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APRIL 2015 - £4.25

Yoga & hiking


a £950 Italian Retreat

get your boots on


Marathon Mindset give running a mental boost

Yoga Myths




Raw food guide

Yoga for dudes

join the raw revolution

no girls allowed

• • • •

OM Meets – Jason Crandell Up Raw – yummy recipes Yoga A-Z – I is for Iyengar Overcoming Anorexia – a personal tale

Kundalini Lounge Y O G A


Online Yoga Studio

Kundalini Lounge


This online studio was created to share the amazing benefits of Kundalini yoga which will take you to a wonderful and marvelous journey of experiencing your soul and joy of life.

The website is designed to enable you to focus on specific areas of development of your life. It is your journey, you choose the pace you want to practice at.

Kundalini yoga is designed in a way which is easily incorporated in one's daily life. Kundalini Lounge offers yoga meditations, breathing exercises, kriyas and full classes to suit everyone's schedule and you can practice in as little as 3 min or as long as 2 hours. Benefits are tremendous, even with limited timeframe. This website is for people who want to develop a personal practice and cannot join a regular class. It enables you to practice Kundalini Yoga at home, at work or when travelling . It is also suitable for beginners to learn the basic techniques of Kundalini yoga before joining a regular class.



We hope you enjoy this journey. May you come to peace with yourself, connect with the infinite wisdom, live in blissful happiness and true radiance.

May the long time sun shine upon you All love surround you And the pure light within you Guide your way on

OM Magazine Issue 50, April 2015 Published by:

Prime Impact Events & Media Old School, Colchester Road Wakes Colne, Essex, CO6 2BY 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:

Advertising Manager:

Sara Stant 44 (0) 1787 224040 e:

Subscriptions and Back Issues:

Laura Bull 44 (0) 1787 224040 e:

Promotions and Blogger Jane Lambert 44 (0) 1787 224040 Community Manager: e: Marketing/Press:

Hannah Irons 44 (0) 1787 224040 e:

Publishing Director:

Keith Coomber e:

Managing Director:

Julie Saunders e:


Bruce Sawford 44 (0) 1280 860185 e:


Yolanda Arnold 44 (0) 1787 224040 e:

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


Contributors Nina Mel

Nina Mel is a spiritual writer, author, yogi and meditation expert. She stopped teaching group classes two years ago to focus on book writing and providing psychological consultations and creating customised yoga and energy programmes for yoga teachers and other clients. She is the author of several book titles, including ‘The Energetics of Yoga Asanas’, ‘The Unknown Chakras’, ‘The Key’ and ‘Synthesis’. Nina wrote the article, Word Yoga, in this issue of OM. Find out more at:

Nick Seneca Jankel

Nick Seneca Jankel is a breakthrough coach and wisdom teacher who has helped over 50,000 individuals, hundreds of world-class organisations (like Disney, Nike and Pepsi), national governments and millions of TV viewers to ‘switch on’ and break through real challenges. He has a triple first class degree from Cambridge University in medicine and philosophy and is a co-founder of wellbeing, wisdom and world-change community

Corrina Gordon-Barnes

Corrina wants to live in a world where marketing is fun, clients turn up easily, and money flows to those who do work that helps and heals. Through her business, You Inspire Me (, she teaches marketing to self-employed men and women who want to share their gifts and earn a healthy living. She’s also the author of Turn Your Passion to Profit: a step-by-step guide to getting your business off the ground.

Regular contributors:

Siri Arti; Conscious Parenting Lesley Dawn; Life and Loves Corrina Gordon-Barnes; My Yoga Business Paula Hines; Teacher’s Tales Adam Hock; Teacher Speak Jill Lawson; Meditation Of The Month

Denise Leicester; Natural Born Beauty Deb Mac; What’s Your Affirmation Jonathan Schofield; Beginners Blog Sarah Swindlehurst; Yoga Therapy Lexie Williamson; OM Lite

Elizabeth Rowan photographed for the cover of OM Yoga and Lifestyle magazine issue 50 by Raftermen Photography (

Welcome Welcome to the April issue of OM. Inside, as always, we’ve got plenty of great, practical yoga to keep your practice fresh and alive on the mat. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced student, there’s always something for everyone: meditations, healthy recipes, and lots more handy tips to keep your motivation levels high and your stress levels low. If you love the practical yoga in the magazine then be sure to check out the OM app as well. This is continually evolving, but always includes lots of interactive content to help with your practice; it really brings OM magazine to life. There’s additional content linked to many of the other stories and features as well. Gain access to new images and have fun playing with it all. This month, we’ve compiled a list of some amazing ideas and places to go to if you’re looking for a yoga getaway this summer. The weather’s getting warmer, the days are getting longer, so it’s time to think holidays (at least that’s what we’re doing here at OM HQ). Our yoga escapes special report will help you find the right one for you (and, of course, that means the OM app will be loaded with additional holiday imagery as well to help you decide where you want to go). If you’ve never been on a retreat before, it really is a must for any yoga fan. What could be better than escaping for a weekend or a week away doing hours of yoga each and every day, eating super healthy food, and hanging out with some like-minded pals? It’s a fantastic opportunity to reset mind, body and spirit, and to reboot your energy levels. So get yourself a cup of tea, sit back and relax with the latest issue of the UK’s top-selling yoga publication. Get into the holiday vibe with OM. Enjoy some quiet time reading about the incredible world of yoga and all the wonderful, inspiring people doing things to make this planet of ours a better place. Keep doing what you’re doing, guys, you totally rock.

OM in 30 seconds Power, precision, mindfulness: the three things that drive Jason Crandell’s amazing yoga classes OM Meets (page 24)

Start by making a few small changes to keep the yoga retreat vibe going long after you return home (page 54

Firing up your muscles with yoga: a look at what’s really going on inside your body when you’re on the mat (page 74)

This month’s competitions & giveaways Win a very special ‘Eat, Pray and Love’ retreat in Puglia, Italy worth £950 Page 27


Yogamasti Seamless Practice Top – Page 77

Jessica Smith DVDs Page 77

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light” Plato

Plus many more inside… 5

April 2015


OM Regulars 5

Editors Letter


My Secret Place

74 An Inside Job

What’s going on in your body during yoga

76 Free To Be

5 reasons to take the internet off your phone

10 Letters

78 Yoga Therapy: Hypoglycaemia

Practical yoga therapy techniques


Yoga Changed My Life


What’s Your Affirmation


Amazing Spaces


Natural Born Beauty


Planet Yoga

Cover Story


OM Meets... Jason Crandell

Cover Story

27 Competition  Win a £950 Italian retreat

76 The Freedom Man

30 Scorpion King



OM Mind

8 moves into half lotus scorpion handstand

Yoga At Home

77 Giveaways 126 Life And Loves Of A Yoga Teacher 130 OM Lite: The rise of the machines

Cover Story

80 Yoga A-Z

I is for Iyengar

OM FM Cover Story

82 Yoga For Dudes No girls allowed

Disconnect from the digital age

Man On The Mat: Cobra

86 Let’s Get It On:

A meditation for enlivening sexual energy

88 Consciously Creative

Switch on your creativity, and thrive

Cover Story

OM Special

90 Face Your Fears

How yoga pits us against our deepest fears

38 Top Yoga Retreats 2015

25 pages of amazing yoga getaways

OM Body

OM Spirit 92 Word Yoga

How what we say can define our life experiences

64 How To Do Yoga Astavakrasana, baby

Cover Story

68 Marathon Mindset

Cover Story

70 10 Yoga Myths Busted

Give your running a mental boost Exposing the most common yoga myths



Moving Pictures

The art of designer, Simon Waterman

96 Ayurvedic Clinic: Colour therapy


88 38

OM Living Cover Story

98 Raw Food Guide

Cover Story

100 Up Raw

A guide to popular raw food diets Join the raw food revolution

106 Nutrition Zone: Spring detox

Give your liver break

OM Family 108 Little Yogis Helping children with cancer 110 Conscious Parenting

Don’t lose that loving feeling

111 Yoga & Aromatherapy


Grapefruit oil

OM Actions 112 My Yoga Business: What’s in a name How to name your yoga business

114 Teacher Tales

Perfectly imperfect

115 Teacher Speak Activate the core


116 Dream The (Im)Possible Dream How to be a yoga rockstar, part 2

Cover Story


118 Overcoming Anorexia

Nathalie Doswald’s journey back to wellness

OM Travel Cover Story

120 Yoga & Hiking Head to the hills

124 Escape To The Country

A weekend yoga retreat in Ironbridge

28 Subscription Subscribe today to OM Magazine and receive 5 FREE Ombar Chocolate Bars*


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My secret place Location Hartham Park, Hertfordshire, England Yogi Abi McClymont Photo Fabian Velez This photo was taken at the beautiful Hartham Park in Hertfordshire near to where yoga teacher, Abi McClymont, takes her weekly classes. It’s a place of significance for her. “It’s where I come to practice yoga and create my monthly lesson plans.” she says. The park is full of vibrant life, with families enjoying days out, but it also has parts that are tranquil and beautiful. “It captures the very essence of yoga perfectly and really inspires and influences my own classes.”


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Word up

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


Ethical Yoga Clothing Ethical Yoga Clothing

HINGG OTHIN CLOT GA CL yOGA ALyO HICAL ETHIC ET Why pay more for ethical yoga kit? Simple: you’ll be helping to save the planet and keep your karma intact. By Martin D. Clark


selfoga is an inner journey, a time of mention exploration, of spirituality, not to and a great way to tone up body, mind way to soul. It’s also a lot of fun and a great about make new friends. It’s certainly not trivial things like fashion. Or is it? pants yoga of popularity The seemingly universal although the these days might suggest otherwise, off show to them – motives behind some people buying questionable. But their great butt – might be somewhat there’s a lot more to it than that. you that yoga Ask any yoga teacher and they’ll tell the mat, but more isn’t confined to our moments on in our lives. In moments and decisions everyday in the yoga, each and every other words, it’s about living your hour is one thing; day. Doing asana on the mat for an expressing kindness, showing up moment-by-moment, through the day, gratitude, and other higher emotions quite another. both to ourselves and to others, is purchasing decisions. And that concept extends to our mean following a When it comes to food, that could cruelty to animals, in plant-based diet, one that banishes (non violence). keeping with the principles of ahimsa but there’s a clear Not all yogis are vegans, of course, path as the tendency to follow a healthier nutritional just means ditching yoga journey unfolds, even if that opting for more organic the Big Macs at the beginning, or produce from trusted farm sources. too. In the fashion It’s true in other areas of our lives aligned with stakes, that means supporting businesses those that support similar higher ideals, for example, or source only poor communities, charitable concerns, the purest of materials.

Flight to quality

yoga converts (or just Unless you’re one of those naked to wear something a born exhibitionist), then we all have it something that in our yoga class. So why not make that be local goes toward helping others, whether charities, or the planet at large. for some highIt’s not an indulgence to pay more change end yoga kit that delivers transformational these are poor Often, among those that help to make it. communities in India, yoga’s birthplace.

yoga for fair trade, sweatshop-free brands why it’s better to opt We asked a few ethical clothing said: high street. Here’s what they wear rather than buy it off the are being made and more aware of how products “We see a trend of people becoming This is something that makes that fits their values and standards. consciously choosing whether the reality we live in, in all aspects.” us happy, because it will shape m) urban Goddess ( in luxury layered basics and we believe an investment “We are not cheap or mass-produced, out.” you feel good from the inside and sculptural styles will make EKO Womenswear (earthkindoriginal

and do the same activities [yoga] our customers’ needs, as we process.” “We care about and understand in detail every aspect of the When we design, we consider address the same concerns. ) Emma nissim ( value money. As simple as that.” human beings more than we “It’s simply because we value Malaika (

a far higher Not only that, but you’ll end up with together with love, quality garment, and one stitched produced gear from an rather than cheaply-made mass anonymous supplier. and pick up Yes, you can nip down the high street of the price, but this some cheap sportswear for a snip chains. Be supply global may well come from dubious into the making of honest, do you really know what went your current yoga gear? brand Urban Marlene Smits, creator of yoga fashion ultimately come Goddess, believes that cheaper goods cheap, someone at a higher price. “If a product is too ered for it,” she says. somewhere along the line has suff in our global Let’s face it, the lack of transparency appalling factory supply chains can be disturbing: widespread use conditions, industrial-scale farming,

of pesticides. home, but at It may mean cheap prices for us back conditions for what cost overall? Sweatshop factory production, or impoverished workers, toxic agricultural worse. It doesn’t really smack of ‘yoga’. in a social and “To produce something that is ethical who have good environmental way, made by people they do, is the best working conditions and love what politically, way to support a healthy world, economically, Smits. environmentally and humanly,” says you’re option, street And, if you do opt for the high shareholders simply lining the pockets of institutional

pension funds, the - the wealthy investment banks and stores - and further people that ultimately own these chain. underpin the current global supply (or food, or anything When you buy your kit from them simply gets fed back else for that matter) your money is sustained. into the machine, and that demand family Independent retailers like London-based differently. The business, Emma Nissim, do things and stylish company offers high quality, handprinted and socially yoga wear through sustainable production positive action. to researching “We are very proactive when it comes impact minimum have that ones select our fabrics; we whilst ensuring on the planet and on the workers, says designer the highest quality for our customers,” Emma Nissim. in some proper So buck the trend, be a rebel: go invest people who care so yoga wear, the stuff that’s made by you do. passionately about the same things so too will the Your karma will love you for it and that will see genuine communities in India and elsewhere transformation as a result. you buy is a “Each organic, fair trade product Pilowsky of yoga statement,” says Malaika Kremerman a bit more but the fashion label Malaika. “It might cost no price tag when price is ultimately lower, since there’s for our planet. The it comes to human beings or caring change is here, be a part of it.”


