in the present moment, where we are placed on the earth, right now. We can foster this through the senses and the breath, even moving our hands and feet and rolling our head’s full weight on the ground to truly feel that we are here; that we exist. Grounding is a sense of where we are in relation to the world around us so that we can clarify that we are not lost elsewhere – therefore it has the potential to offer a true sense of safety. It’s not possible to feel fully grounded when we are stressed, overwhelmed and highly reactive. It is possible to feel grounded when we are excited or having to respond quickly to something – if we have cultivated a sense of embodied awareness or if we don’t tend to flood or panic when we come into the stress response. When we are not feeling fully connected with our body – and grounding is that

connection – our physical yoga practice is a great route back. The definition of the word yoga as ‘union’ can mean attunement between our sense of self and the larger world around us. So, when we move into stronger and standing postures, a sense of grounding is really key for how we move through the space around us, how we sense our body in relation to the world around us. This is proprioception or sense of self and how we get from one place to another. Good grounding creates movement with a sense of grace and integration. In standing postures, lifting up from the floor is defined by sensory input up from the feet, up through the inner legs, up through the pelvic floor, the spine, up through into the throat in the top of the palate and top of the head. All that connection and feeling up from the ground in standing, and moving through standing postures, really makes the difference between whether we are fully embodied. And thus we may remain with a practice that is aware and conscious or whether we are simply flailing around, even feeling quite heady and moving in a bit of a dream state or without coordination. Spending time feeling your feet on the ground (from a stable feet hip-width apart) and changes as you shift weight forward and back, side-to-side and in circles, creates good foundations from which to grow, not just in our practice, but how we walk and move through life. Within yoga, it is the quality of attention that can really determine whether it is helping us to ground in life or whether it’s something that feeds into any tendencies to dissociate, to disconnect from life itself. Spending time connecting with each breath, feeling each part of our body, where it is in space right now, even palpably feeling it with our hands is at the heart of our practice feeding up intelligently into our lives. After a physical practice, feeling grounded, centred and calmly present are the positive ripples we can take into life. Feeling buzzy, heady or excited can mean we’ve not spent enough time in grounding Savasana, where we allow things to settle, assimilate and gather back in to our sense of self. Yoga is connection and exploring beyond the physical starts in the here and now. 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 (

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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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POOR CONFIDENCE Do you hold yourself back because of poor confidence? Do you find you don’t pursue your goals or achieve all you could because your insecurities hold you back? Now’s the time to break free, writes Charlotta Hughes


t’s true that the impact of a lack of confidence on you and the progression of your life can be huge. It can spoil your greatest achievements and what would otherwise be your happiest moments. In fact, it can even prevent them from happening. This could be due to a tendency to put yourself and everything you do down, so that you don’t recognise or celebrate your successes. Or it could be due to you not achieving things in the first place because your insecurities interfere with your performance, or because you don’t even allow yourself to try. Either way, the importance of confidence to your life and how it evolves cannot be underestimated. A high level of self-confidence on the other hand, positively impacts on all areas of your life - at work, study or home and in social situations. It allows you to be more you, and to be the best version of you. Imagine the relief of just knowing that whatever happens and whatever the outcome you’ll be fine, and


that if you don’t get the results you hoped for you’ll be able to handle it and find a different way to get there. Confident people tend to be more optimistically minded, which results in them not only making the most of opportunities but also in them expecting a positive outcome, which increases the likelihood of that outcome materialising. And, importantly, their confidence allows them to enjoy the process more. So a real three-way win: with confidence you take more chances, enjoy taking them and enjoy more frequent success! Sounds pretty attractive, doesn’t it? So the big question is how to achieve this.


Often this has to involve identifying and dispelling the beliefs you hold about yourself and your life. This enables you to take control of how you feel, giving you the power to improve things and to enjoy your life and progress, whether at work, in study or privately.

The beliefs you hold about yourself often surface as excuses: what we tell ourselves or believe in for why we have poor confidence. The fact is that we all, at times, have excuses for why we don’t feel how we’d like, or achieve or have the things we’d like, and the annoying thing with us humans is that we do whatever it takes to prove ourselves right. Even if the only person we hurt in the process is ourselves! You may well be able to reel off a list of what feels like perfectly legitimate reasons for why you have, and perhaps should have, poor confidence. It may sound confrontational to say that you’re making excuses, because with an emotion like confidence your excuses will feel like real, justifiable reasons. But however justified you feel you are, if you acknowledge that these ‘reasons’ are in fact functioning as excuses you give yourself the opportunity to tackle them so that you can increase your confidence. This is not about belittling how you feel but instead about liberating yourself from your limiting beliefs.

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Filtering system

Let’s explore this a little further. You probably feel, and even ‘know’, that you are good at certain things and not so good at others. That certain things are possible or achievable whilst others are out of your reach or beyond your abilities. Whatever your knowledge or beliefs around your own abilities and opportunities, you will filter everything that happens around you in accordance with these beliefs. Let’s briefly explore what is meant by filtering. We have a huge amount of stimuli coming at us all day every day, and we simply can’t process everything: the sounds, smells, sights, physical sensations. Our senses help us by filtering out information, and they will choose what to take in and what to ignore, largely based on our preconceived ideas of how things are. So if you ‘know’ that you’re great at socialising and small talk, when you’re at a party you will notice everyone who talks to you, who smiles at you and who nods when you speak. The ones that don’t listen or drift away you may not notice at all, or you won’t attach any importance to their acts. Or you may assume that they’ve been called away. You simply filter them out. On the other hand if you ‘know’ that you’re not so good at something, or that something isn’t possible for you, you’ll filter information just as effectively to support this. So if your lack of confidence means you ‘know’ you’re not good at small talk or at telling an entertaining story, the only person you’re likely to notice in the room is the one who isn’t listening. The smilers are only being polite or kind. Right? But are they? Or could it be that they are actually enjoying listening to you? So could you be doing yourself, and them, a disservice? Events are actually completely neutral. It’s your interpretation of them which determines your experience, and which dictates your level of confidence. And the good news is that if your interpretation doesn’t work well for you, it’s within your power to change it! Here’s something you can try to do just that:

Developing confidence boosting beliefs n Write a list of the things you feel you’re lacking – your negative beliefs about yourself and your reality.

n Identify the beliefs you’d most like to change.