03/02/2015 15:20:05 OM_49UK.indd 39 03/02/2015 15:20:04

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Marvelous Maya

Great to read your article about Maya Fiennes (issue 49, March 2015). She is one of my favourite teachers. Keep up the good work. G Levy, by email


Send your letters to OM Letters, Prime Impact, Old School, Colchester Road, Wakes Colne, Colchester, Essex, CO6 2BY

Email us at: Tweet us your thoughts: @OMYogaMagazine Write on our wall:


What you said about us on social media



Community relations

Having read OM each month for nearly two years now, I always find it full of helpful advice: not just the yoga, of course, but all of the recipe ideas, news and other features. One of the best things for me, personally, is that it makes me feel a part of a wider yoga community, which is really important. I often struggle to get to class (because of health issues), plus I don’t live in a large city, so it’s really nice to read what’s going on elsewhere. It can sometimes feel quite isolating, but reading OM is a great way to stay connected, especially when it’s not possible to make it to class one week. Anne Reynolds, by email

I found your ethical clothing report (in your March issue) interesting. I have to say I am not the most adventurous person when it comes to yoga wear. I’m certainly a little more conservative (and full of figure) than some of the models featured. Whilst I’m unlikely to be buying the latest hot yoga pants made from recycled plastic bottles, I do find it inspiring knowing that there are so many creative yoga entrepreneurs out there following their passion. It’s all too easy to be critical of seeing more beautiful yoga people in expensive outfits, but the message behind it all can be valid too. It just shows how wonderfully creative yoga people can be. And if these companies are raising money for charity projects in the process then surely that has to be a good thing? Janet Harper, by email

Reading Om Yoga encourages me to further develop  and explore my own yoga journey and respect and understand other yogi’s journeys too. Suzanne Taylor Work down; yoga out! Time to have a quick read of  #omyogamagazine before my yoga class @EleanorMaycC

Send in your letters to OM Yoga and Lifestyle for your chance to WIN! Next issues Letter of the Month will win: A copy of The Great Vegan Protein Book by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes. RRP £14.99

Karuna living with compassion

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Yoga changed my life Yoga helped Kellie Jones to find her true purpose in life Name

Kellie Jones

Age 44


Pilates & Yoga Studio Owner

Yoga Years 13

Why did you start yoga

I’d been a dancer all my life but injury cut my career short. I’d ended up working in gyms teaching Pilates, trying to conform to a normal, married Essex life, but always feeling something was missing. I started Sivananda Yoga in a village hall and it was from there I started my journey towards my true purpose.

How has yoga changed your life

Through yoga and meditation I gained confidence and clarity. It was clear my rebellious soul was not satisfied with my situation, so I took an opportunity to start my own Pilates studio in a small room (and took my yoga teacher with me). That was 12 years ago. Now I am single, have two beautiful studios, a business partner, an awesome team and an unconventional lifestyle I love.

Favourite yoga haunts

Obviously I love my own studio ( but I try to go to other studios when possible for fresh ideas and a break from responsibility. The Yoga Tree and Sweat Hot Yoga in Seattle hold really powerful healing memories for me and I’ve just had a lovely experience cocoon napping at Ethos in Cambridge.

Best yoga moment

Apart from that moment you first float into a handstand and don’t collapse, it has to be when we have a yoga tent at music festivals. If I can combine my passions (music and yoga) I am a truly happy yogi. One year, we had salute to the disco ball, two DJ’s and a massage conga.

What else

After 15 years teaching Pilates and keeping my yoga just for me, I’ve finally got the calling to deepen my knowledge. I’m inspired by the likes of Tara Stiles, Sadie Nardini and Erin Motz so I’ll probably end up in New York or Seattle to do my teacher training. I’ve just dipped my toe into the world of music promotion too, and have sung live, so my true self has definitely emerged. Yoga is so cool.

OM4_JAN15_184X123V1_SO:Layout 1


3:01 PM

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A Yo ccre ga di te US Allia d b A nc y e

Jason Crandell power, precision + mindfulness: a 300 hour advanced teacher training 3 modules: starts april 2015 Advance your practice. Find your purpose. Share your voice.

at triyoga soho


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Park life

Get yourself down to London’s Royal Parks this spring for an outdoor yoga boost


here’s a yoga and wellbeing theme running at London’s Royal Parks this springtime. Top yoga instructors, including Mercedes Ngoh Sieff and Rachel Okimo, will be hosting various evening sessions to get you in the mood for summer. There’ll also be mindfulness events and healthy eating meet-ups too. Escape the stress of the city, get some fresh air and pick up some healthy living tips along the way.

Wellbeing dates for the diary:

MARCH 30: Yoga & Raw Food Supper Club (a mix of Vinyasa flow led by Yeotown founder Mercedes Ngoh Sieff, followed by a three course vegetarian feast) APRIL 13: Mandala Flow Yoga Workshop (intermediate level workshop from Rachel Okimo, guaranteed to uplift, motivate and move you)


APRIL 27: Seasonal Eating: Springtime Workshop (learn how to select the finest raw foods to boost vitality and energy, and make you feel amazing, with health coach Chantal Di Donato) MAY 11: Introduction to Mindfulness (an inspirational session around mindfulness with yoga teacher Mercedes Ngoh Sieff) Other workshops and events on offer include photography sessions, celebrating bird song and spooky bat walks in the evening. In case you don’t know, there are eight Royal Parks: Bushy Park, The Green Park, Greenwich Park, Richmond Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, The Regent’s Park (with Primrose Hill) and St James’s Park. Why not visit them all?

Check the website for details:

Why Online Yoga Teaching ? OYT empowers you to practice high caliber yoga, on your time, whenever you see fit. Each class is carefully designed for an optimal learning experience. From India to your living room. Learn the techniques of mastery. Experience an authentic immersion in the subtleties of Yoga.

VERSATI LI T Y Whether you are looking to relax for five minutes or sweat for an hour. We offer a class to fit your schedule

C ONVE N I E NCE Practice in the comfort of your space. Your own schedule. Your own pace.

and needs.

CRE DI BI L I T Y Techniques as taught in India without travelling further than your home. Founded on over two decades of practice, teaching and studying.

Deepen your knowledge. Inspire your postures. Awaken to Purpose.

on lin ey oga t e a c h in g. c om

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05/12/2014 12:30


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OM Yoga & Lifestyle magazine celebrates 50th issue

his month, OM Yoga & Lifestyle magazine celebrates its 50th birthday (that’s 50 issues, not 50 years!). It’s hard to believe that almost six years have now gone by since we launched our very first issue back in 2009 at the Yoga Show in London (now the OM Yoga Show). Hands up if you remember that issue (the only one so far to feature a man on the front cover)? In the years since, we’ve gone on to become (by far) the top-selling yoga title in the UK of all yoga publications (and that includes both UK-based and international yoga titles). So a big thank you to all our readers and supporters through the years for being a part of that amazing success. We’ve always tried to keep yoga accessible to all, and that’s why OM continues to reach out to so many people: teachers, students, even non-yogis. This is a community, after all, so why shouldn’t everyone be included? But our success going forward still depends on you, our readers. So don’t be shy about telling us what you think or what you’d like to see in the magazine in the future. We’re all ears.

Let us know what you’d like more of in OM, and what you’d like less of. Don’t worry, you won’t hurt our feelings, we’re just happy to hear from you. Write to:


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What’s your affirmation?

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

An affirmation for focus, clarity and simplifying your life. By Deb Mac “I am keeping it simple” No one can focus at their optimum level amongst clutter, whether that be of the physical, emotional or mental kind. Are you willing to let go of those things that hold you back? Are you raring to go throwing out the old junk, or letting go of the angst and pain of yesterday? Maybe you’re not too sure where to start so you freeze, you come to a standstill, you revert back to old habits of consumerism for the sake of it: of over-spending, or holding on to old hurts, or (fill in the blank) because it feels the ‘norm’ – even though it doesn’t feel freeing and spacious and vibrant. It’s okay. Simplifying can feel so complex (paradoxically); making things harder for ourselves can often be so much easier to do. After all, we do it by default with the limiting beliefs that we hold on to. Just be willing to let go of those limiting beliefs, and start where you are with small steps in the direction of your new vision. Clear the path gradually with this simple affirmation and ask yourself often, ‘Am I really keeping it simple?’ If the answer is ‘no’ then you know there’s something that you need to let go of. Clear out your wardrobe, sort some paperwork, clean out the fridge, take a look at your relationships, clean up your thoughts. Bring yourself back to the present moment, and just breathe into the now. Remember, our external world is just a reflection of our internal world. Life can be simple when we simply decide to let go of stale, stuck stagnant energy; when we decide to simplify. Know that you are enough, you have enough, and that you will always ‘be’ enough.

2-YEAR TEACHER TRAINING COURSE (BWY accreditation, Yoga Alliance US and Yoga Alliance UK 200-hour certification) Start date: 24 April 2015 at Commonwork, near Sevenoaks, Kent, UK

ONGOING TEACHER TRAINING (50-hour study immersions, hours eligible towards Yoga Alliance UK/US 500-hour upgrades) 8–18 April 2015 Yin and Yang Yoga Immersion at Desa Seni, Bali, Indonesia

15–22 June 2015 Yin and Restorative Yoga at Huzur Vadisi, Gocek, Turkey

ANATOMY & ASANA WITH JULIE GUDMESTAD 13–17 May 2015 Yogacampus, London

By Deb Mac (

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Amazing spaces

Stylish and inspiring studio design ideas and interiors Red Hot Yoga, Guildford, UK Red Hot Yoga was opened in 2011 by Clarissa Robertson and Nick Ord. The pair wanted to create a beautiful and inviting yoga space in the heart of Guildford, Surrey that offered something for everyone. They started with a hot yoga studio, after teaching it for 10 years in other studios around the world, offering a variety of classes for all abilities (including their signature ‘Red Hot’ class). In 2013, a second floor was opened at the studio, offering three more yoga rooms. Red Hot Yoga is now a truly multidiscipline yoga venue offering over 80 classes a week in 20 different styles. It’s a beautiful, fully equipped space, populated by a wonderful community of teachers, staff and students; a joyful place to practice or to just ‘be’.


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om beginnings Natural Born Beauty

Cellular beauty Tune into the divine within to find your true gorgeous. By Denise Leicester I love this quote from Abraham Hicks: “Your sophisticated physical body exists because of the intelligence of your cells. And the intelligence of your cells exists because of their connection to source energy.” It’s a profound reminder that the source of true beauty and perfection lies within us, not outside us. It reminds us that there is a loving and caring intelligence and resource readily available to us, wherever we are and whatever we may be experiencing. And that by keeping aligned with and open to this energy, we are able to overcome any imbalance we may experience within. Our lives can become a reflection of this inner state of harmony and beauty by consciously connecting and embracing this truth on a daily basis. Staying connected and trusting in this truth, however, is not always that easy, especially as life magnetises us in an outer spiral away from source energy. My own attempts at daily balance always bring me back to a very simple meditation


practice, or taking time for inner relaxation and connection. Over the years, it has become an ingrained part of my twice daily ‘beauty’ routine: an accessible and deeply nurturing practice that can profoundly calm the mind and allow the necessary time to strengthen, trust and be guided by the connection of radiant beauty within. The simplest technique I know is Anapanasati: conscious breathing, or following the flow of the breath in and out, keeping aware of the pauses between inhalation and exhalation. In the ancient Indian language of Pali, ‘Ana’ means breathing in, ‘Apana’ means breathing out, and ‘Sati’ means awareness or mindfulness. It’s an incredibly simple process that has a profoundly positive effect on all the cells throughout the body: deeply oxygenating the bloodstream; helping to reduce stress; boosting immunity; and allowing the universe’s infinite cosmic intelligence to flood every fibre of our being. Sounds too good to be true? Give it a try.

Conscious Beauty

As part of your beauty routine, create a space each morning and evening to consciously connect. For me, the best time is either after a bath or shower, or once I have applied my creams or oils. Start with just five minutes, with the intention of building up to 15. Aroma can help begin to calm your thoughts. Try Mediation Mists from Spa Kitchen ( Start by bringing your awareness to your breathing, observing the rhythm of your breath as you inhale, the pause in your breath before you exhale, and the pause before your next inhalation. If thoughts arise, just quietly acknowledge them before letting them go, then gently bring your awareness back to following your breath. Within 2-3 minutes your mind will feel calmer and you will be on the way to establishing a deep and beautiful inner connection.

Denise Leicester is the founder of


taste hero

sugars zero Discover a new taste. And why not even two? Taste the first organic plant-based alternatives to yogurt made with almond and coconut. Soya-Almond combines the delicious, subtle taste of organic almonds and the creaminess of organic soya. Soya-Coconut blends the refreshing, exotic taste of organic coconut with all the goodness of organic soya. And what is more, they are both free from sugars. Explore the countless culinary possibilities. Free up your creative spirit, take a photo of your recipes, and share your creations on Instagram with #provamel.

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




Call the fashion police

Montana lawmaker David ‘Doc’ Moore found himself at the centre of a media storm recently amid a supposed desire to ban yoga pants and other tight fitting garments. “Yoga pants should be illegal in public,” he quipped to one reporter. But the state representative has since played down the reports, which stemmed from a failed attempt to pass a bill forbidding Montanans from public nudity and the wearing of revealing or provocative clothing (beige yoga pants, in particular, were called into question). What do you think: are yoga pants a threat to public decency?


Beer mats

Is that a yoga mat on your back? Nope, it’s time to party! Meet the Mountainsmith Cooler Tube, sneakily packed with six chilled beer cans. Whatever your (strange) motivations, if you want to look like you’re on your way to a yoga class, but secretly you’re heading out for a party, then this could well be for you. Just don’t get it muddled up with your real yoga bag. Imagine the puzzled looks you’ll get when other students roll out their mats and you spill half a dozen beer cans all over the studio floor. That would just be embarrassing.

om beginnings Sterling effort

Liverpool FC’s young super striker Raheem Sterling is the latest yoga convert among the Premier League’s soccer elite. The English starlet is now performing the exercises that helped Welsh international soccer ace Ryan Giggs play at the top level until he was 40. “I’ve started yoga but it’s nothing like I thought it would be,” Sterling said. “They’ve got me doing press-ups and stuff like that; I thought it was more for meditation.” The speedy winger is among the latest crop of Anfield talent that helped the Merseyside team finish second in the league last season.

9th-16th September 2015 with Alan Sweetingham and special guest tutor Elly Upton

Hong Kong

Church says ‘no’

A church in Bristol has banned a yoga class from using its hall because of links with ‘alternative spiritualities’. The church council told yoga instructor Naomi Hayama in a letter that yoga’s roots “lie in thinking that is not compatible with the Christian faith”. Church leaders at St Michael and All Angels in Bristol say the primary use of its buildings is “the worship of God” and have instructed Hayama to find new premises. “Yoga means the union of ‘mind, body and spirit. By definition, therefore, yoga is a spiritual activity whose roots are not Christ-centred,” the church said. Hayama, who has used the hall for nine years, said church leaders have never observed one of her classes.

Record breakers

A Hong Kong-based Indian yoga instructor has set a new Guinness World Record by performing yoga continuously for 40 hours non-stop. The 29-year-old teacher, Yogaraj CP, did multiple yoga twists and turns throughout the day, demonstrating more than 1,500 asanas, at his Tsim Sha Tsui studio, Prana Yogam, which was open to the public for the duration of the challenge. The record breaker started practicing yoga at the age of five and began teaching when he was just 12. He was congratulated on his achievement by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

We invite you to join us on a fabulous week of Yoga to the exotic island of Djerba, with its mysterious blend of Mediterranean and North African culture at the ‘Sentido Djerba beach hotel’ on Djerba Island, situated off the coast of Tunisia. Cost: · £695 Per Person sharing a twin/double room · £795 Per Person single room The price is inclusive of flights and transfers, 7 nights accommodation, all drinks and dining, plus all Yoga and entertainment at the hotel. A non-refundable deposit of £150.00 per person is required to secure a place. You will be sent confirmation of place, subject to availability.

Email: Phone: 07891527375

om beginnings

OM meets...

Jason Crandell


om beginnings Power, precision, mindfulness: that’s the magic formula that has made America’s Jason Crandell one of the world’s most sought after teachers I started practicing in January 1996, aImost 20 years ago I was studying philosophy in college and I needed one final credit to graduate. My girlfriend suggested that we try yoga and, honestly, I couldn’t have been more averse. In addition to being an athlete, I had been a skateboarder since I was a little kid. I identified with skateboards, punk rock, and other counter-cultural elements; to some degree I still do which has always made me feel a little odd in the yoga community. But, ultimately, I think this identification has helped me maintain a healthy perspective on the modern yoga community because I have strong critical thinking skills and I’ve never taken (or given) instructions without questioning their veracity. It may have been this early skepticism that made the practice so transformative for me. I was taken aback by how powerful the practice was. After each class I felt incredible. I felt calm, grounded and focused - three things that I desperately needed in my life. I was inspired by the clarity, focus and skill of my teachers Specifically, the way that they moved their body with articulation and how they could see an entire room of students and provide sharp, nuanced instructions to so many individuals. A teacher’s job is to see their students, not entertain their students. This craft is getting lost as more and more teachers are focused on ‘wowing’ their students with


om beginnings “After each class I felt incredible. I felt calm, grounded and focused – three things that I desperately needed in my life.” frequency that I do. For me, the key is that I modulate the intensity of my practice to meet the demands of my daily life. If I’m exhausted from travel or teaching a training, my daily practice is quite, contemplative and gentle. If I’m going through an easy period in my schedule and I have more energy, I push my limits a little more strongly. The most important thing you do as a teacher is develop your own home practice Here’s why: it’s where you refine your ability to listen to your body, learn to create your sequences and hone your discipline. Your home practice is your lab to keep things fresh, playful and interesting – and authentic. Your home practice is also where you digest and sort out the teachings you’ve received from others. If you don’t do this you won’t develop your own ways of expressing them.

demonstrations and photographs in social media, instead of developing the skills to see their students and understand their needs. Of course, I was also inspired by the fact that I felt better every time I practiced. The physical aspects of the practice were challenging for me because I was so tight, but every time I left class I felt better than I did before class. When you teach anything for long enough, you develop a point of view I teach vinyasa yoga, but I use the tagline: Power + Precision + Mindfulness. This represents my point of view as a teacher. ‘Power’ implies that I teach a dynamic, strength building practice rooted in vinyasa yoga.

‘Precision’ means I focus on the technical elements that make the postures safe, efficient, and effective. ‘Mindfulness’ states that my teaching is rooted in contemplative practices that help us create more honesty, comfort, and compassion with ourselves and others. I have many memorable yoga moments One that comes to mind is teaching my first class. It was a level 1, Introduction to Ashtanga class. There were two people. One of them had never practiced yoga before. The other had been practicing for over 10 years, was working on the third series, and was simply visiting the studio to ‘check out the scene’ since she had just moved to San Francisco from Los Angeles. I was at such a loss, but I ploughed through. Teaching and practicing are the centrepieces of my life My daughter is almost three, so all of my free time is spent cleaning up the house! Seriously, I don’t think of my practice, my teaching and the rest of my life as separate categories. They’re all inextricably tied together for me. I feel extremely fortunate to have set my life up to be able to practice and teach with the


I’m currently focused on creating more online training content Although I’m continuing to teach live classes, workshops and trainings – including an advanced training in London at Triyoga in London in April and August – I’m focused on creating more online training content. I’ve been traveling pretty heavily for over 10 years and the truth is that I don’t have incredible wanderlust. I want to spend more time at home with my family and local community. Yet, I don’t want to lose the engagement that I already have with students around the world. I have two online training programmes already and students love them. I’m currently building three new programmes that will roll out later in 2015 and early 2016. We’re building an educational platform online that allows teachers from around the world to enhance their knowledge and skill on their own timeline – and, at lower cost for an equivalent amount of educational hours in the classroom. Of course, I’ll continue teaching at studios around the world because nothing replaces face-to-face interactions with students. But, my ambitions are to continue working with a global student base while accruing less airline mileage status.

For more information on Jason Crandell visit:

om beginnings

Competition Win a very special ‘Eat, Pray and Love’ retreat in Puglia, Italy worth £950

On this retreat you can expect a friendly and warm welcome from the chillout sisters and their friends, so prepare to enjoy what one review called “a little bit of heaven”. Chillout Retreats is a unique family-run business that offers you the opportunity to relax, revive and restore yourself in the most breath taking and beautiful locations in the UK and abroad. Its expert, specialist team offer unique and bespoke weekend to week-long holidays. They can suit any budget and have been voted by the Saturday Independent as ‘one of the best value spa breaks’. Its philosophy is that wellness starts from within.

“Chillout Retreats are fast becoming the market leaders in specialist holistic and fitness holidays in the UK and abroad. It’s a family-run business with goodness, love and integrity at its heart” The Guardian, 2014

Closing date: 17th April 2015 Terms and conditions apply. Please see website for more information

The winning package includes:

l A luxurious twin room (upgrades available) l Detoxifying  superfood cuisine, snacks, wellness juices, wheatgrass shots, hot drinks and refreshments l Many  yoga and Pilates classes from which you can choose l Many  guided meditation and mindful relaxation sessions l A one-hour holistic spa treatment l Inclusive  creative self-discovery and cooking workshops l Mediterranean  gardens and comfortable chillout areas to unwind in l The  facilities on-site include a swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, luxury accommodation and a setting within breath taking Italian grounds.

For more information visit, email or freephone 0800 078 7944.

To enter please go to 27

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om beginnings

Scorpion King 8 moves into half lotus scorpion handstand. By Isaac Pena




In this first posture, I stack two blocks: one on the low height, one on the high. Depending on how tall you are or how open your upper spine is, you may need to adjust the blocks lower. With legs fully extended, I lay back over the support with my shoulder blades and heart open, with my breath calm and easy.

This pose is two-fold: I first interlock my hands around the back of my head to support the weight, which not only helps me to breathe, but also opens up my shoulders. The key here is to keep hugging the elbows in to align the muscles properly for the stretch instead of just letting them splay out wide.

om beginnings


While elevating the hips with blocks, get the hips high while keeping the head, neck, and shoulders comfortably on the floor. Tuck one foot next to you far enough to feel the stretch along the front of the thigh and keep the foot and ankle long, but comfortable.

4 A more advanced version of this opener would be to pull the opposite knee into the body while comfortably maintaining the balance. Move slow enough so that balance is never really the issue.

5 Come into pigeon pose with your hips as square as possible. As you draw your back foot in towards you, try to have an equal feeling of lifting the heart as the foot comes closer.

“Before going into a deep or advanced pose, it’s nice to open things back up”


om beginnings


This pose is a bit tricky or can be awkward to get into but feels wonderful, (I promise). You can start in downward facing dog. Hook one foot into the hip in half lotus, and then slowly swing forward into cobra keeping the half lotus position opening the front of the hip.

7 Before going into a deep or advanced pose, it’s nice to open things back up. Here, I am coming back through down dog split and just enjoying the opening found in the front of my hip. The key here is to keep the shoulders as square as possible while trying to get the opening in the front of the hip.


To do this final posture, you should have some proficiency in handstand. Since it is a variation of scorpion, it demands a bit more flexibility than a straight handstand, but is easier to balance (than a handstand) because the centre of gravity is lower. From handstand, slide one foot down the front of the hips towards half lotus, then tilt the hips backwards while equally bringing the head and chest forward towards the scorpion pose.

Sequence: Isaac Pena ( Photos:


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OM INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY 21st June, 2015 Sunrise – Sunset Alexandra Palace, London, N22 7AY

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om beginnings

Beginner Ustrasana INTRODUCTION: Ustrasana is a heart opening pose which brings length across the front of the body by stretching the hip flexors (psoas), thighs, chest and neck. It will also strengthen your glutes and back muscles. Avoid practicing Ustrasana if you have a neck, back or knee injury, as well as during pregnancy. If you struggle with insomnia, back bends are best practiced in the morning. INSTRUCTIONS: Come into a kneeling position with the knees hip-width apart, thighs perpendicular to the mat and shins parallel to each other. You may place a folded blanket beneath the knees for additional support. Place your hands at the back of your pelvis, with the palms of the hands pressing into the top of your buttocks and your finger tips


pointing down. Press your feet down into the mat, internally rotate your hips and softly engage your glutes. As you inhale roll your shoulders back and expand through the chest, as you arch your back. Continue to offer support to the lower back, with each inhale lift the chest and with each exhale draw further back. Keep the thighs above the knees and stay active in your legs. If you are comfortable here, you may release the hands and hold onto your heels; alternatively keep the hands at the base of the spine. Another option is to curl the toes under before entering the pose – this elevates the heels making them more accessible to reach. Remain in the pose for 5 to 10 breaths. To exit, bring the hands back to the back of the pelvis. Engage your legs, press you feet down and lift your chest. Take rest in child’s pose.

om beginnings

Intermediate Laghu Vajrasana INTRODUCTION: Laghu Vajrasana continues with the expansion created in Ustrasana through the heart center. It increases the flexibility of the spine and the strength of the abdominal muscles and quadriceps. Only perform Laghu Vajrasana once you are comfortable in Ustrasana. INSTRUCTIONS: Come into a kneeling position with the knees hip-width apart, as if you were entering Ustrasana. Bring the hands to the back of the pelvis, as

you inhale lift the chest and take the hands to the back of the thighs slowly lowering the head back. Continue to draw the pelvis forward as you straighten into your arms. Initially, your head may lower all the way down to the mat; over time, keep the head hovering just above the mat, so that your head is light. Remain here for 5 full breaths. To exit the pose, push your hands into your legs, engage strongly through your quadriceps and core, and rise up on the inhalation. Exiting this pose is challenging and may take some practice.


om beginnings

Advanced Kapotasana INTRODUCTION: Kapotasana is a deep back bend which should only be performed once you are comfortable with Ustrasana and Laghu Vajrasana. It stretches the front of the body and strengthens the back muscles. Kapotasana improves posture and stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck. Avoid practicing Kapotasana if you have a neck, back or knee injury, as well as during pregnancy. INSTRUCTIONS: Come into a kneeling position with the knees hip-width apart, as if you were entering Ustrasana. Draw your hands together into prayer and bow your chin in towards your chest. As you inhale lift your chest and

Courtesy of StudioLiveTV Photos: Kim Bryde for StudioLiveTV


as you exhale draw your shoulders back, slowly lowering your head back. Engage your quadriceps and continue to internally rotate your hips. Allow yourself to slowly move back into the posture, with each inhalation lift your chest, with each exhalation draw further back. Reach your arms overhead and place your hands on the floor, with your finger pointing towards your toes. Continue to lift through your chest, staying strong into the legs and walk the hands in towards the heels. Press your elbows down into the mat. Stay here for 5 full breaths. To exit the pose, release your heels, and place your palms flat onto the mat. Straighten into your arms. Engage strongly through your quadriceps and core, and rise up on the inhalation. Rest in child’s pose.

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om holiday special 2015


om holiday special 2015

TOP 2015

YOGA RETREATS Pack your bags: 25 pages of amazing yoga holidays to inspire you on your journey


Be exhilarated by surfing, skiing, snowboarding, hiking, diving, exploring: energised by yoga and invigorated by delicious vitality foods.

om holiday special 2015 Santorini, Greece

After successfully running yoga retreats and holidays for over eight years, Adventure Yogi has now introduced Santorini, Greece to its list of destinations worldwide. If you haven’t been there before, Santorini is one of those destinations that just has to be done. The location, Oia, is truly breathtaking, providing a relaxing setting to unwind on the mat and enjoy incredible sunsets at the end of the day. The yoga retreat itself takes place at a beautiful hotel set amongst vineyards and gardens, and on the edge of one of the world’s largest volcanoes. Yoga is twice a day under the watchful eye of senior yoga instructor Wenche Beard. Lots of other activities too. Experience the thrill of a day sailing around the Aegean, or explore the corals and walks on the island. In the evenings, discover the local tavernas or head out for some sunset wine tasting. July 1-8, 2015 £699 (yoga, B&B, dinner first night, excursions extra but highly recommended. Book flights early to avoid more costly flights)

Yoga holidays and retreats designed to be as active or as relaxed as you want so you can enjoy every minute of your precious time off.