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

n Turn them on their heads by writing a list of things you’d like to believe to be true about yourself instead. What beliefs would really benefit you? What would you love to know to be true about yourself and your reality? n Look for evidence of why you should already hold these beliefs. This may be challenging at first but have patience with yourself and look back - when in the past did your lack of confidence prevent you noticing evidence? For example, if your belief is that you always fail at interviews but you’re currently in a job, that’s an excellent example of you having succeeded at an interview. Another example could be to counteract a negative belief about your social life with examples of when you’ve enjoyed seeing friends or had a good conversation in the past month or two. Note down any examples you can think of. Perhaps also discuss this with a trusted friend who can help you find examples in your life. n Now think about how you can create more opportunities to replicate past, successful behaviours, to add more and more evidence to support your new positive beliefs. n You might want to use a success diary to make sure you capture all of your evidence and record your progress. Practice, and allow yourself to get more and more familiar with your new self-beliefs. n You might also want to place your list of confidence boosting beliefs somewhere visible and read them daily – this is what coaches refer to as affirmations. It will keep them fresh in your mind and reinforce them at both conscious and subconscious levels. Follow the above process and with some persistence, you can start to liberate yourself from many of the limiting things you believe to be true. Charlotta Hughes is an award winning life coach. Her new book What’s Your Excuse For Not Being More Confident is released on February 20 and will be available on Amazon. For a reduced pre-launch offer visit Charlotta Hughes’ website:

• 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 Courses from £650 NEW Edinburgh course Starts September 2017 +44 (0)7983 508018

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Set your creative spirits free at Sarpenela

Photos: Brent Jones


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ong baths, healing and meditation days, there’s something for all soul seekers at Dorset’s Sarpenela Natural Therapies Centre. The centre was first established in 2000 by Sarah Lownds, whose passion and deep belief in natural therapies and a holistic lifestyle developed while managing spas in the Middle East for 11 years. And this year she wants to give even more to her community, opening two new spaces, ‘The Studio’ and ‘The Lodge’, to offer an even wider range of therapies and classes. Set in the grounds of Farnham Farmhouse, the new spaces are nestled in a beautiful walled garden, surrounded by Dorset’s delightful countryside. It’s the perfect backdrop for holistic offerings such as Reiki training, gong baths, heartfelt dance, healing and meditation days, kindred spirit gatherings and share groups. Sarpenela Natural Therapies Centre will be offering all levels of Reiki training throughout 2017, all taught by Lownds, a Reiki master. She says: “If you are seeking healing, or you wish to use Reiki to help others and you are open and willing to let this healing energy flow through you then you can become a Reiki practitioner.” Throughout 2017, as well as offering Reiki training courses, the centre will also be running regular Reiki share groups for people to share their knowledge and experience. The first Reiki training event this year will be a Reiki First Degree taking place on March 3-5. Lownds will also be leading new gong baths in The Studio space, which she says is a great way to rebalance, re-energise and re-align mind, body and spirit. “A gong bath is a form of sound therapy where the gongs are played in a therapeutic way to bring about deep relaxation, meditation and healing,” she says. “The term gong bath means that you are bathed in sound waves – no water is involved! You will experience the gong bath lying down comfortably or seated if preferred. All you have to do is relax, close your eyes and allow yourself to be bathed in the sound vibrations of the gongs and shamanic percussion, including therapeutic chimes, shamanic drums and rattles.” With a broad mix of other therapeutic treatments, courses and classes available, the vision to make Sarpenela a leading healing and wellness centre is well under way.

MT KAILASH Yoga Pilgrimage TIBET-NEPAL 2017 Travel Options: 25 June – 19 July 2017 24 July – 17 Aug 2017 22 Aug – 15 Sept 2017

Journey to mystical Mt Kailash and Lake Manasarovar near the juncture of the TibetIndia-Nepal border, departing from and returning to Kathmandu, Nepal. Visit the Potala palace, temples and monasteries of Lhasa, Yamdrok Tso lake, Gyantse, Lake Manasarovar and thermal springs arriving for the full moon to participate in the traditional Yoga pilgrimage walk around Mt Kailash. Appreciate a broader understanding of ancient and contemporary Yoga traditions including the commonalities and distinctions across Buddhist, Bonn, Hindu and Western perspectives. Optional Yoga practices and discussions.

Find out more about courses, workshops and classes at:

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Love is the


The Church of Yoga: a place for party and prayer, where love is the only gospel


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t may have its roots in India and Hinduism, but they say that yoga isn’t religious. Well, now there’s a place in the USA where you can literally worship this ancient discipline - and get your groove on too. A place for ‘the party and the prayer’, the Church of Yoga opens this month in an old renovated church in the Bayou Treme, in the heart of New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s the idea of Dana Trixie Flynn, founder of Laughing Lotus ( – the popular bi-coastal yoga centres in New York and San Francisco - who is expanding her vision of bringing yoga to everyone by opening a self-sustaining, multifunctional yoga studio and community centre available to all – her church. The Church of Yoga will offer donationbased classes, meditation, and outreach, in an effort to introduce the benefits of yoga to a new audience. It will also draw on the city’s rich musical legacy. Flynn tells OM that she felt a calling to give back to her community after receiving so much from yoga through the years. “I am called,” she says. “My love for New Orleans has kept me coming back for over 25 years, as long as I have been teaching yoga, and this past year a funky old church found me in the 7th Ward and I am called to give back.” She adds: “Yoga has given me a life beyond my wildest dreams, it has allowed me to transform destructive behaviours into sacred tools for living healthy and happy. It’s given me my bonus family and a deep sense of belonging.” The necessary renovations for the church were part funded by donations and crowdfunding from Lotus yogis around the world.

The Bayou Treme neighbourhood is one of the oldest in New Orleans, famed for its brass bands. The music of the area is especially well suited to Flynn’s own musical Lotus Flow yoga. It’s also an area that was affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which devastated large parts of the city. Although there was some damage from Katrina, the area faced only moderate flooding, although it remains an incredibly underserved area even today. To be able to provide free and donationbased classes, the Church of Yoga will also host community events, weddings, yoga retreats, online classes, musical and gospel performances, and teacher trainings – as well as operating the Church Lady Café, serving vegan Cajun specialties and non-alcoholic elixir ‘shots’. “I am excited to share the healing benefits of a yoga practice right alongside the celebrated sounds of New Orleans music,” says Flynn. “It’s a match made in heaven. All of us will benefit, those near and far. Everyone will want to come on down to the Church of Yoga, home to the party and the prayer. Love is the gospel.”


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eatdrinkyoga Healthy eating goodies The Coconut Company Coconut Nectar Grapevine Wood Roasted Cashews

Wood roasted cashews with their skin on now available in Grape Tree health stores nationwide. Cashews as they should be, we’re told! We might be used to cashew nuts looking beige and bland, but head to Vietnam (where many of the cashews in our supermarkets come from), and those being eaten by people on the streets look altogether very different. It’s because we’re used to eating the cashews with their skins off, whilst in Vietnam they are preferred roasted with their skins on. Apparently, we’re missing out on the tastiest part of these savoury snacks! £6.99

The Coconut Company has launched a new coconut nectar, a great vegan alternative to honey. It looks and behaves just like honey and has a mild caramel taste, what’s more it can be used in exactly the same way, drizzled over porridge and cereals, on toast or in hot drinks. Sounds yummy. £5.25