Coming soon… Easter retreats: Detox in Oxford, Wellbeing in Norfolk, Surf in Cornwall


Summer retreats: Santorini (Greece), 1–8 July Alpine Adventures, 8–15 August With 45 retreats and holidays to choose from in 2015 check our website for more info. or call 01273 782734


om holiday special 2015

Tuscany, Italy

Put the ‘holiday’ back into yoga holiday: this is one for those who want to go from working hard in yoga, to being utterly spoiled. Join hot yoga pioneer Michele Pernetta for a fun-packed Fierce Grace retreat in Tuscany, Italy. You’ll be taken on a journey through the five interconnected Fierce Grace classes, accessible to all levels. Work through the different classes, building depth and intensity as the week progresses. After the yoga sessions, relax, swim, have a massage, eat delicious Italian food, and enjoy a glass of wine (or two) with dinner on the terrace or a movie night in the home cinema, complete with Italian ice cream and breathtaking views. Retreat also includes trips to the surrounding areas, Cortona, a bustling market and restaurants. July 16-23, 2015 £995


om holiday special 2015 Majorca, Spain

Sardinia Yoga is branching out to Majorca in the beautiful Balearics this month with a retreat led by acclaimed acroyoga teacher Jaqui Wan. No, you don’t need to be an acrobat to enjoy it; you might be surprised how far you can get after a week’s fun, supportive tuition, though. Guests will be based at a family-owned four-star hotel right by the beach. The Hotel Cala d’Or, which opened in the 1930s, is the only hotel in this quiet bay. The yoga space is in front of the hotel, shaded, and right by the beach. As well as two hours of yoga every morning, enjoy the local artisan market, boat trips to spectacular caves, walks to the park and along the coast, cycling, massage and an abundance of restaurants and cafes all within five minutes’ walk. April 11-18, 2015 Cost: £450 per person sharing or £610 for single occupancy (7 nights including en-suite accommodation, daily yoga, light pre-yoga snack, brunch every day and dinner in the hotel on Monday night)

YOGA BEACH HOLIDAYS IN ITALY AND SPAIN • Open from Easter to September • 4-star hotels • relaxed social vibe • short breaks from £250 per person ‘... the perfect balance of yoga and the odd glass of wine ...” - Amanda ‘... the most relaxing week I ever experienced in my life ...” - Corinna


om holiday special 2015

YOGA HOLIDAY RETREATS & TOURS IN SOUTH INDIA Leave your guidebook behind and let us show you parts of India off the tourist map. Hatha, Jivamukti, Scaravelli, Embodied Mindfulness courses – choose your dates and teachers to journey within. +44 208 449 3556

Tenerife, Spain

Dive into a Yoga Vibe holiday at the beautiful and tranquil Colonial House on ‘the island of eternal spring’, where the winters are gloriously warm and the summers are oh so gorgeous. Enjoy twice daily yoga and sunny savasana, complemented by a nutritious, delicious and environmentally conscious meal plan. Plenty of optional activities here too: surfing, paragliding, trekking, cycling or just exploring the beauty of Tenerife. Private yoga holidays also available. Or drop into any of the regular group Yoga Vibe classes within the beautiful sports centres and outside overlooking the ocean. Sept 2015


om holiday special 2015

Cornwall, England

Cornwall is the perfect place to escape to and immerse yourself in a luxury yoga weekend. Phil Aston has been running Yoga at Work weekends at luxury spa hotels since 2004. Each hotel has been handpicked for its breathtaking location, award winning restaurant and fantastic spa facilities. The team of yoga teachers has also been chosen to lead the classes for their special ability to help make the practice of yoga relevant to the modern age. You’ll leave your weekend revitalised and equipped to make the ethics of yoga an integral part of your day-to-day life. April 3-5, 2015 Cost: From £299 per person (Fistral Beach Hotel Newquay, yoga teacher Indra Herbert, 2 nights DBB), 10% off spa treatments; champagne reception; 4 yoga classes)


Yoga & Spa Breaks in Cornwall

om holiday special 2015

Derbyshire Dales, England

Relax and practice all aspects of yoga in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. Combine morning yoga sessions with afternoon guided walks in this beautiful location. Suitable for all levels. Improve your suppleness and flexibility and learn how to calm your mind and improve your concentration. Experienced tutors on hand to offer advice, answer questions and take you through all key principles. Sessions will cover postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), and relaxation/meditation. Yoga, yoga and Pilates, yoga and mindfulness meditation and yoga & Tai Chi holidays in other locations throughout the UK and Europe also available. Departing August 3, 2015 Cost: ÂŁ449 (4 nights, full board en-suite accommodation, tuition from a qualified yoga teacher, an experienced walks leader and transport for walks where required. All our tutors are experts in their field and will ensure that you get the most out of your holiday)


Huzur Vadisi Yoga Retreats in Turkey

om holiday special 2015


“My favourite yoga holiday retreat” SIMON LOW







“An oasis of calm and tranquility” Contact: 46

Turquoise Coast, Turkey

Established in 1993 on the ‘Turquoise Coast’, Huzur Vadisi was the first centre of its kind in Turkey. Unlike hotel venues, it was created specifically as a yoga retreat, providing the perfect relaxed, warm and supportive ambience to get the most from your practice and your holiday. The combination of world-class yoga instruction, stunning unspoiled location, welcoming experienced staff, and legendary food creates an experience for which guests have been returning year-after-year. Two more beautiful venues, Suleyman’s Garden and The Pomegranate, both on the Turquoise Coast, have been taken on to accommodate Huzur Vadisi’s growing waiting list. May 4 -11 at Huzur Vadisi (Journey into Joy with Kirsty Norton). From £645 May 4 - 11 at Suleyman’s Garden (Loveyogabum Dynamic Flow Retreat with Sarah Kekus). From £790 April 27 - May 4 at The Pomegranate (Hatha and Kundalini Yoga with Lindi Lu). From £700

om holiday special 2015 Crete, Greece

Yoga teacher Simon Park brings Rekindling the Fire, a Prana Flow teacher training module recently co-created by Shiva Rea and himself. This retreat is also open to those who simply want to reawaken or deepen their asana practice. Each day will bring funky flows with Park’s subtle blend of therapeutic and evocative asana, soothing the soul and tuning into undiscovered vibrations. Unpredictable and invigorating, like Park himself, inversions are his passion: there will be chances both to assist and fly, building confidence to help others and safely challenge yourself. Yoga Rocks is perfectly isolated with rugged, tantalising nature and tempting seas. The veggie food is out of this world too. Transformation beckons. This week could turn you inside out. July 4-11, 2015 Cost: ₏900 (includes a new manual written by Shiva Rea and Simon Parks)


om holiday special 2015

St Lucia, Caribbean

The BodyHoliday, on the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean, is a unique all-inclusive five star health and wellness resort, offering first class food and accommodation, a magnificent beach, and plenty of yoga. It’s mantra is: ‘Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind’. Each year, the October yoga programme offers dedicated yoga-based activities for beginners and advanced students alike; there are also year-round BodyYoga courses, all led by experienced teachers, and with a style to suit all tastes. The BodyHoliday is one of the only hotels in the world to include daily spa treatments and a comprehensive activity schedule within the price. Do as much or as little as you like. Pure bliss.


om holiday special 2015

Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind.

Of all the great beach

holidays and spas in the world, only The BodyHoliday offers you the very best of both in beautiful Saint Lucia. Tailor your holiday to your wishes and choose from a menu of wellness options, sports and gourmet pleasures. It’s all a body could ask for. To find out more call 0203 096 1650 or visit


om holiday special 2015

Ibiza, Spain

Samsakara Ibiza is the island’s newest yoga retreat space in the north, just a short walk to the white sands of Cala San Vincente and nearby ‘secret’ beach. The yoga platform has surround sound; listen to Ibiza’s birds and bees and enjoy the mountain views. That’s your HQ for Jo Youle’s unique JoGa Beats Ibiza yoga F-I-E-S-T-A’s this summer. Morning vinyasa flow JoGa Beats classes with hikes, bike rides, lazy beach days and trips to the hippie markets in-between, then a more restorative sunset yoga flow and sound healing by night to wind you down for bedtime. Stay in an authentic Balearic dream Finca in the Spanish hills of this magical island with private chef on site to pamper you and provide nurturing and nourishing raw super foods and light protein plates plus local organic farm fresh produce so you leave feeling ready for anything. The first mini festival (with a trip to Healing Ibiza at Atzaro’s five star spa hotel) kicks off May 7, 2015. The second runs from Sept 1-7, 2015, with a special session soundtracked by a guest DJ at Ibiza Rocks House.


om holiday special 2015 Lake Trasimeno, Italy

Enjoy spectacular views of Lake Trasimeno and the Apennines on the Tuscan/ Umbrian border from this Italian rural casa. It’s an ideal yoga holiday combining Italian cuisine and culture with world heritage sites. Or simply relax, recharge and renew by the pool or in the quiet corners in the delightful gardens. Luca, the expert chef will provide locally-sourced food, including vegetables from the family garden. He will also recommend the matching wine for dinner and can offer cooking classes. Meditation followed by yoga class in the morning; then restorative yoga session in the evenings. Classes suitable for all levels. June 20-27, 2015 Single room £875, or £750 double room (twin or double bed). With Sandra Jack,

Yoga in Turkey: amazing views and sunsets – make it your holiday 27 April - 4 May with Lindi Lu 22 - 29 June Dirish Shaktidas

from £750

For more unforgettable yoga holiday Morocco: 23 – 30 May with Dirish Shaktidas Italy: 20 – 27 June with Sandra Jack Spain: 5 – 12 July with Lindi Lu

& more

Yoga holidays and retreats in stunning locations with inspiring first-class teachers Sign up for our newsletter for great offers and give-aways 51

om holiday special 2015

Crete, Greece

Set in a beautiful, relaxed location in a sheltered bay with miles of beaches within walking distance, Yoga Plus in Crete is a friendly, well-established, internationally-renowned centre for Ashtanga and other mind-body courses. It attracts Ashtanga students, from primary series through to advanced practitioners, and is accustomed to catering for beginners and all age groups. Various retreat options on offer including the Ashtanga with Pilates and Salsa option (below). Gorgeous vegetarian cuisine, summer sunshine and, of course, lots of fabulous yoga. Aug 22-Sep 4, 2015 (Ashtanga yoga, with Pilates and Salsa) Costs: from £975 (for two weeks in twin accommodation, with balcony and en-suite overlooking the bay, to £800 in triple accommodation or £660 for a one week booking. Cheaper options available at different times of year. Prices include accommodation, all meals and classes but not travel) yoga+ ad for Om:Layout 1 24/02/2015 17:27 Page 1

Yoga Plus Crete Connect body and mind. Inspiring health tours & detox weeks in Hua Hin, Thailand. • • • • • • Yoga Plus – a place of relaxation, enjoyment and discovery, offering Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga plus other mind & body related activities. Nestled into the beautiful bay of Agios Pavlos, in Crete, overlooking a dazzling blue ocean, people of all ages, nationalities and ability enjoy the ambience, delicious vegetarian cuisine, and stunning environment. This blend combined with high quality teaching creates the perfect yoga retreat. email:


Thai Healthy Me

Prime beachfront Pure Thai food Therapy every day Monk meditation Cooking classes Yoga, Tai Chi & Meditation course 14-20 June

See us at and Enquiries tel. 0333 0144 056 ABTA No.Y6204


discount in February and March

om holiday special 2015 Kerala, India

The combination of yoga, the warm Arabian sea at sunset, local life and like-minded people is a powerful catalyst for reaching a new part of yourself that other holidays can’t reach. So if you have suffered the cold dark days of winter in Europe, why not plan your escape here next winter? With wide horizons and clear water, the unspoilt natural surroundings are the perfect place to rediscover your radiant self. The insider knowledge at Yogaunited (with years of experience with yoga groups) means you can come to India and leave your guidebook at home, and see parts of southern India off the beaten track. As well as two yoga sessions per day to journey within, the venue is perfectly placed for a relaxing holiday – nestled between the soothing backwaters of Kerala and the clean swimming beach, there is an on-site ayurvedic spa for treatments to complement the yoga. Feb/March 2016 (booking now) £748 for 8 nights (the resort is 45mins drive from Cochin airport. Transfers and half-board accommodation in a/c en-suite villas are all part of the package)

Hua Hin, Thailand

Issara Yoga is providing this yoga, Tai Chi and meditation retreat in Hua Hin, Thailand, in conjunction with Thai Healthy Me. Issara (which means joy of liberation) brings his deep understanding of energy and body mechanics to all of his yoga teaching. Tai Chi is also core to this holistic programme, as it is highly beneficial for the collection of vital energy and to achieve balance with one’s natural surroundings. Suitable for all yoga levels. June 14-20, 2015 Cost: £480 (includes trips to local organic farm and places of natural beauty; simple guest house accommodation at Hua Hin beach, and full board organic vegetarian/vegan food)


om holiday special 2015

Hold on to that that

holiday vibe


om holiday special 2015

What happens when your yoga retreat comes to an end? That’s just the beginning of the journey says Natalie Smit-Ash


eing on a yoga retreat is such a wonderful thing; if only life could be like this all the time. Hey, guess what? Your journey doesn’t have to end when you say goodbye to your retreat leader, fellow holiday-makers and new friends. In fact, it’s really just the beginning. The little things that you pick up while you’re away can really make a difference back home if you put in a bit of effort to keep the good intentions going. Start by making small changes first, for instance, just by changing a few things in your diet, or maybe practicing a short, daily meditation each day. And remember that post-retreat life is all about balance. A little of what you fancy can do you good, so try not to be too hard with yourself if you think you’ve slipped up. Here are a few other ideas to keep the retreat vibes fresh in your mind long after you’ve landed back home.


It’s important to find a little time in your day or week to practice your new-found love of yoga. Find a local class nearby, or invest in a mat and clear some space at home to create a sanctuary for a small regular practice. On retreat, you’re able to indulge in some quality ‘you time’, uninterrupted by all the usual daily pressures. So make this last by creating just a small amount of time for yourself at home. Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier in the morning so you can practice in peace

before the house wakes up. If mornings aren’t your thing, then try winding down a little earlier in the evening by running a bath and lighting a candle to reflect; give yourself some time for stillness and contemplation and some light stretching.


You may pick up a variety of mindfulness and meditation techniques on retreat that you can follow up when you get home. Again, start small, setting aside five minutes every day for the first week, either in the morning or last thing at night to practice your meditation skills. Mindfulness, and quietening the monkey mind, take time and practice. Like any muscle in the body, the brain and mind are organs that need exercising and strengthening. Before you know it, you’ll be able to lengthen the time so eventually you’ll be able to sit comfortably for 20 minutes or longer each day.


The wonderful thing about a retreat is you are introduced to an amazing array of ideas, classes and foods. You leave raring to go with a new healthy eating routine, re-writing your shopping list inspired by fresh juice ideas and ‘free from’ products. But keep it real: try to introduce just one or two new things into the weekly shop to begin with. Once you’re happy with these new taste sensations then you can begin to introduce more alternatives into your diet. Remember that we all have off days too, so make allowances for this. There are always days

when we crave comfort foods but here too we have a choice to go for a more ‘retreat friendly’ option (for example, Fairtrade or raw chocolate, rather than too much processed sugars).


To help keep you inspired post-retreat the internet is awash with awesome food blogs, such as the excellent ‘deliciously Ella’, a girl who transformed her health through food and making radical changes to her diet. Juicing masters such as Jason Vale are brilliant at sharing super tasty and nutritious recipes that will continue to clean you out and get your vitality back post retreat. And there are plenty of fabulous yoga blogs and online sites too.


One of the best things about any retreat is the new friends and like-minded souls that you meet along the way. It can be disheartening when you return to work and feel like no one understands you. So try and keep in touch with your new retreat buddies if you can. It’s worth the effort. Make a plan to meet up for dinner or to go on another retreat in the future. Email or call each other to keep those lines of support open. When you leave the comfort and security of your blissful retreat remember that your friendships have not ended but in fact have just begun.

Natalie Smit-Ash is the founder and director of


om holiday special 2015

Surf Yoga Retreats _ Tiree, Scotland June 2015 _ Cornwall Sept 2015

Optional surf lessons & Trail hiking / running Beautiful beach locations 56

Isle of Tiree, Scotland

Surfing and yoga are a great team. The Surf Tiree Yoga Retreat is about enjoying a healthy island lifestyle, a love of the great outdoors, and delving deeper into your yoga practice. It’s a collaboration between Blackhouse Watersports, who have been teaching surf and kitesurfing on the island for 10 years, and Helen Clare, a yoga teacher, trail runner and surfer from Cornwall with a special interest in yoga for athletes. Start the day with a warming vinyasa flow session, followed by a healthy breakfast and a surf lesson on the white sandy beaches. Explore the beauty of the island in the afternoon, then enjoy a relaxing recovery yoga session in the evening. Surf Tiree is supported by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and his River Cottage Kitchen via one of his graduate chefs, who will be producing some amazing food with organic fresh and local produce. 2015 dates: May 30-June 6; June 6-13 (the retreat will also be repeated in Cornwall in September) £875 and

Photographer Dougie Reid @instagroundswell

Beach lifestyle yoga retreats

om holiday special 2015 Majorca, Spain

Tune in to your creative side. This Kundalini yoga and art therapy retreat takes place in a unique 13th Century mansion in sunny Majorca. Designed to give students the tools to access their creative side and to learn to feel joy and playfulness again. The daily art therapy sessions are led by an experienced clinical psychologist. Beside reconnecting with your inner child, understanding and looking at daily problems from a different perspective and discovering your creative potential, the programme includes daily Kundalini yoga classes that are fine-tuned with the rest of the activities. Optional extras and excursions include scuba diving, rock climbing, SUP and cycling.


June 13-20, 2015 Price: £1,035 (includes accommodation in shared double rooms with bathroom, all yoga and art therapy, materials and all-inclusive gourmet vegetarian and vegan meals)

EXPLORE... DREAM... DISCOVER... worldwide wellbeing retreats “Chillout Retreats are fast becoming the market leaders in specialist holistic and fitness holidays in the UK and abroad. It’s a family run business with goodness, love and integrity at its heart.” The Guardian, Green & Ethical 2014

Chillout Retreats Est. in 2009, is a unique family run business that offers you the opportunity to relax, revive and restore yourself in in the most breath taking & beautiful locations in both the UK and abroad. Their expert, specialist & passionate team offer unique and bespoke weekend to week long holidays to suit any budget as voted for by the Saturday Independent as “one of the best value spa breaks”.


For more information and full retreat diary visit, email, like our facebook page ‘chillout retreats’ or FREEPHONE 0800 078 7944.

Quote ‘OM YOGA’ for your £25 discount on any retreat. Chillout Retreats are offering ONE lucky reader the chance to win a place on their very special ‘Eat, Pray & Love’ retreat in Puglia, Italy 3rd - 9th May 2015. See page 27 for more details.

om holiday special 2015

Sperlonga, Italy

Where better to experience Italian life than on a yoga holiday for the mind, body and soul in Sperlonga, a beautiful hilltop village in Italy over looking the Mediterranean sea and the dreamy island of Capri? Enjoy daily yoga and meditation classes on the famous Trulli Tower overlooking the open sea. A wide range of incredible holistictreatments are also on offer, with two beautiful beaches to choose from, great food, as well as the authentic Italian village living experience. Optional activities like boat trips, hot sulphur springs, cycling and more are also available. Cost: from €650 per person

Djerba, Tunisia

Not many yoga holidays boast an ‘all-inclusive’ tag that actually includes flights and transfers too. Well, this one does. Head to sunny Tunisia for a fabulous week of yoga on the exotic island of Djerba with instructor Alan Sweetingham and another special guest tutor, Elly Upton. With its mysterious blend of Mediterranean and North African culture, it promises to be a real yoga adventure. You’ll stay in the elegant and charming Sentido Djerba beach hotel, which boasts its own private, sandy beach and a buffet restaurant serving International cuisine and traditional North African flavours, plus a theme restaurant, four bars and a Moorish café. Twice daily yoga classes will explore postures, relaxation, breathing and guided meditations to strengthen, energise and calm both body and mind. Afterwards, there’s swimming in the huge pool in the beautiful gardens (or the indoor pool), and lots of other sports and activities, and an extensive menu of treatments at the hotel’s Thalossotherapy centre (treatments are extra). September 9-16, 2015 (with Alan Sweetingham and special guest tutor, Elly Upton) £695 per person sharing a twin/double room or £795 per person single room. Cost includes flights (from London Gatwick) and transfers, 7 nights accommodation, all drinks and dining, plus all yoga and entertainment at the hotel.


om holiday special 2015


Enjoy Yoga on the cliff top at sunset, eat wonderful local organic produce, swim in crystal blue water & de-stress. YOGA RETREATS SUMMER 2015: 6th June - 13th June 20th June - 27th June 29th August - 5th September Package £680 p/p (includes: single occupancy accommodation, morning and afternoon yoga sessions, breakfast, organic dinner and airport transfers)

Villa Mantineo, Italy

Villa Mantineo is a cliff-top, family-run property, in an undiscovered part of south Italy, called Capo Vaticano. With oodles of charm and uninterrupted sea views, it’s a spectacular setting for a yoga holiday. There are various retreats to choose from throughout the summer, and plenty of other holiday options to choose from after class as well. Explore beautiful beaches, snorkel, sail along the coastline, join one of the cultural tours of Greek and Roman ruins, or head out for one of the gourmet restaurant tours. The villa is secluded but still within easy reach of local amenities (restaurants, bars, ice cream parlours). 2015 dates: June 6-13; June 20-27; Aug 29-Sept 5 Nearest airport is Lamezia Terme, under an hour’s drive from Villa Mantineo (there are direct flights with Ryanair and easy-route flights with Easyjet, Luftansa and Alitalia).


om holiday special 2015

Eat Well, Move Mindfully, Open Your Heart

Yoga, Pilates, and Detox Retreats 365 days a year

Fuerteventura, Spain

Your chance to have an authentic ayurveda experience within Europe, all in a safe and friendly environment and under the watchful eye of one of India’s top experts, Dr Nayana Rao. Already renowned for its award-winning yoga and Pilates holidays, Azul’s Ayurveda Detox Shanti Retreat is set in a beautiful and friendly villa, where everyone feels a part of the family. This healing programme for body, mind and soul combines daily ayurvedic therapies, diet and knowledge sessions, as well as yoga and meditation. Discover your body type and dosha and experience the healing powers of India’s sister science to rebalance your whole mind-body system. Both fun and life changing, during the week you’ll learn how to apply your new skills to help keep your life healthy and on track all year round. June 20-27, 2015 Prices from €880 for the week, all inclusive. Flights, transfers and travel insurance not included.


om holiday special 2015

Immerse in yoga 2015 Molino Del Rey, Malaga, Spain

Residential Yoga Training

YOGA Venture

Love yoga and want to teach? 200-hour Dynamic Hatha Flow, Yoga Alliance UK accredited teacher training.

Rejuvenate: Hatha yoga with a hint of Kundalini and a sprinkling of Laughter yoga. All abilities, with Lindi Lu.

5 - 19 April and 25 October - 1 November 2015

5 - 12 July 2015

Hertford Yoga Shala

Core Yoga

Ashtanga yoga, Hatha yoga, Pilates and meditation with Paula Gardiner and Eliane Codiroli. All levels welcome.

Energizing yet relaxing Hatha yoga retreat, for revitalizing your life, suits all abilities with Rebecca Thompson.

12 - 19 July 2015

18 - 25 October 2015


om holiday special 2015

Ibiza, Spain

Ibiza, known to many as a party island, is also home to some outstanding wellness destinations, thanks to its incredible healing nature and atmosphere. Recently launched KU Retreats is a company dedicated to delivering transformational wellness. Hatha yoga comes together with a range of holistic experiences including Oriental health diagnosis, macrobiotic nutrition and signature KU body treatments. Retreat leader, Miguel Silva, has outstanding experience as a massage and Oriental diagnosis practitioner. Retreats host eight people maximum. Other outdoor activities such as kayaking and hiking also available.

Recently launched KU Retreats are dedicated to deliver a truly transformational wellness experience. The programme is a combination of various tools and methods, all put together to help guests restore their natural inner balance and accelerate a positive change in their overall state of wellbeing. At Ku Retreats, Hatha yoga comes together with a range of holistic experiences including: • An individual wellness consultation and wellness plan • Tailored Hatha yoga practice • Macrobiotic diet • Taichi, Qigong and Meditation • Workshops on Healthy Cooking and Home Remedies • Oriental Diagnosis based on the reading of facial features • Signature body treatments, including KU Massage (Combining Western physiotherapy, osteopathy and manual therapy techniques with Chinese Medicine) • In addition, guests can enjoy great outdoor activities in the natural environment of Ibiza such as kayaking, horseback riding and hiking. Retreats host 10 people maximum and are run on set dates:!schedule-prices/c1xsk

Transformational Yoga & Wellness Retreat in Ibiza 62

Ibiza, an outstanding wellness destination thanks to its incredible nature and healing atmosphere.

The retreat leader, Miguel Silva, has an outstanding experience as a massage and oriental diagnosis practitioner and has worked with clients such as Naomi Campbell (supermodel), Bertrand Gachot (F1 pilot), Adriana Abascal (ExMiss Mexico) and Jeremy Morris (London top jeweller).

om holiday special 2015

Vale do Lobo, Portugal

Do you play tennis and do yoga? What about combining the two? Spend four glorious days at the Ria Park Hotel and Spa in Vale do Lobo in the Algarve, Portugal for a Stretch and Serve retreat with instructor Fenella Lindsell (a club tennis player who’s been teaching yoga for 25 years). “Tennis and yoga complement each other beautifully, building strength, stamina and agility as well as improving focus and reducing injury,� she says. Morning and evening yoga and two hours tennis a day. Expect a fun, flowing and creative, yoga style with classes modified for newcomers, whilst more established yogis can be challenged with stronger postures. April 22-16, 2015 or


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Astavakrasana, baby How to do


Astavakrasana - Eight Angle Pose. By Ryan Calderon-Miah Eight Angle Pose | Astavakrasana

Astavakrasana, or eight angle, our pose of focus, is a challenging arm balance and can be somewhat intimidating to approach. Take it step-by-step, work at your own pace and always concentrate on the breath. Before you realise you will find yourself very relaxed in this pretzel like position. Astavakrasana is dedicated to the sage Astavakra – a spiritual preceptor who was born crooked in eight places. This pose resonates with me greatly as a teacher as it embodies many teachings: to embrace challenge, let go of obsession to our physical self and to help us see we are all able to do yoga regardless of our physical state. Through various prep postures and the actual posture you will develop a deep connection with your pelvic floor, strengthen arms, wrists and core muscles.


Four Limbed Staff | Chatauranga Dandasana From plank pose, exhale, slowly lowering your torso until your elbows and shoulders are parallel to the floor. Keep your arms hugging toward your ribs. Your body should be parallel to the floor. Shoulder blades remain away from the ears but active. Your navel draws toward your spine and tailbone drawing forward lengthening the spine.

Lizard Pose | Utthan Pristhasana

From downfacing dog, step your right foot between your hands to a lunge position. Bring both forearms to the floor inside the right leg. Keep your inner left quadriceps active and lifting, while pushing through the left heel. Heart is open, shoulders drawing away from ears helping to create length in your upper back and open the hips.



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Pendant pose | Lolasana

From Tadasana, come to a squat position and rest your knees on your chest. Place your hands about shoulder width apart and approximately one foot’s length away from the tops of your feet. Make sure the fingers are spread wide. Move your weight forward until you feel it into your arms and shoulders and core. Lift both legs up so they are tucked in as close as possible to your body and the feet are crossed. You may need to start with one leg at a time. Try to straighten your arms as much as possible and gaze forwards. Hold the pose for a few seconds at a time and gradually increase your time in the pose as you develop strength. You may also go from hero pose and press straight up into Lolasana if you’re feeling strong.


Crow or Crane pose | Bakasana

From Malasana (praying squat or garland), place your hands in front of you shoulder-width apart with your fingertips facing forward. Straighten your arms and lean your knees into your armpits above your triceps. Shift your weight forwards onto your hands and lift the feet off the floor. Using your core to lift your tailbone and hips into the air, bring your heels as close to your buttocks as you can. Do one foot at a time if needed. Keep your gaze slightly forward just past your fingertips.


Side Crane Pose | Parsva Bakasana

From a squat position and on an exhale twist your knees and hips to the right while keeping your chest, shoulders and arms parallel to the front of the room or mat. Take the left knee high up your right tricep close to inside of your armpit. On an exhale shift your weight forwards into your hands and lift both feet simultaneously off the floor keeping your knees together and torso rotated. Tip forward and take the weight of your torso and into your arms and find your balance. Look slightly forward.




Archer Pose | Akarna Dhanurasana

From a squat position and on an exhale twist your knees and hips to the right while keeping your chest, shoulders and arms parallel to the front of the room or mat. Take the left knee high up your right tricep close to inside of your armpit. On an exhale shift your weight forwards into your hands and lift both feet simultaneously off the floor keeping your knees together and torso rotated. Tip forward and take the weight of your torso and into your arms and find your balance. Look slightly forward.

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Elephant’s Trunk Pose | Eka Hasta Bhujasana

From Dandasana, take hold of your right leg with both hands and place the right knee as high as possible on your upper right arm, squeezing the arm with the leg. Keep your left leg fully extended and place both hands on the floor on either side of the hips. Exhale as you press through your palms and lift the sitting bones and left leg off the floor.