Ethical Coffee Biodegradable Capsules

Feel Good Drinks

Three new flavours in the ‘Bit Bubbly’ range of natural soft drinks: Orange, Passion Fruit & Water; Lemon, Elderflower & Water; and Cranberry, Lime & Water. All come in 750ml and 275ml glass bottles. The new ‘Refreshingly Still’ range, also includes new flavours: Orange, Mango & Water; Cranberry, Pomegranate & Water; and Lemon, Elderflower & Water. All 100% natural, made from a simple blend of fruit and water. Available in Asda and Sainsbury’s. £2 (275ml 4x ‘Bit Bubbly’ glass bottles)


If you still crave a morning espresso and use those disposable coffee pod machines then at least you can now keep your environmental conscience clean. Cofico and the Ethical Coffee Company have teamed up to launch the first 100% biodegradeable coffee capsules in the UK, fully compatible with Nespresso machines (the ones with George Clooney in the TV ads). Billions of Nespresso pods end up in landfills throughout the world every year - so, coffee drinkers, it’s now time to do your bit! £3 (10 pods)

London 7 201 y l u J h t 9 8 9-5pm

Addressing wellbeing in schools through yoga

Speakers and workshop leaders include Dr Usha Nayar Senior Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India Dr Shirley Telles Head of the Indian Council of Medical Research for Advanced Research in Yoga and Neurophysiology and Director of Research at Patanjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar, India Charlotta Martinus Director of TeenYoga. Yoga in school Dr Lisa Kaley-Isley Yoga Therapist and Psychologist for young people at Yoga Campus. Yoga for anxiety Rhian Fox Teacher at Prior Park College, Bath. Yoga and gender Dr Lisa Greenspan Counselling Psychotherapist, BACP. Yoga and young offenders Silvia Giovanni Lead Youth Facilitator at PYE Global. Yoga and creativity Robin Watkins-Davis (17) TYF Youth Patron. Teenagers and society Other speakers from policy, youth and schools TBC. International speakers and parallel experiential workshops. Take-home tips for schools, healthcare and classroom yoga.

Would you like to speak or present a workshop? For tickets and information please visit our website:


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Spring a

LEEK Time to get versatile with your vegetables


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Leek and Cauliflower Soup with Lemongrass and Coconut Milk This soup is a wonderfully contemporary take on the classic leek and potato soup. Swapping out the potato for the cauliflower reduces the carbs but keeps it just as creamy. The lemongrass adds the most incredible fresh zingy taste. This soup is stunning served warm and spicy or can be served chilled in the summer Serves: 4 Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients • • • • • • • • • • •

1 medium onion, finely chopped 3 leeks, washed and trimmed and chopped, reserve handful for garnish 1 medium cauliflower, roughly chopped 1 stick of lemongrass, snapped in three places but still together A handful of fresh or frozen peas 500ml/2 cups veg stock 150ml/2/¹/³ cup coconut milk A large knob of vegan margarine Olive oil A pinch of salt and pepper to taste Small red chilli to garnish

Method 1.




In a large pan, gently heat a large knob butter and a little drizzle of olive oil, add your onion and let them sweat a little until they begin to turn translucent, then throw in your leeks and cauliflower and stir. Add the lemongrass, turn the heat down to the lowest, place the lid on and let the vegetables sweat for at least 5 mins until they are soft, then add the peas and pour in the stock and coconut milk. Let it bubble gently for another 10 minutes then turn off the heat and let it cool a little. Remove the stick of lemongrass before whizzing up with a stick blender, if necessary add more stock or milk to reach desired consistency. Finely cut a small red chilli and a little leek to garnish and serve.

Warm Puy Lentil and Beetroot Salad with Balsamic Leeks A great low fat detox dish packed full of lively flavour and zing! Use the best available balsamic vinegar to give a smooth syrupy flavour to the salad so there’s no need to add oil. Serves: 4 Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 5 minutes

Ingredients • • • • • • • • •

110g/4oz/½ cup puy lentils, rinsed 300ml/½ pt vegetable stock 150g/5oz/²/³ cup cooked beetroot, diced 50g/2oz/1 cup sun blush semi dried tomatoes, roughly chopped 25g/1oz/¹/6 cup pitted black olives Sprinkling of ground sea salt and black pepper 2 x 15ml tbsp balsamic vinegar (best available) 275g/10 oz/3 cups leeks, halved lengthways and cut into even 2cm lengths 75g/3oz/¼ cup romanesco or cauliflower florets

Method 1.


Simmer the puy lentils with the stock for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and combine with the chopped beetroot, tomatoes and olives. Season and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Steam leeks and florets for 5 minutes or until just tender. Carefully place onto lentil mixture and drizzle with more balsamic just before serving.

Recipes and images:


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Kale & Leek Bake It’s not like we’re trying, but we’ve struggled to find anyone who doesn’t love this dish. The cream sauce, the kale, the garlic breadcrumbs on top ... It’s literally the most perfect creamy casserole-style dish that will inspire second and third helpings. Serves: 4

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

500 ml/17 fl oz/2 cups soya milk 250 ml/8 ½fl oz/1 cup vegetable stock ½ onion, peeled and halved 3 garlic cloves, 1 smashed, 2 crushed Pinch of fennel seeds 2 fresh bay leaves Pinch of whole black peppercorns Handful chopped flat-leaf parsley, reserve the stalks for the stock 4 large leeks, cut in half lengthways and sliced into 1 cm (½) pieces, reserving the dark green ends for the stock 80 g/2 ¾ oz/¹/³ cup butter, plus extra for greasing Olive oil, for frying 1 large bunch kale, leaves stripped and roughly torn 1 tsp finely chopped thyme 35 g/1 ¼ oz/¼ cup plain (all-purpose) flour 120 g/4 oz/1 ¼ cup shredded vegan cheese 1 tbsp Dijon mustard Stale bread

Method 1.



4. 5.


7. 8.


Pour the soya milk and stock in a medium-sized saucepan and add the onion, smashed garlic, fennel seeds, bay leaves, peppercorns, parsley stalks and green leek ends. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid into a bowl and discard the leftover ingredients. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and a glug of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped leek with a pinch of salt and cook until soft but not coloured. Remove from the pan and set aside in a small bowl. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and throw in a large pinch of salt. Drop in the kale leaves and boil for 3–4 minutes or until the leaves have begunto soften but still have their bright green colour. Drain and refresh under cold running water until the leaves are cool. This will stop the cooking process. Preheat the oven to 180°C (Gas Mark 4/350°F). Grease four individual or one largeovenproof dish with a little butter. Heat the remaining butter in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat until melted. Add half of the crushed garlic and the thyme and cook for about 30 seconds before adding the flour. Stir well to combine and cook until it becomes a thick paste. Cook over low heat for about 1 minute to cook out the raw flour, then slowly add the strained infused soy milk, stirring constantly to keep the sauce smooth. Add the shredded cheese and mustard and continue to stir over a low heat until the cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper. Either tear the bread into small pieces or pulse in a food processor until you have chunky breadcrumbs. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add a big glug of olive oil. Add the remaining crushed garlic, the chopped parsley and the breadcrumbs along with a pinch of salt and toss well to coat in the oil. Cook over medium heat tossing often until the breadcrumbs are just beginning to turn a light golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside. Add the kale and leeks to the sauce and stir until evenly combined. Pour into the prepared ovenproof dishes and top with the garlicky breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling.

Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (that Happens to be Vegan) by Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse (Hardie Grant, RRP £20)

w no at om ts le .c ke lab ow Tic ai sh av ga yo om

25 & 26 March 2017 SECC, Glasgow


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Sugar Free


Make 2017 the year you cut out sugar for good

laire White is the author of the highly acclaimed Sugar Snub guides (, which list the sugar contents of common supermarket foods and restaurant and café dishes. In her research for the books she’s learnt a lot about sugar. She appreciates that it’s often easier said than done to simply ‘give up’ sugar, but knows that if reduced sensibly even the biggest sugar fiend can cut down on the ‘white stuff’ and make a dramatic impact on their health.

1) Small changes quickly add up

‘Marginal gains’ are talked about a lot in sport at the moment, with the Sky cycling team having become the best in the world by making small changes that have added up to make a big difference. Cutting out sugar can be viewed in much the same way as becoming a world champion cyclist. If you just look at the end goal, whether that be ‘becoming an Olympic Gold medallist’ or ‘totally cutting out sugar’, it can become intimidating and overwhelming. If you break that goal down into smaller steps, such as ‘go a little bit faster on the bike today than yesterday’ then over time the main goal is achieved. With sugar, there are so many small steps you can take that the process of giving it up can be easily broken down into daily and weekly targets that put you closer towards achieving your main goal. For example, aiming to cut down the number of sugars you have in your tea or coffee from two teaspoons to one is an easy and not too painful goal which makes a great achievement for week one. In week two, swap the jam on your morning toast to sugar free peanut butter. In week three aim to lose one sugar laden pudding from your weekly meal plan and replace it with sugar free yoghurt and fruit. You’ll find this not only easier to implement than going cold turkey, but also self-reciprocating because as you begin to cut out sweet foods your sugar cravings reduce and the next steps become easier.

3) Check labels

Don’t undo all your good work by unknowingly eating or drinking something laden with hidden sugars. My Sugar Snub books try and help with this by listing the different levels of sugar in common shop and café/restaurant foods, but do your own detective work and read labels to find out the sugar content of your shopping before putting it in the basket and don’t be scared to ask when ordering food or drink how much sugar is in your order.

4) Be creative

There are plenty of ways you can reduce sugar if you put your mind to it. Try adding cinnamon or other spices to a recipe, instead of so much sugar, for a different kind of sweet sensation. Make your own popcorn at home and create some tasty coatings, that don’t involve sugar, for a snack that still feels indulgent. Don’t fight your need for chocolate, just go for a darker lower sugar version instead!

5) Stay strong

Whilst having the odd sugar laden treat might not do your waistline any harm in the short term, it can be really detrimental if you’re trying to wean yourself off sugar. Coming off sugar in the long term is about re-programming your brain and taste buds so they don’t crave sugar. This can happen relatively quickly and often people find they no longer even like overly sweet foods after just a few weeks of cutting down, but having a packet of sweets can quickly undo the hard work you’ve done especially during the early stages. Instead buy in some of your favourite savoury snacks and when you feel like you deserve a treat go for those instead. The Sugar Snub Guide to Eating Out is available as a paperback and e-book from, and Amazon, priced at £8.99 and £3.99 respectively.

2) Pick a good alternative

Sugar has been seen to be as addictive as heroine, so it’s not surprising it’s so hard to cut out. There are a whole host of alternatives available, which can make things significantly easier however. Some alternatives though, such as agave nectar, still contain really high amounts of sugar, so be careful what you pick. I’d recommend something called xylitol. It might not sound very natural, but ‘xyl’ comes from the Greek word for wood and xylitol comes from birch and beech wood. It has less calories and ‘available’ carbohydrates than sugar, but most importantly it has less of an impact on your blood sugar levels, which helps curb cravings. It also looks, tastes and acts just like granulated sugar, so it’s super easy to bake with, use in tea and coffee or sprinkle on fruit and cereal. It also has a positive impact on dental health and has been seen to reduce plaque and tooth decay.


om family Concious Parenting


Drop your own baggage or agenda and meet your teens exactly where they are. By Siri Arti

have spent plenty of time considering how to transform family conflict into connection, and recently had a wonderful glimpse into the different ways of parenting and how effective – or ineffective – they can be. I went away with a group of teenagers to celebrate a 16th birthday. There were nine teenagers present and three mums. The birthday boy’s mum was inspired to make it a weekend of outdoor adventure and wellbeing. She chose a magnificent venue –



the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa. Lush fields, mountain ranges, waterfalls and dams surrounded our camp. Expansive blue skies, birds and bees, friendly faces and open spaces. Each moment of the weekend was peppered with adventure including strenuous hikes, communal cooking, fire pit building and energetic music making. What wasn’t scheduled was the mischief the great outdoors would offer the youth. In their free moments, they chose to play. Some good choices were made and some bad. The bad

ones were met with consequences but the game continued. I wasn’t in charge, so in true Montessori fashion, I supported the weekend while subtly observing the youthful antics. It was wonderful to witness nine teenagers - half boys, half girls – finding their way together in a new environment. They loved the activities and brought themselves wholeheartedly to them. When the hike got tough, they smiled and joked, but kept climbing higher and higher. When we reached the waterfall, even

om family the least adventurous climbed the rocks to hide behind the cascades or found the courage to jump off a rock plunging into freezing pools. As well as the constant teasing, there was also praise and encouragement, and helping hands up rock faces and into water. This group of teenagers who didn’t know each other very well inspired me. They found a way to be together and their zest for life was infectious. They also found ways to get up to no good under our very noses. There was pure mischief but also some totally unacceptable behaviour. They got caught, were reprimanded and educated, but they stood tall, received both the verbal beating and the consequences, faced the music and moved on. It was intriguing to witness the dynamics. During the weekend, the responsible adults showed three variations of parenting methods. One of us dished out lists of non-negotiable rules, curfews and harsh words. The second was more laid back and the third, still observing, managed the group in an open and reasonable way. You can guess how this went down… the rigid rule maker ruled the roost. Kids were shouted at and sleeping under the stars was forbidden. Mischief was seen as defiance and the warm African air turned to frost. A magical weekend ruined. Both unnecessary and heart breaking. Teenagers are wired to be wildly creative, courageous, imaginative and driven to take risks. Trust them. They may withhold the truth, be devious and do some pretty stupid things, but it is their rite of passage to go through this. The first rule of conscious parenting is to sort your own issues out. Let go of your

hidden agenda and high expectations. Instead, meet them where they are and try to see a bigger picture. Communicate. Accept small misdemeanours. Enjoy the company, but give them space enough to breathe. Please remember your own adolescent years. Don’t stifle them or make them feel small. Within reason, allow them to make mistakes, with you present enough to support and offer guidance. I love these wise words from Daniel J Siegel: “The key for both generations is to be open to what is unfolding, to honour the person the adolescent is becoming through all of the unpredictable stages and experiences this time entails. Honouring means being present for what is happening and being open and accepting so that we can play an important part in our adolescent’s life.” It had been a weekend of highs and lows, but my favourite part by far was when the group gathered under a shady tree to practice yoga, a first time for most. Taking a deep breath, I felt into the places each one of them was at, and then momentby-moment, journeyed with them to that mysterious yoga place. After bending and twisting, headstands and crazy balances, I lead them into the softness of relaxation. Thoughts unravelled while bodies sank deeply into the earth. We surpassed time and space, and entered a new paradigm where, once again, unity was restored and we found the abilty to honour and respect each other again. Siri Arti is the creator of Starchild Yoga, an education for peace. For details of teacher trainings and any other events please visit:

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The wild yoga experience How Strala guide Dr Sarah Green created a space to help re-establish meaning and purpose for people at times when all seems lost


wim, paddle, bike, or hike your way through the Lake District to unique hidden locations for yoga with inspirational Strala guide, Dr Sarah Green. The Yoga Hide-Away offers luxury sporting and wellbeing retreats all year round. Nestled on the side of Ling Fell, the boutique five star en-suite accommodation is set within Highside Farm, a 17th century Lakeland farmhouse, sympathetically restored, with an abundance of character. Surrounded by fells, running streams and breathtaking sunsets, it’s the perfect place to relax. Three years ago, Green and her husband Rob embarked on a journey to create an environment where people feel free to express themselves, find inner strength and develop a connection to their soul. Having carried out her doctoral research on the spiritual experience of activity for individuals living with a physical disability, she soon discovered the importance of yoga and sport as a tool to re-establish meaning in life at a time when all seemed lost. Working alongside British servicemen and women meant that she gained a deep insight into the power of movement, for mind and body, as a way to experience, evolve and excel. This experience has helped shape The Yoga Hide-Away and its philosophy of providing an inclusive and holistic retreat for disabled and non-disabled individuals. Green also worked in the field of disability sport and was confronted with the reality that the built environment can be disabling for people living with a disability. This was a stark reality that her and her husband felt was unjust and something they wanted to change. When converting the farm from its sheep farming roots into the home of The Yoga Hide- Away, they wanted to create a retreat that was inclusive.


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It’s now a place for people to come together and practice yoga, irrespective of physical ability. “Yoga is a tool to bring people together, deepening connection to oneself and others and should be inclusive for all,” she says. As a result, the centre has adapted rooms, with the feel of pure luxury, natural wet rooms and an endless pool without steps. One of the most important aspects of the retreat is to experience wild yoga as a way to instill a deep connection to oneself and nature. Green guides yoga on the tops of mountains, in running streams, on the shores of beautiful lakes and even in some of the Lake District’s hidden caves. A retreat here can be yours to design, with lots of activities on offer including an onsite endless swimming pool, fell running and walking, mountain biking, paddle boarding, wild swimming and more. A true place for revival and rejuvenation for all. Find out more at:


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MyYogaBiz Tips from the experts to help you grow the yoga business of your dreams. This month’s mentor: Charlie Morgan, 30, Shanti Living BUSINESS PLANS I don’t have a detailed business plan because I would like my career to evolve organically to a certain degree. I used to plan and goal set all the time. Now I don’t and I’ve actually found that I move forward more quickly than I did before. However, the magic in having a plan is that it gives you direction. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’ve got there?

super useful for connecting with people and learning and being inspired by others. My biggest bit of advice is not to get consumed by it. If you’re going to use it, be authentic. Post stuff that you enjoy posting, not what you think people want to see. Compare and you will despair. Keep it real and remember to remind yourself that most of what you see is a fluffed up, sugar coated version of people’s lives, so don’t take it too seriously.

MARKETING TIPS Social media platforms have been the most successful marketing tools for me – Instagram in particular (although no doubt something new will replace that soon!). My biggest blooper was spending loads of time and money on flyers. Unless you are giving flyers to your students who already know and have faith in you, in my opinion, blind flyering is a complete waste of time.

WHAT’S YOUR NICHE What makes my classes stand out is they are extremely relaxed. I’m not really interested in showing off my knowledge of anatomy or yogic philosophy, my focus is simply to create a warm, fun environment in which everyone feels welcome and where people can get out of their heads and back into their bodies. I always focus my classes on a subject I’ve been thinking about, maybe stemming from a podcast I’ve been listening to or a book I am reading. Oh yeah, and I love to turn the lights down and pump my music!

SOCIA MEDIA I use it on a daily basis, posting to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and find it

SELF-CARE TIPS Self practice, healthy diet, regular massages, pedicures, going for long walks in nature with my miniature dachshund -– and lots of naps! ASKING FOR HELP I have a mentor and have done the whole way through my yoga career so far. I get so much out of this and couldn’t recommend the importance of having one enough. When you first qualify, you need guidance on so many things, and having a great mentor is such a support with this. HARDEST LESSON Learning to say ‘no’. When you start out it’s tempting to say yes to everything. It’s great to be readily available, but there is a limit and you have to be realistic with your hours. I took on way too many classes at one point, working early mornings and evenings and pushed myself too much to have a stronger physical practice, in fear of not being good enough. As a result, my body took me down. My left hip was in so much pain that I had to spend loads of money on treatment and I could barely walk at one point. You only have one body – be kind to it! Written and compiled by Claudia Brown (


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

Inside: Page 98: Mindfulness In Action Page 100: To Demo Or Not To Demo


Teacher zone

Mindfulness in action

Stella Tomlinson describes how her yoga practice has helped her navigate the wobbly times in life and how yoga teachers (yes, even yoga teachers!) are only human too


o matter how much we teach or practice yoga, mindfulness and meditation, chances are life is going to throw something into the mix which challenges our hard-earned equilibrium. We all get those days or weeks when we just feel off-kilter, for no obvious reason. At these times it can feel challenging to motivate ourselves to step onto our yoga mat or sit on our meditation cushion. I’d like to share with you a personal story of one of those times. And to share with you why it’s so important to fall back onto the support of your yoga and meditation practice to help get through it. So, a couple of months ago, I experienced a weird, wobbly week. It started off great. I’d graduated from my two-year Dru meditation teacher training. I felt refreshed after a week off on a retreat. I was looking forward to getting back to my yoga teaching. I’d got new classes and workplace yoga and mindfulness initiatives coming up. But then I found myself not sleeping very well. My mind wouldn’t shut up. A Facebook post irritated me and I let it get under my skin. I felt the ‘not good enough’ button well and truly pressed. I got the fear that I won’t ‘make it’ as a yoga teacher. That people want to feel like they’ve worked out from a yoga session (which I’m not interested in teaching). That all the nice rooms and halls in my area are already taken. It’s not fair. Why aren’t all my classes full? Hello self-pity and self-doubt and selfjudgement. Hello tight throat, tight chest. Tension. Disconnection from the ground. Feeling lost in a whirlwind of what ifs and shouldn’ts.