Lifting into Astavakrasana

Begin seated in Dandasana with a slight straddle of the legs. Take hold of your right leg with both hands and place the right knee as high as possible on your upper right arm. If you prefer, you can hug the leg first and rock the baby for a moment to help prepare. Once your leg is over your shoulder or high up your arm lift your left leg and cross the ankles, left on top of right. Flex your toes. If you prefer more of a challenge you may lift your hips off the floor and go into the previous posture (Elephants Trunk) before crossing the ankles. Once you are crossed, begin to lift your hips off the ground while strongly engaging your core. Slowly move your weight forward and allow your arms to bend into a 90 degree angle. You will magically find yourself in Astavakrasana. It may be intense at first. From here, begin to bring your attention back to the breath and begin to find stability in the posture.

Ryan Calderon-Miah is a featured tutor at the BWY London Festival 27-28 June 2015, Photos: Karen Yeoman (


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MARATHON MINDSET Give your running a mental boost with yoga. By Lexie Williamson


growing number of runners now rely on yoga poses to keep them strong, supple and injury free. Pigeon, triangle and dog unlock tight muscles while plank, locust and warrior III forge a body strong enough to withstand the repetitive impact of pounding the pavements. But these are purely physical benefits. Anyone who has slogged through 26.2 epic miles knows full well that a marathon is also a mental game. Unfortunately, mental training is something many runners never consider until the discomfort kicks in and those seeds of doubt begin to grow: ‘Have I trained enough?’ ‘Can I do this?’ World Ironman champion Chrissie Wellington once remarked: “It amazes me how little time people spend on mental training; 30k into a marathon on race day is too late to figure out you need to train your brain.” So what can yoga offer the runner in terms of mental toughness once the negative splits have been analysed, carbs loaded, and long runs logged? Answer? A lot. Yoga is, essentially, a tool to train the mind. As much as we love to explore physical postures, the ultimate aim is meditation and mental control. With a few little tweaks, many of the breathing, visualisation and mantra techniques learnt on the mat can easily be taken on a run, allowing you to turn despair and tedium into motivation and clarity. Take a quick glance at any sports psychology manual and you will recognise a few of these techniques. Timothy Gallwey’s bestselling Inner Game of Tennis (1974) is founded partly on the meditation teachings of Guru Majaraj Ji. All athletes, but particularly runners, also talk about seeking the very yoga-like state of ‘flow’ or entering ‘the zone.’ They are referring to a number of characteristics including 100% concentration, confidence and a blurring between action and awareness. Yogis know instinctively what it means to be ‘in the zone’, even if they haven’t put a name to it. ‘Flow’ is what we feel as soon as the breath is synchronised with the poses and the eyes close. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who first coined the term ‘flow’, noticed the startling similarities between the characteristics of his flow state and yoga. “It makes sense to think of yoga as a thoroughly planned flow activity,” he wrote in his book, Flow (1992). “Both are trying to achieve a joyous, self-forgetful involvement through concentration….it is

not unreasonable to think of yoga as one of the oldest and most systematic methods of producing the flow experience.” I’m not, for a minute, suggesting that a yoga class will transform the marathon into a blissful, dream-like journey, or everyone would be packed with eager, bright eyed runners. But yoga can give runners a tiny taster of a settled mind and a good few tricks to get to the finish line feeling mentally (if not physically) strong.

3 yoga marathon mind tricks MANTRAS Meaning ‘mind instrument’ in Sankrit, the mantra is a word or snappy phrase silently or audibly repeated to jolt the mind into a certain state. Runners can either choose mantras to motivate or to calm and reassure, depending on their state of mind. For example: ‘I’m Strong and I’m Ready’ or ‘I Can and I Am’ or ‘Power’ or ‘Go’ or ‘I Run Fast, I Run Strong, I Can Run All Day Long’ (in time to the rhythm of the footfall). VISUALISATION This can be used either prior to a race to ease nerves by mentally mapping out the course, or during a run to keep the mind upbeat and occupied. Try imagining that you are the star of the TV race coverage. The camera follows you everywhere via a motorbike or helicopter recording your every move. It is this running commentary that keeps you anchored to the present moment. BREATH/STRIDE RATIOS This running version of ratio breathing (e.g inhaling for 3, exhaling for 4) is done in time with the footfall. It not only brings awareness to the breathing but maintains pace and keeps the mind on track. Pick a ‘counting’ foot. Now link that foot strike with your breathing by beginning to inhale as it touches the ground. If you are using a relaxed 3:3 ratio you will inhale for three foot strikes and exhale for three. To relax a little, make the exhalation one count longer. Switch the counting foot intermittently.

Lexie Williamson is the author of Yoga for Runners and Yoga for Cyclists (Bloomsbury, 2014). She is a fitness writer, British Wheel of Yoga and Yoga Sports Science instructor specialising in yoga for runners and cyclists (


om body Victor M. Parachin exposes some of the most common yoga myths


yoga myths...



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REALITY: actually, yoga is most beneficial to those who are not flexible. Consider the experience of David Borenstein, a medical doctor and professor of medicine at George Washington University: “As a doctor, I’ve recommended yoga to patients many times, but I had resisted doing it myself. I thought a stiff old guy like me wouldn’t have enough flexibility. In 2014, my wife finally shamed me into trying it, and I was surprised to find I liked it. I’ll never be as flexible as some people in the class, but I’m a lot more flexible than I was, which has helped me avoid injuries. Before I started doing yoga, I thought I’d have to give up playing squash soon because of the risk for joint and muscle injuries. Now I can play without getting hurt.”



REALITY: yoga is indeed dominated by women, but the number of men doing it appears to be growing. Many professional athletes in football, baseball, hockey, and basketball regularly include yoga as part of their training. One of them is tennis pro Justin Gimelstob. While in his early twenties, a promising tennis career was in jeopardy. “I had back problems, two herniated disks,” he says. “Everything was locked up; the pain was so bad I could barely move around the court. I had nine cortisone shots, and I was taking tremendous amounts of Vicodin.” His doctors recommended surgery indicating that the results were not guaranteed, that the surgery could limit his range of motion and that recovery would take time. As he pondered surgery, a friend suggested he try yoga. The results were astonishing: “It just took a couple of weeks for me to see a difference. I haven’t taken a pill since. I haven’t had back pain since. It’s been unbelievable.”


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REALITY: every physical exercise delivers benefits. However, yoga differs from traditional gym exercises which usually focus primarily on aerobics and muscle development. Yoga is more holistic in that it benefits not only the body but also mind and spirit. In her book, Yoga For Americans, Indra Devi explains the difference between yoga and gym exercises: “Yoga poses are an art applied to the anatomy of the living body, whereas gymnastics are a form of engineering applied to the muscles of the body. In yoga, relaxation is taught as an art, breathing as a science, and mental control of the body as a means of harmonising the body, mind and spirit.”



REALITY: there are an amazing variety of yoga classes and teaching styles. When starting yoga it’s important to find a class that meets your needs and goals. This will mean trying more than one or two classes and choosing from the many yoga opportunities available: hot yoga, power yoga, deep stretch, alignment-based, partner yoga, gentle yoga, chair yoga, restorative yoga, and more. What’s important is finding a teacher and a style that’s right for you. After a class, make an assessment of how you felt afterwards: did you feel a link to the teacher and his/her style? Was the pace of the class comfortable but still challenging? Was there a welcoming and affirming energy in the class? Once you find a teacher and a class that meets your needs, stay with it.


“Yoga provides the same heart health benefits as do many other popular exercises” YOGA IS RELIGIOUS

REALITY: “Yoga is not a religion,” says Timothy McCall, MD, and author of Yoga As Medicine. He says yoga is “happily practiced by Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, atheists, and agnostics alike.” While yoga does have a spiritual component, the basic philosophy of yoga is to use what is helpful and pass on what isn’t resonating with you. Dr McCall advises: “If meditation seems too foreign to you, don’t do it. If chanting Om strikes you as weird, chant something else, a prayer to Jesus or for world peace (or don’t chant at all). In the thousands of classes I’ve attended, I’ve never once seen a teacher object to a student skipping it.”



REALITY: yoga isn’t merely another form of exercise. While yoga delivers the similar physical benefits of regular exercise it seeks to go deeper, impacting not only the body but also the mind and spirit. A foundational yoga principle is that we carry within us three ‘healers’ – an inner physician to heal the body; an inner psychiatrist to heal the mind; and an inner priest to heal the spirit. Through poses, meditation, and breathing, yoga can help to heal body, mind and spirit.


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REALITY: yoga provides the same heart health benefits as do many other popular exercises. In fact, a study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, stated “that the popular mind-body practice of yoga is beneficial in managing and improving the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease.” The study, which included 2,768 subjects, reported that yoga could provide the same benefits in risk factor for the heart as “traditional physical activities such as biking or brisk walking.” Furthermore, yoga is not only good for the heart but it tones the entire body and is one of the safest exercises because it is non impact. Every yoga class is a total body workout.



Reality: perhaps the most common misperception. Of course, thin people and fit people do yoga, but yoga is not only for those in prime shape or in good health. Dr McCall says that while he was in India researching yoga’s benefits he visited centres “that treated people with all kinds of physical mental and emotional problems: old people, stiff people people with years of chronic disease, people in pain, people who were too depressed to get out of bed. Those who are bound to bed or wheelchairs can do yoga modified for their needs and abilities. There are people in their eighties, nineties and beyond doing yoga.” Yoga is for everybody, regardless of one’s condition.



Reality: an increasing number of scientific and medical studies demonstrate that yoga helps heal injuries, reduces or eliminates pain, eases symptoms of disease and releases stress. While yoga’s benefits can be gained in almost any yoga class, anyone with an injury or illness will benefit more by working one-on-one in a private session with a yoga teacher. Individual sessions versus a group class can be safer and more beneficial because the poses are designed specifically for you and your needs.



Reality: most studios offer packages which reduce the cost considerably. Also, many studios offer free classes in exchange for work around the studio, usually staffing the front desk or answering the telephone for a few hours per week. Another option lies in joining a gym where the monthly membership fee covers all classes offered, including yoga. Yet another opportunity is to search out free or low cost yoga classes online.

By Victor M. Parachin (


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An inside job L

Firing up your muscles with yoga: a look at what’s really going on inside your body when you’re on the mat. By David Keil

earning all of the details of anatomy is no easy task. There are two common places where we, as yoga practitioners, want to understand our anatomy more clearly. One is when we have discomfort or injury in some area of our body. The second is when we can’t do a posture the way we want to. But our anatomy is not about parts and pieces. It is about how those parts and pieces integrate and function as a whole. In the first scenario, we might be dealing with an injury we already have. We might come to yoga with it or find ourselves exposing or creating the injury during the practice of yoga. In either case, understanding our anatomy helps us understand what we should or should not do in different postures. In the second scenario, we are usually looking toward refining our postures. That is, we want to do the postures more fully and progress in our practice. In this case, we are usually dealing with some combination of lack of strength or flexibility and look to anatomy to tell us what muscles we should be turning on or turning off. Both of these scenarios are good reasons to be looking more closely at your anatomy as it relates to yoga. Keep in mind that every posture is comprised of three basic physical elements. Those elements are strength, flexibility, and technique. The more subtle aspects include, focus, concentration, discipline, and breath.

to be in a posture. The more complicated aspect is understanding the techniques that develop that strength or flexibility over a period of time. If you were to all of a sudden contract the right muscle in a particular posture, you would still not necessarily have the required strength or openness to do the posture perfectly. You would have had to build this strength or flexibility through regular practice. Therefore the technique aspect of using anatomy is the trickiest to understand. As an anatomist and yoga teacher, I am always looking for the interconnected nature of anatomy, movement, and postures. In other words, we all approach the same posture with different amounts of strength, flexibility, and technical ability. The right technique for you may be different than it is for someone else attempting the same posture. It’s true that most of us are similar enough that good generalised instructions often work well for many of us. But what if you’re the exception? As we dig deeper into the postures we realise that the isolation of individual muscles, although true enough, is not the real story. We don’t want forward bends to be just about our hamstrings, we want it to be a whole body experience. Unfortunately, in an effort to get further faster, we may fall into the trap of oversimplification and start to believe that a posture is about one set of muscles. It’s important to remember that those muscles are part of a larger sphere of muscles that are connected, directly or indirectly. Similarly, the postures don’t live by themselves; they are directly or indirectly connected to other postures in whatever sequence you might be doing. Taking this perspective creates a more holistic approach to both the practice of postures as well as the anatomy itself.

“Keep in mind that every posture is comprised of three basic physical elements. Those elements are strength, flexibility, and technique.”

Understanding anatomy

The most simplistic way to use anatomy for understanding our yoga is to see what muscles are needed for the strength aspect of a posture and which muscles need to lengthen in order to help you


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Seated forward bend (left)

You can also see the effect of these muscles (hamstrings especially) in a seated forward bend. You’ll also see more clearly that downward dog and forward bends are, in fact, related. With the legs straight, you can clearly see that the pelvis is tilted back (posterior tilt). While we add effort in trying to fold forward, the hamstrings that attach to the sit-bones (ischial tuberosity) are preventing the pelvis from tilting forward (anterior tilt). Bending the knees changes the tension in the back of the legs. By easing this tension it reduces the pull on the sit bones and allows the pelvis freedom to start to rotate forward. By seeing how these elements are connected, you can easily take a more holistic perspective on the interrelationship between postures. Don’t think that downward dog, or seated forward bends live in a vacuum by themselves. Instead, focus on how you can work with these tissues in various places throughout your practice.

Downward dog (above)

In the associated image of downward facing dog (above right), we are outlining the part of the back line of muscles that are most affected by this posture. This popular yoga asana is interconnected to all postures that are forward bending in nature. The muscles highlighted are part of the muscles that interconnect on the back of the body. These are generally the ones that restrict forward bending. There are two main restrictions that we often work with in the lower

half of our body in downward dog: the ankles and the hips. The first restriction we might come across prevents our heels from getting closer to the floor. The primary restrictors to making this happen are the deep calf muscle called the soleus, and the more superficial calf muscle called the gastrocnemius. These are the two muscles that create the Achilles tendon and attach onto the heel bone (calcaneus). These two muscles are often tight from common activities like running, cycling, and sport in general. The second major restriction is none other than the hamstrings. The hamstrings are powerful hip extensors (taking the leg backward). Keep in mind that they affect the hip joint which is created by the joining of both the pelvis and the femur (thigh bone). Tension in the hamstrings usually affects the pelvis above them and is the common source of the pelvis tilting back (posterior tilt). This has the knock-on effect of making the lower back rounded in downward facing dog. Put them together and you find that opening the tissues on the back of the legs helps to get those heels closer to the floor as well as allow the pelvis to be more aligned with the rest of the back and shoulders.

David Keil was introduced to yoga in 1989. He now teaches anatomy and yoga workshops worldwide. He is the author of Functional Anatomy of Yoga: A Guide for Practitioners and Teachers (Lotus Publishing: ÂŁ19.99)


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to ‘be’

5 reasons to take the internet off your phone. By Rosanna Gordon


es, I know you’re busy, but maybe that means it’s even more important to disconnect. Have you ever seen couples in restaurants who are physically together, yet mentally apart; both lost in their mobile worlds? Or has a family member come round for tea and not said a word, yet tweeted out hundreds. Or perhaps, when you meet friends for coffee, you’re itching to switch on and take a peep at your favourite feed? We’ve all been there. Mobile dependency is at its peak. It’s a great way to stay connected with loved ones and our interests. But when is it too much? Has anxiety and a lack of focus taken its hold on you? Are you ready to relax more? Here are five reasons to take the internet off your mobile phone and still feel better connected: PRESENCE: when you’re with someone, whether it’s a friend, colleague or loved one, you’re really with them; able to catch up properly and spend quality time together, without any virtual interruptions. PEACE: you can settle into and enjoy the space you’re in: the great outdoors, a café, your sofa. Truly finding quiet and leaving the hustle and bustle of work and life to one side. POLITENESS: you give your full attention to the person you’re with (yourself included), letting them know that they matter, they’re enough and you care. What can be better than that? PENNIES: it’s cheaper to have a standard phone sans internet. Save the web searching for your desk computer or laptop and go back to basics with your contract. POSITIVITY: ‘being’ more, and stopping the constant web scanning, can keep you grounded in the here and now, feeling more appreciation towards what’s around you. So, why not give it a go? Be internet free when you’re up and about. Enjoy a quieter life. Take a mini-break from it and see how you get on. It might be just the thing you’re after.

By Rosanna Gordon (


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giveaways 5


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YOGA THERAPY Hypoglycaemia

Practical yoga therapy The Problem The Solution Reactive hypoglycaemia is sometimes Obviously, nutrition is a major play here. techniques to start you experienced by people after a high However, this really is still a symptom for carbohydrate-based meal or snack. The something more, usually a craving for on the road to health: pancreas produces too much insulin in order something nice or sweet in life generally. physically, mentally, to regulate the amount of sugar (glucose) Getting to know yourself through yoga can in the body. This usually happens within deepen your awareness and assist in finding emotionally and spiritually. four hours of consumption. Some of the out what you really want. Going within, symptoms include: dizziness, craving of sweet through these yogic prescriptions, will start By Sarah Swindlehurst foods, tiredness, irritability, sweating, and numbness/coldness in the extremities.


you off in the best direction.

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Yoga Heart Opening and Releasing

Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose (Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana)

Start standing, focusing on your breath. Inhale and open the arms up to the side, arching back slightly. Hold for two breaths and then exhale release and fold forwards from the hips. Place the hands on the legs just where you can reach to without straining. Breathe two deep breaths here and then inhale repeat the opening of the arms. Repeat the sequence as many times as you feel comfortable with. Relax afterwards. Affirmation: I awaken my inner desires (inhale/exhale)

Yoga Revolved Head-toKnee Pose (Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana)

Begin by sitting with the legs wide apart and the spine upright. Bring first your left foot so that it rests against your right inner thigh with the heel nested into the groin. Inhale and raise the arms above the head. Exhale as you lean towards the right leg in a side arch. The right shoulder comes down so it is resting next to the inner right knee. The right hand holds the right foot, and the left arm is extending over the left side of your head with the hand aiming to hold the upper part of the right foot. Inhale and lengthen the body and then exhale gently turn to look upwards past your left elbow. Hold for three breaths and then inhale as you slowly come up and out. Repeat on the other side. Affirmation: I accept all infinite possibilities of my heart and soul (inhale/exhale)


Balance is needed here. Perhaps start to decrease refined carbohydrates such as white flours (breads, cakes, biscuits, sugars, sweets and chocolate) and bring in more fresh vegetables, and eat more proteins in a higher ratio to the carbs, such as eggs, sprouted seeds and nuts. Dilute your fruit juices with water for a while too, as fruits contain high amounts of sugar (as do the refined carbs) which will make your blood sugars peak and then drop too suddenlygiving the reactive hypoglycaemic symptom.

What your body is saying?

This symptom is a reaction to your need for

something more in life: perhaps a feeling of completeness which fills you up with love and joy every moment, of every day. What are your dreams? What does your heart want to say to you? Are you listening to your true inner needs, or complying with someone else’s or what you perceive to be the ‘right’ choice? Ask yourself: ‘What do I need right now and every day that will fill me up with light and happiness?’ Meditation, yoga, walking, breathing and spending time with yourself will usually help you find a deeper answer.

Sarah Swindlehurst is the founder of The Yogic Prescription (

Pranayama Kalesvara Mudra (to calm agitation and eliminate addictive behaviours)

Sitting in a comfortable position, either on the floor or on a chair, place the finger pads of your middle finger together; touch the first two joints of the index fingers and touch your thumbs. Bend your other fingers inward. Point your thumbs toward your chest and spread your elbows to the outside. Inhale and exhale slowly 10 times. Then observe your breath and lengthen the pause after inhalation and after exhalation just a little each time. Affirmation: I listen to my high self (inhale/exhale)


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Yoga A-Z I is for Iyengar. By Carole Moritz

Sadly, one of yoga’s true pioneers, BKS Iyengar, passed away last year, aged 95. He was a great and inspirational figure whose example on and off the mat is followed the world over. He authored several books sacred to yoga practitioners and book readers alike (Light on Life, The Tree of Yoga). His name became a noun and a verb as a style of yoga, a type of Hatha yoga that focuses on body alignment through the use of props. Iyengar was not just a yoga master: he embodied yoga in body, mind and spirit.


One of my favourite descriptions of Mr Iyengar came from Patricia Walden, a longtime student of his: “Iyengar was, like, ‘Stand on your feet. Feel your feet.’ He was so practical. His famous quote was, ‘How can you know God if you don’t know your big toe?’” Focused attention on just your big toe absorbs attention in the moment, creating heightened awareness for the intelligence of the whole body. Who knew that our big toes contained so much inspirational wisdom?

Through his example, in practice and in teaching, Iyengar’s focus went beyond the benefits of yoga in health, fitness, and mental clarity. Yoga’s ultimate goal, he concluded, is to realise our own intelligence, splendour and sparkle of soul. So that when we shine, we give others permission to shine, too. The world then, becomes a lighter, brighter place where everything is a miracle. Even your big toe. Namaste, Mr Iyengar.




Page 82: Yoga for Dudes Page 84: The Freedom Man Page 85: Man on the mat



YOGA FOR DUDES No girls allowed in these classes


xclusive ‘men-only’ golf clubs and private members’ lounges, complete with leather armchairs, cognac and discrete chitchat, have long irked all those champions of equality. But now there’s men-only yoga classes too. What, surely not, you ask? The idea is simple: to get more men doing yoga, in an environment that they’re comfortable with, and without any distraction from the fairer sex. It’s the creation of female yoga instructor Jodie Raven who now runs her popular Yoga for Dudes ( classes in South London. She says the idea grew out of teaching her partner first, then his football team, and then out to others. It means guys can step into the studio and get a tough physical workout, in company that they’re familiar with;

“The idea is simple: to get more men doing yoga, in an environment that they’re comfortable with, and without any distraction from the fairer sex” 82

no intimidating vibe, and no super stretchy ladies in lycra. Of course, it’s not the first time guys have been targeted with yoga. There are plenty of other popular styles out there geared for men, such as Broga (, another awesome brand and concept. Unlike Broga, however, Raven’s classes are strictly men-only. And she’s equally keen to put the guys through their paces as well. “My students create such a wonderful atmosphere,” she says. “I ensure there’s a lot of stretching, as well as incorporating accessible elements of Vinyasa to make it engaging and a great workout too. I find men tend to be drawn to yoga for the ‘stretching’ aspect, but they’re always pleasantly surprised at how dynamic and physical it can be too.”

High demand

Now she wants to reach out to more guys - husbands, dads, brothers, yogis in the making - after seeing the benefits in her students, and realising the high demand for her classes.

FM “I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of men who have expressed an interest in yoga.” She reckons a lot of guys simply lack the confidence to strut their stuff in a regular yoga studio or class. “Most are anxious about being the ‘only man’ or the ‘only student wobbling at the back’, but at the same time, they’re keen to improve overall fitness and flexibility.” The most common concerns she hears from potential students is, ‘I can’t touch my toes’ or ‘I’m completely inflexible’, all things that most yoga instructors have heard at some point in their career. “And many are also curious to know if yoga can help them to grow old gracefully,” she adds. And so Yoga For Dudes was created, a kind of safe haven for guys who might feel awkward and selfconscious in a mixed-gender class. “I keep the classes men-only to ensure the average man feels comfortable and encouraged to come along to his first yoga class,” she says. “The response has been tremendous. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of guys of all ages who attend my classes. They discard their inhibitions and really get stuck in. In general, they find it hard work, but fun, and they all seem to get a lot out of it.”

Power up

All of the classes are routed in Ashtanga Vinyasa, meaning that each posture links to the next with a synchronised breath. The constant flow ensures that students are kept fully engaged throughout (great for those with a short attention span!). “Ashtanga Vinyasa tends to be quite fast in some classes due to its ‘Power Yoga’ qualities and general ‘flowing’ style,” says Raven. “I try to keep it at a much slower and accessible pace, so as not to create any further tension and strain in my students. This way, they still tend to get an all body workout but are able to fully get themselves into each and every posture. I then throw in some muscle-building challenges too,

Jodie Raven puts a dude through his paces

“The response has been tremendous. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of guys of all ages who attend my classes. ” such as press-ups, planks and some half planks.” She says students love the dynamic flow of the classes, and are usually taken aback by the cardio and muscle building benefits as well as improved flexibility. “A lot of my students are recovering from injury, or simply keen for a stretching session to accompany their regular fitness regime. Therefore, I focus a lot on stretching in each of my sessions, and tend to make the intensity level accessible for everyone’s needs.”

LET’S HEAR IT FROM THE GUYS Here’s what a few Yoga For Dudes students have to say about it all:

“I enjoy the camaraderie with my fellow yoga dudes as everyone seems to be in the same boat. You come out feeling relaxed, focused and well-worked, with the inner satisfaction gained from only doing something good for your body. A friendly, warm and light environment.” TOBY, 28, ACCOUNT MANAGER “The classes vary every week but you can also see progression in what you can manage each time. It’s oddly relaxing in the middle of a very busy working week. There’s a good team morale with everyone that goes. Even if I’m injured and can’t play sports I can still do this and there will always be an alternative move to anything I can’t manage” EWAN, 27, FUND RAISING MANAGER

“It provides the right balance of fun, relaxation and a little bit of competition to achieve something new. It’s an environment where you can be as stretchy as you want and have a laugh when you fall over. Yoga has given me the chance to try something new whilst having a laugh with my mates. Each week I overcome something new with the new postures leaving a sense of success at the end of a session.” SIMON, 28, CIVIL SERVANT





I do yoga because...

Name: Lode De Vos Location: Gent (Belgium) Occupation: Educator “I do yoga because it gives me unprecedented physical and mental strength. When the body feels longer and wider while doing asana, the whole personality dissolves. At that moment I see very clearly how to live.”


The freedom man In this digital age it’s time to disconnect. By Jonathan Schofield I’ve decided de-wire myself in 2015. I’m not sure that’s the right terminology but I’ve made the decision to stop being connected all the time - to detach from iPod, iPad, laptop, earphones, digital wristbands and apps and all other digital devices unless for work or a serious medical procedure. Last year, I downloaded an app for every life event: to analyse what I ate, how often my heart beat, how many units of alcohol I drank; I got a wrist band that counted every step I took, every calorie burnt. I joined online app communities to analyse every run, every bike ride, every mile sweated, every foot of elevation gained. At the end of every day I was a living, breathing excel sheet of information. It didn’t end there. I got an app to tell me how well, or badly, I slept. First thing every morning I’d wake, pull out my phone from under my pillow and study my sleep pattern. My day would start filled with anxiety about how I would get through the day on just 38 minutes and 23 seconds of deep sleep (that’s the important sleeping bit apparently). I went for a run the other day. I have no idea how far, how high, how many calories I burnt or how long I went for. There was no satellite tracking me. I have no idea how I measured up against all the other runners that have pounded that route. I didn’t take my mobile, had nothing strapped to my upper arm, no wires in my ears, nothing on my wrist. I didn’t listen to any music. I heard for the first time in years the sound of my surroundings: nothing too exotic, crows calling, a dog barking, a small boy from my estate shouting “run faster, fat man” and the sound of my rasping lungs. I just ran - for the sheer joy of running. The only time I haven’t had to consciously disconnect from this digital age is during my weekly yoga class. Just shorts, a t-shirt and a thin piece of foam (my mat) - what could be simpler? I’d thoroughly recommend taking the simplicity of the yoga class to the rest of your life. So far it has been rather liberating.


Man on the mat with Jason Phan

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) Benefits

The art and practice of yoga aims to create balance between the mind, body and spirit. It incorporates fundamental elements of wellness that we all tend to overlook: breath, mindfulness, meditation and movement. Cobra pose will help open the heart chakra, which acts as a balance point and allows love, positivity and compassion into our lives. Yoga can help us understand the biomechanics of the body, allowing us to build strength and flexibility efficiently. In addition, the practice stimulates the nervous system, detoxification system, and lymphatic system to cleanse the body, creating an optimal state of wellness.

Common Mistakes

A common mistake during yoga practice is losing track of our breath. Let your breath fuel each and every cell in your body. In cobra, engage the mid-back muscles to roll your shoulders back, causing expansion of the chest to allow deep breathing. Make sure to push with each and every muscle in your hands, from your palm all the way to your fingertips. Contract and allow the abdominal muscles to elongate. This will build strength

Photo: Natiya Guin

in the core and the antagonist muscles of the low back. Pull your strength into the core by contracting the hamstring and quadriceps muscles, giving you a firm base and preventing injury. Push with the crown of your head, stretching the cervical spine, and allow the neck to relax slowly. Bring attention to your facial muscles. Relax your cheeks, your jaw, your eyelids, and don’t forget to breathe. This pose is excellent for stretching the abdominals and creating flexibility in the lower back. Keep in mind, there are several variations to this pose, so play around and have fun with it.


n B e sure to press through the palm of the hands and fully extend the arms. Doing so will help with many other poses and upper body exercises as well. n R oll the shoulders back and activate the rhomboids. This will stretch and expand the pectoral, intercostals, and deltoid muscles to achieve an optimal posture. n S tay as long as you can and expand the chest while relaxing the head back. n A llow the muscles to complete a full contraction, then relax and allow those muscle fibers elongate.