Being human, mindfully

Why am I telling you this? Probably like many other teachers, it would be very easy


Teacher zone for me to waft around pretending I’ve got it all sorted. Writing this is exposing my vulnerabilities to the world. Well, I’m sharing this for three reasons.


To show you that yoga teachers experience mind-created dramas too – we all do because we’re human and complicated To share it isn’t weak or stupid or wrong to feel off-balance and vulnerable sometimes To show you how I used my mindfulness and meditation practice to help me through it – and to learn and grow from the experience.

2 3

So, in the midst of the turmoil my mind was creating, and, as difficult as it was, I decided to sit on my meditation cushion and feel it all. I sat, and gripped onto my soothing rose quartz thumb stone crystal for dear life and sat with it all. The waves of feeling and thought. The anger, the frustration. The self-pity. The envy. The instinct to jump up and pace around. The fretting. Feeling like giving up because I’ll never be as successful or prolific as other teachers. But most of all, I sat with the fear. Because this is what my mini melt-down was all about. A deep, deep fear of not being good enough. Of being a failure. And of not being seen. “But I don’t want to feel this way!” I silently screamed to myself. “But I am. Don’t push it away” said the wise voice of the inner guide within my heart. Attachment and aversion, grasping and pushing away: the root of so much human suffering. And then came a wave of inner strength and resolve. “Just feel it. Name it. Let it be.” Fear. Frustration. Fear again. Anger. Worrying. Catastrophising. Comparing myself and finding myself wanting.

And I sat and felt the breeze on my skin and listened to the rustle of the wind in the leaves. And I realised again that all just is as it is. All things fluctuate and change. I am on the right path. The path may change in the future, but for now, I’m on the right path. I am the guardian angel for people who need me as I am now. I am here in this body, in this place, in this time, for a reason. Let me be me. And be a beacon of inspiration and help and light to others, like me, who struggle with sensitivity, anxiety and self-doubt to let myself and them know that sensitive people like us have beautiful gifts to share in this world of comparison, competition and stress. And we are perfect just as we are.

Letting it be

And just letting it be, I found a peace with it all. I am thankful. Because I have a meditation and mindfulness practice. Instead of sitting and ruminating on worries (real or imagined) and raising my stress levels or pushing it down, ashamed of the way I feel, I know to take myself to a quiet space and shake and shout it out, stretch and move, or to lie on the ground and breathe out my cares into mother earth. It isn’t easy. It never is being human. But I feel empowered and strong for having let myself feel everything. That’s why I’m sharing this experience with you. It’s not weak or stupid or wrong to have strong emotions. It’s human.

And it’s human to have a choice with how we deal with these strong emotions. We can continue on automatic pilot and be pushed and pulled around or we can invite our higher self to hold the reins and observe and watch with kindness.

The quiet voice within

Through all the rage and fear I ever feel sitting on my meditation cushion there is always another voice within me. Sometimes very quiet, sometimes shouted down by my hurt ego. But it’s still there. Have you heard it within you? A voice that is loving and patient and kind. Ready and waiting to be heard, saying it’s okay. Feel it. There’s nothing wrong with you. This is life. This is living. It’s okay. Nothing lasts, everything changes. Fear and hurt will subside. Joy will return. And that will ebb and flow too. It all changes. Let it be. It is as it is. This too shall pass. Breathe. Smile. And let life flow like a river. Be kind to yourself. You’re okay. In fact you’re more than okay. And here in this moment all is well. Stella Tomlinson is a Dru yoga and meditation teacher based in Hampshire. She uses her first-hand experience of how yoga can relieve stress and anxiety to teach others who feel anxious and overwhelmed how to connect to inner strength, stillness and joy to find peace amidst the demands of everyday life. Get a free Calm, Clear & Relaxed Tool Kit at:

It is as it is

And then a glimmer of equanimity. It as it is. Breathe. It is as it is. (I let this be my mantra for a few minutes) and the turmoil began to lessen its grip and fade. The next day I took myself off to one of my favourite gardens and sat under an old tree and meditated. And I sat with it all again.


Teacher zone Teacher’s Tales:

To demo or not to demo? That is the question. Paula Hines explores why some yoga teachers like to demonstrate and others do not


he answer to this question will depend to some extent on the style of yoga you teach, so I understand this will not necessarily apply for everyone. But speaking from the example of teaching yoga flow classes, I had a real ‘I should know better’ moment last year. Depending on the class, I tend to demonstrate some of the time but certainly not all. As more and more people come to yoga I have noticed, particularly over the past couple of years, from some that there is an expectation they can copy the teacher throughout the class. I have on occasion even received complaints from yoga newcomers for not demonstrating every single pose. I explain that if I am doing all the poses then I cannot observe the class and teach them accordingly. As so many more drop-in classes are now mixed-level, with some classes being quite large, it can be a difficult balance to strike. Many of us have come across examples of the teacher who stays on their mat and does their own practice for the rest of the class to follow along without offering guidance in and out of each asana. However, I do not agree with demonstrating every single pose.


I had a phase last year where I found myself demo-ing more than normal in mixed-level flow classes – these were larger classes too and I slipped into a pattern of leading classes rather than teaching them. This was not a good way to go – not only is this exhausting to do when you teach a number of classes in a day, it also took a physical toll on my body. I should know better, and yet, as I say, I slipped into this pattern. So, I made a conscious decision to (a) demonstrate less and (b) teach less of this style of yoga. For the classes I was teaching I did not go ‘cold-turkey’ with the demonstrating, I instead reduced the amount of demo-ing I was doing over a number of weeks. This way, I felt that for the students who had been coming to class, they did not go from seeing me demonstrate a lot of the poses one week to very little the next. I know I made the right decision, not only for me but also for people coming along to my classes to create a better learning environment.

Paula Hines is a London-based yoga teacher and writer (

Teacher zone

books The Art Of Vinyasa Awakening Body and Mind Through The Practice Of Ashtanga Yoga Richard Freeman & Mary Taylor Shambala $24.95 A radical approach to the form of Ashtanga yoga: one that is based on the subtle internal forms of the practice. Where Ashtanga yoga is usually practiced in a set sequence of postures, in this book those same movements and poses are broken down by their form: standing poses, forward bends, backbends, twists, balancing poses and finishing poses. With warmth, humour and wisdom, the authors provide the groundwork for establishing an internally rooted and spiritually enlightening yoga practice that goes far beyond the mat and into the core of one’s life. Over 325 pages. Fully illustrated in black and white.

Further reading: ABC Yoga

Christiane Engel Quarto Publishing £10.99 Growl like a crocodile, stretch like a fox and hop like a grasshopper - discovering basic yoga poses as you learn the alphabet. Enjoy yourself and stretch out with ABC Yoga, a beautiful, full colour illustrated hardback book for youngsters. Have fun on the mat with your little one learning simple yoga poses and the alphabet at the same time. Great illustrations and yoga glossary at the back.

Making Life Easy. A Simple Guide To A Divinely Inspired Life Christiane Northrup Hay House $24.99

Making life flow, and truly feeling your best, is about far more than physical health; it’s also about having a healthy emotional life and a robust spiritual life – and connecting to the divine within yourself. This book helps you lift the lid on your own life and health and shows that to live a truly easy life you must first align with the divine – in fact, you have to let it lead your life. After that, things will simply flow, and you’ll be happier and filled with peace. Let this book show you the how.

Accountants for Yoga Teachers, Pilates Teachers and similar Therapists Our mission is to support Yoga Teachers and others with UK tax and business issues l Specialists in yoga teachers l Run by a yoga teacher l 25 years experience as a firm l Fixed prices l Free advice and guidance

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Yoga is for every body Your pictures. Your community Jacqui Payn: Mykonos

Norweigian wood: Annely Kutsar and friend

Sue Simpson: standing on the Great Wall of China

Eliza and pal

Beach yoga at La Fayette, Mauritius

We are dancers

Nimita Bhatt

Warrior Power


Sam Stone in Sicily

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Andrew Smith pottering about the hills of Calderdale

Julie Mustoe

Emandian Mcdougall in Avoriaz

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:



Awe-inspiring retreats and ideas for yoga explorers

Costa Rica sun seeker Find your own miracle at Rythmia, an all-inclusive, medically licensed luxury resort and retreat centre in incredible Costa Rica If you’re ready for a big yoga adventure this year then there’s probably no better place to go than Costa Rica. Already big on the yoga and wellness scene with American visitors, it’s starting to attract more Europeans too. And for good reason. This Central American paradise is a clean living eco heaven and was once voted the happiest place in the world to live. Costa Rica has plenty of great yoga and wellness destinations, but you’ll be in good hands at Rythmia, a resort dedicated to relaxation and healing transformation, where yoga is a big part of the draw. Expect organic food, meditation, coaching, a wonderful spa and massage facilities, plus medically licensed professionals on site. That’s on top of the incredible beaches! There’s a packed diary of events scheduled for 2017 (check website for details) but one yoga highlight is US instructor Shiva Rea, who’ll be hosting a retreat - Sol Rising: Spring Prana Vinyasa - from March 26 to April 2. Amazing teacher in an amazing place. Find out more at:


om travel We love Spain Celebrate the sun with some yoga and pampering fun Join the wonderful Rosanna Gordon on a five night yoga retreat in sunny Spain this May. Spoil yourself rotten in a boutique spa hotel with yoga and meditation, and feast on fabulous healthy and nutritious cuisine lovingly prepared just for you. You’ll get to stay at the beautiful Hotel-Spa La Romana in Alicante (well worth a visit in itself!) and bliss out on yoga twice a day, in-between your trips to the plush spa. La Romana is a small village 30 minutes from Alicante airport. Suitable for all levels of yoga practice, including beginners and those with more experience. Go on, you deserve it! FACT FILE May 15-20, 2017 From £595 (shared double/twin room Includes: 5 nights full board stay at HotelSpa La Romana; two 1.5 hour daily yoga & meditation sessions (morning & early evening); 1 x entrance to rejuvenating Spa; 1 x relaxing massage; 1 x mountain hike; outdoor swimming pool; day trip to nearby beach. Flights & transfers not included.

Surrey sanctuary Find inner peace…just a short drive from the capital Set in a beautiful two acre garden near Lingfield, Surrey, Claridge House is a charming Victorian property that offers rest and renewal in a calm, tranquil atmosphere. There are lots of short yoga and meditation retreats coming up if you fancy a quick escape, plus themed breaks such as Healing with Herbs and Creative Writing & Art. Lose yourself in the idyllic grounds outside then take refuge in the restorative, healing house, where you’ll also enjoy fresh, seasonal, organic vegetarian food each day. Oh, and afternoon tea is a long standing tradition here - the homemade cakes are not to be missed! FACT FILE UPCOMING RETREATS: Restorative Yoga (March 3-5) Yoga to Celebrate the Equinox (March 17-19) Gentle Yoga for Fatigue & Stress (April 7-9)


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of a


Take your seats for the ride of a lifetime with a combined VIP helicopter trip and yoga class


t could actually be the world’s most expensive yoga class, but it sounds pretty cool nonetheless. US firm Maverick Helicopters ( has teamed up with a local yoga company, Silent Savasana (, for an executive flight with a difference. Passengers fly to a remote, private landing spot at Valley of Fire state park for an unprecedented 75-minute yoga experience in the desert surroundings. But it’s not cheap. HeliYoga is available via private charter only at a price of $3,499. The Airbus EC130/H130 ECO-Star aircraft offers guests a spacious cabin for up to six passengers plus one yoga instructor, plus additional


touches including voice-activated headsets, theatre-style, leather seating and wraparound windows for superior visibility. Bryan Kroten, vice president of marketing at Maverick Helicopters, reckons the price tag is worth it though. “The remote and amazing scenery at Valley of Fire will have guests in awe as they land on top of the cliff and take in the vivid colours during their private yoga session,” he said. The two-and-a-half hour excursion includes limo transport from the famed Vegas Strip to Maverick Helicopters’ terminal. The helicopter will then descend and land on one of the highest peaks at the state park, only accessible via helicopter. Passengers can explore the remote landscape by foot and take in the area’s sights before being led through a private yoga session by one of Silent Savasana’s instructors. “Silent Savasana is grateful for our partnership with Maverick Helicopters and we’re excited to be the forefront yoga and helicopter excursion in the Las Vegas market,” said Kyle Markman, co-founder of Silent Savasana. “This is how yoga is meant to be practiced and we can’t wait to share this experience with current and new students worldwide.” Participants end the class with a champagne toast, before the breathtaking flight over downtown Las Vegas and back to the Strip.


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Let’s run away to


Romantic Yoga Getaway

What could be better than a weekend yoga break at one of the country’s top spa hotels? Not a lot really. OM went to find out more


here are plenty of good reasons why Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa has won so many awards through the years. Yes, there’s yoga on offer here, but the incredible spa is truly something else. Whatever you’re looking for - some metime and pampering, to kick-start a healthier lifestyle, or for a smoochy weekend getaway - it’s a great place to reset mind, body and spirit. And, when it comes to the yoga, one of the best things about it right now is that the retreats are currently being run by one of OM’s own family of writers, Meg Jackson, who brings her unique blend of Real Life Yoga for all to experience.

The good life

Located in the rolling Leicestershire countryside, Ragdale Hall combines stateof-the-art spa facilities with the charm of traditional Victorian architecture. The beautiful house and grounds are surpassed only by the amazing things inside. That includes the charming staff. After you check in, you’ll be guided through a brief health



Meg Jackson’s Real Life Yoga breaks take place from Thursday to Saturday and include yoga sessions, all meals (including breakfast served to your room, three-course lunch and three-course dinner), plus a choice of two 25-minute treatments. Two night breaks available from £364. NEXT DATES: February 9-11, 2017 June 15-17, 2017 September 7-9, 2017 consultation as your bags are whisked off to your room. There, you’ll find complimentary robes and flip flops, as well as a wonderfully soft bed to sink into, plus an activity planner and timetable so you know what you’re doing the next day. Ragdale Hall now hosts regular yoga breaks, which are ideal if you want to combine your downward dogs with some outof-this-world pampering, but there are plenty of other things going on too, like Nordic Walking, Zumba, running, archery, tennis and dance. If you are feeling energetic, there are two indoor fitness studios packed with a full roster of classes: you’ll find everything from Hatha and Pilates through to Bollywood, bootcamp, Tai Chi, and a blissful evening candlelit stretch. The same goes for the pool too, where you’ll find classes with intriguing names such as Wild Woggles. The main emphasis at Ragdale Hall is always on rest and relaxation, however. The award-winning Thermal Spa itself features 12 luxurious heat and water experiences, all unique and therapeutic in their own way. Our favourite was The Candle Pool heated to 34ºC, a mosaic cavern with lapping water lit by the flicker of candles and a starlit ceiling (pure heaven!), but there are plenty of others to explore (the Volcanic Salt Bath, Rose Sauna and Colour Flow Zone are all equally wonderful). Then choose from an extensive list of personal treatments from a simple full body massage to more esoteric offers like Hypno-Reiki, a combination of two of the most wonderfully relaxing therapies; deeply soothing and calming to release tension and anxiety on a deeper level.

those thoughts for a while. The Thought Zone - a mosaic room dry heated to 60ºC in the spa - is another place for those inspirational thoughts. Or for a workout of a different kind, visit the Mind Gym. Handheld computers, space age toys, puzzles and a library of books will test your logic, challenge your problem solving skills and boost your brain power. At mealtimes, the emphasis is again healthy, with vegan and other options available, although wine is served in the evenings if required, in keeping with Ragdale’s holistic and ‘real life’ approach to wellbeing. Evening meals are table service, while lunch is served buffet style and breakfast is delivered to your room at

a requested time. There are a number of cafes and bars dotted around the venue as well, where you can choose anything from healthy teas, juices and coffee, to Pimms for those lazy summer days out on the manicured lawn. It’s a lovely venue to lose yourself in, with so many spaces to find a bit of solitude, and where the staff are all too keen to cater for every whim. Just make sure that if you do visit on one of the yoga breaks, you actually make it to class - it’s all too easy to sink into an inviting hammock or pool lounger. Not that anyone will mind really if you do take the snoozy option. We certainly won’t blame you! Find out more at:

Rest up

Afterwards, take time out in one of the many tranquil rest areas, where you can put your feet up with a good book, or shut your eyes for a short snooze. There’s even a silent room if you really want to sink deep into


om travel

To the lighthouse


Be sure the Carbis Bay Hotel & Spa is on your itinerary next time you’re in Cornwall

t’s great finding a new place offering yoga retreats and that’s exactly what’s going on at the Carbis Bay Hotel & Spa ( in Cornwall – except this hotel is far from new. Dating back to 1894, it has an impressive history with some prominent literary names etched into the guestbook. It was here that novelist Virginia Woolf found inspiration for her book To The Lighthouse, gazing out at the Godrevy lighthouse in St Ives Bay. Dubbed one of the most beautiful bays in the world, it’s a setting that likewise inspired Rosamunde Pilcher (the hotel appears as The Sands Hotel in her novels, The Shell Seekers and Winter Solstice), among the countless other guests that have taken in the same view. Set within 125 acres, the estate encompasses a luxury hotel, self-catering properties, two restaurants, spa facilities and its own privately-owned 25 acre Blue Flag beach. The yoga itself takes place in two locations: one inside the comfort of the main hotel, the other closer to the sea in the Beach Club Restaurant. Two-night packages (£399pp) include all yoga sessions, dinner at the award-winning fine dining Sands Restaurant,


Romantic Yoga Getaway

plus unlimited use of all spa facilities. The venue is also happy to host breaks or sessions for teachers looking to run their own retreats. And if you miss any of the yoga retreats, fear not: many guests come here simply to indulge in the blissful surroundings of the C Bay Spa, where you can chill out in the loungers gazing out at the panoramic views or warm up in the heated outdoor poor. Serenity By The Spa (£130) is the incredible 120-minute signature treatment, which will revive every bit of you, head-to-toe. Using luxury products from Aromatherapy Associates and Lava Shells, it commences with exfoliating and massaging the feet and lower legs while soaking in a foot bath infused with essential oils. Afterwards, receive a lava shell massage (natural self-heating shells) on the back of the body and an ayurvedic scalp massage, before finishing with a one hour facial. When you finally emerge from that, spend some time in the Conservatory, with its floor-to-ceiling glass windows offering an unrivalled panoramic setting, and sink into the comfy sofas, while you sip a cup of herbal tea and ponder taking a walk along the coastal path or on the beach below. Whatever the weather (this is Cornwall remember!) it’s always a warm and snuggly feeling inside.


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We’re all in it together

Don’t be afraid of those big, busy studio classes, let’s embrace the community aspect of yoga and celebrate being part of something greater, says Victoria Jackson


y favourite local studio is also - no coincidence, of course – the favourite local studio of lots of other people too. Classes can be busy and we sometimes begin with the teacher playing a game of Tetris with the mats, making sure everyone has enough space to practice safely even if we’re arranged close together. “Is there room for one more lovely yogi?” he sometimes asks, and we all shuffle up again. In the early days I found this a real challenge. I was more used to practicing quietly at home or in a very small group. A busy class was actually quite daunting; I worried about my out-of-tune chanting, that I might drip sweat on my neighbour, whether the person in front of me would kick me in Warrior 3 and what the view from behind was like when we did forward folds. But at some stage these concerns melted away. Now I’ve settled in to the point where the feeling of the group as a whole surpasses my own little anxieties. Definitely not a sublimation of the self, not quite a blissed-out togetherness, but at least an acceptance that we’re all in this together and I might as well enjoy it! Being with other people creates a feeling of being part of something greater. Plus it’s a good opportunity to practice some generous yogic behaviours and look out for one other, rather than selfishly spreading out as much as we might want to. Now as we move through our vinyasas, I picture us as a shoal of fish or a flock of birds, all weaving our own individual movements but forming a single picture. I sometimes wish I could stand up and watch the ripples and waves of arms and legs moving in time across the room. In my mind’s eye we’re so beautiful all together. At the end of class our final Om often has a different quality to the opening chant. It’s as though we’ve all tuned in to one another through our synchronised movements and measured breathing. Now there’s a beautiful harmony. And when I roll up my mat to leave, I gather up any foam blocks I find around me. I no longer know which are mine, which might be my neighbours’. And it doesn’t matter.

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


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