Creating a safe place to become tuned in with your body is essential. Be cognoscente of where your body is in space. Feel wherever there may be tension in the body. Do not place any judgement. Listen to your body. Allow it to self-correct, and relax into the pose. Awareness is critical in preventing injury and understanding which areas may need a bit more attention. Awareness can be physical, but it must also be mental. Mental awareness is the key to calming the mind from stressful thoughts and emotions that may have accumulated throughout the day, week, month or even year. Practicing yoga helps us to clear this negativity with each and every breath.


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Meditation of the month

Let’s get it on A meditation for enlivening sexual energy. By Jill lawson


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nce in a while, both men and women will experience a lag in their sex drive. Whether it is due to stress, a heavy workload, or high levels of anxiety, the desire to dive under the covers and make passionate love with your partner can wane. If you, or someone you know, needs a little boost in the libido department, the following meditation will help. Practice by yourself, or with your partner.

Do it now

Begin in a comfortable seated position. Take several deep breaths to clear your mind and relax your body. Bring your awareness to your pelvic region, particularly the area between your sacral spine and lower belly. Keep your awareness focused on this part of your body by lightly pressing your right hand on the area just below your navel, and bringing your left hand to your sacrum. Try not to place judgement on your body. Keep an open mind and an accepting heart. Tune into the pace and rhythm of each breath. Notice the subtle movement created in your lower belly as you inhale and exhale. Let your mind focus on this movement for up to 10 minutes. Next, allow your breath to gradually deepen. As you inhale, feel your belly expand as your pelvis effortlessly rocks forward. As you exhale, rock your pelvis back to its original position. Be sure and keep this rocking motion to a minimum. Resist the temptation to move very much. The subtler the movement, the more mindfulness you will bring into the practice.

After about 10 more minutes of focusing on these rhythmic and wave-like motions in your body, bring your total awareness to your pelvic floor. Settle your attention on the muscles located there. Now, during each exhale when your pelvis gently rocks back, contract and lift these muscles. During each inhale when your pelvis rocks forward, let these muscles relax completely. Imagine, with every exhale, that you are drawing the sensations of a healthy libido back into your body. At the same time, during every inhale, open up to release all sex-drivezapping stresses and tensions.

“Whether it is due to stress, a heavy workload, or high levels of anxiety, the desire to dive under the covers and make passionate love with your partner can wane” For the last 10 minutes of this meditation, lie on your back and imagine your body surrounded by the colour orange. This is the colour of the second chakra; the energy centre that heightens your feelings of sensuality. Repeat the mantra, “I am a sensual being.” Visualise ocean waves bringing sexual desire to the shores of your relationship.

Jill Lawson is a writer and yoga teacher living in south-west Colorado (


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Consciously creative 7 ways to switch on your conscious creativity and thrive. By By Nick Seneca Jankel


any of us are inspired by the unique power creativity has to improve our lives (and our world). The more we can create with the world, as opposed to react to it with habits and old beliefs, the more we thrive. Then we flourish not despite our challenges, but actually because of them. The more creative we become in the mundane moments and complexities of everyday life, the more we can metabolise our problems and worries into fuel for ever-more love and liberation. I’m not just talking about creativity in terms of art, crafts and the creative industries. We are talking about those quotidian acts of conscious creativity that drive a brilliant, rewarding and nourishing life: a new way to respond to our lover so we avoid a fight; a fresh approach to being a boss that inspires our team to embrace a new future; an innovative way to play with our kids so they can feel safer, happier, freer. Creativity is a fundamental driver of evolution and surviving; conscious creativity is the core driver of human growth, learning and thriving.

Unleash your creativity now: 1. REMEMBER YOU ARE CREATIVE IN YOUR DNA Pause for a moment and feel, right now, the hundreds of trillions of cells that make up your body/mind. Each one is alive and autopoetic (it creates itself). Which means you are creative in your essence, no matter what your old art teacher, uncle, or boss said to you. Every chromosome, cell membrane, organ, and neurone within you is fundamentally creative. You can break through anything you choose to. 2. BRING ALL YOUR ATTENTION TO A PROBLEM YOU WANT TO BREAKTHROUGH Although we want to let go of old ideas and habits, first we must bring a challenge and issue into our awareness, focusing our brain and body on it. It can be a challenge in our relationships, in our career, in our marketplace, in society. Anything is raw material for a problem. As we bring it to our attention, we signal to our brain and body that we are ready to create. 3. FEEL THE PROBLEM ALL OVER; DON’T JUST THINK ABOUT IT We are fully embodied minds. The science of embodied cognition is showing us that we think with our whole body, not just our brain. The insula cortex is able to sense our body’s intelligence and feed it into the emotional parts of the brain. Elite athletes and soldiers have highly developed insulas because they are so highly tuned to their bodily senses. The more we feel the problem, as opposed to just think about it, the more we recruit our emotionally-guided nervous system for a breakthrough. 4. NOTICE THE HABITUAL WAYS YOU HAVE OF DEALING WITH THIS PROBLEM OR ONES LIKE IT How do you usually react? What behaviours do you show? What thoughts do you have about the situation or any of the people in it? What do you assume about those involved? What are you being right about? What feelings do you usually have? Are any of them stressful, tense or fearful?


5. FIND YOUR STILL POINT TO STEP OUT YOUR COMFORT ZONE Before you can let go of all those old habits, assumptions and ideas it helps to reconnect your heart to something bigger than your worries and fears. What inspires you most about the creative spirit? Can you use mindfulness or meditation to find a stillpoint, where you can step out of your comfort zone? How can you unblock any connection you have to the universe you are intrinsically part of? 6. LET GO OF ANYTHING THAT HOLDS YOU IN THE PAST You can break through anything, if (and it’s a big if ) you are prepared to get out of the way of yourself by jettisoning each and every assumption that is holding you back. Take a break, have a bath, just start writing. Whatever it takes to let go. 7. LET THE ‘A-HA’ OUT Allow a fresh insight or idea to emerge from within. Allow it to come into your heart and mind without censorship, cynicism or self-criticism. Creativity is at its peak when we get out of the way of ourselves. You have to get the Tiny Me out of the way of the Great We so an a-ha can burst through you. In Taoism, this concept is called wei wu wei, which can roughly be translated as ‘doing not doing.’ Action is occurring. Things are being created. Yet it is not the ‘I,’ in the sense of the Tiny Me, that is doing all the work. We are totally attuned and attentive, yet have let go of control. This same concept is present in Indian wisdom as ‘actionless action.’ It is similar to the experiences people describe as flow states. When we do things in a way that doesn’t feel like there is an ‘I’ doing them – an I that is a small, fearful Tiny Me (our ego) – we allow breakthroughs to come through us. We become ‘entangled’ with the thing we are creating. We are the subject, object, and verb all at once. We are not merely the dancer; we are the dance and the dancing too. We are not just the scientist; we are the science itself. We are not just the lover; we are the loving and the lovemaking too. Ideas are not simply ‘ours.’ They come through us. We co-create them with the universe we are part of. The more we work at clearing out our old assumptions and letting go of control, the more ‘fitted’ and brilliant the ideas ‘we’ have.

Nick Seneca Jankel ( is the author of Switch On: Unleash Your Creativity & Thrive with the New Science and Spirit of Breakthrough, published by Watkins, an imprint of Watkins Media.

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Face your


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How yoga pits us against our deepest fears. By Mark Westmoquette


hen do you feel most fearful in your life: when you think about what might be lurking under the bed? Maybe

not anymore. As adults, we often build up fears around issues to do with various other things: our livelihood (job satisfaction, security, pay), relationships (does she love me? will he want to stay my friend?), our or others’ health (will I always have good physical health? I wish he would stop smoking), or our finances (do I have enough money? what if I can’t pay the rent/mortgage?). And these feelings of fear can fall anywhere on the spectrum: from subtle feelings of anxiety that can be hard to even notice, to full-blown panic attacks where we become paralysed by the intensity of emotion.

“Some fears can be very deep-seated, like our in-built human fear of death, or separation from our loved ones. Sometimes we can get afraid of fear itself.” Deep-rooted fear

Almost universally, we’re in denial about the amount of fear that we carry around. Some fears can be very deep-seated, like our in-built human fear of death, or separation from our loved ones. Sometimes we can get afraid of fear itself. In my recent yoga practice with my teacher, Jonathan Monks, I’ve been working on a movement where we roll our head all the way forwards, to the side, all the way back, and to the other side (doing our best to motivate the movement from the spine). For quite some months we’ve been concentrating on just the forward movement, allowing the head to fall forwards and the muscles along the back of the neck to relax. This month we started working on the falling back part. The result was surprising: the simple

movement of letting your head fall backwards has an incredible way of bringing you up against fear. Why are my muscles tensing? I know it’s safe, but I’m scared. What of? The structure of the neck is very complicated, with muscles, veins, arteries, your throat, larynx, spine, nerves, glands and lymph nodes all neatly arranged in that very small tube. Then there’s the weight of your head sitting on top of it. So it’s no wonder that you get protective over that area. For me, that act of letting the head fall back brought up feelings of lack of control, lack of trust, and a protectiveness over my physical body.

Overcoming fear

So how do we deal with fears like this? We use our skills of awareness and mindfulness. We remain present with it, not suppressing it nor acting on it. As my teacher would say, we “listen, feel, and allow”. By noticing it and allowing it to be, its power over us diminishes. By becoming aware of the fear, we have, in effect, stepped back, and with this perspective we can see the fear for what it is – just another emotion. We face it with a friendly, gentle, curious attitude and allow it to soften in its own time. The most important thing is to acknowledge it, and allow it to be there – our unwillingness to see these difficult things causes half the problems. And this is why this head rolling exercise is so enlightening. We can feel the effects of our fear very physically. The head rolls back and there’s the tension in the neck and shoulders, holding, over-protecting. We can be as present as we can with these sensations, noticing and exploring how they feel, and we can literally let the tensions soften when they’re ready. So we don’t have to be particularly bendy or strong to experience what yoga practice truly is. It’s simply a way of finding out more about ourselves: a practice of learning how to listen, feel, and allow, then learning how to put what we find into action in our daily lives.

Mark Westmoquette is a yoga and mindfulness teacher based in London (

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How what we say, and the very words that we choose to speak, can define our life experience. By Nina Mel

ver since I stopped teaching yoga classes and devoted myself to working with the ‘word’ (writing books and articles), I’ve realised something with more and more clarity: no matter what we devote ourselves to, as soon as we start to look at our chosen subject or activity more deeply, more attentively, and with more awareness, it becomes an instrument of spiritual growth and opportunity for self-realisation. It all becomes yoga. Long ago, we were all masters of Word Yoga. And we made use of that mastery: we could speak, creating the word that best suited the contents of our awareness in resonance with its energy and meaning. The word was a manifestation of consciousness, a direct and pure expression of the divine


in the material plane. And yet so many of us have forgotten what it is like to express our divine consciousness; we are no longer aware of what we think and, consequently, of what we say. The lack of resonance between the contents of our higher self and the sound waves we produce sullies the energy body, destroying the physical body, negatively affecting our DNA. In modern life, in our daily speech, we lose a massive amount of energy. We no longer express our higher self through the word.

Take back the word

But we can recall this ancient, powerful practice and include Word Yoga into our routine sadhana, on a par with practicing asanas and meditating. To start, choose one day of the week (for example, Wednesday,

the day of Mercury, who governs speech) and that entire day, from when you first wake until you turn in for the night, devote yourself to practicing Word Yoga. In every moment, practice awareness in the verbal expression of your self. Gradually incorporate Word Yoga into your daily practice. Like meditation and the practice of asanas, Word Yoga also requires time, patience, and effort. In undertaking this practice, you will discover how difficult it is at first, and how far we are – no matter how spiritually advanced we seem – from a clear awareness of the contents of our minds and of exactly what we are manifesting, by way of the word, into this world at every moment of our existence. Word Yoga requires that we develop total awareness.

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7 keys to practicing Word Yoga


STATE OF OBSERVATION Be aware of every word you speak. Check yourself to make sure the contents of your consciousness and your verbal expression are in sync. In other words, say what you think and think about what you say. Do not say what you do not think; do not lie, even in the details. When we think one thing while expressing a word into the world that is vibrationally out of resonance with the contents of our consciousness, we intensify the imbalance between the energetic and mental bodies, de-integrating them, which precipitates illness.


NOTICE TONE AND EMOTIONAL CONNOTATION Don’t speak out of anger or emotion. Pay attention to changes in the emotional connotations of your speech. How does this emotional connotation intensify and weaken, reflecting your state and the amount of emotion in your consciousness? Regulate your tone, avoiding sarcasm and the desire to speak in a condescending or patronising tone or, on the other hand, a servile tone, a ‘victim’s’ tone. Always think on what you are creating in that moment in the world through your word. Is it need? Injury? Anger? Disappointment? What emotions and energies penetrate into your word? While emotions need to be lived through our consciousness in order for us to be aware of them, not every thought and emotion must be manifested and expressed in reality. It’s always our choice. We are the active creators of our word and our reality. If the contents of your consciousness are not high vibration and not what you want to manifest, do not speak them.


ENERGY AND WORD TRASH Make sure you do not use the following in your speech: parasitic words, lowvibrational slang, profanity, and other energy trash that clutters your energy body and the space around you and negatively influences the consciousness of other people. Express yourself as clearly and purely as possible. This will, in turn, clear and structure the contents of your consciousness.


WORD INTENTION Track the motivation (intention) that underlies the expression of the particular word form you choose. Don’t say things you know may insult, injure, shame, tear down, hurt, or raise you above others. Don’t use words to manipulate people.


WORD SPEED Regulate the speed of verbal self-expression. Observe how it changes as your inner excitement and emotionality grows; how much you want to say per minute when you need attention; how you interrupt the word of others or don’t listen to what they say.


WORD VOLUME Consciously control your word’s volume, especially when you are particularly emotional. Do not overload your speech with unnecessary word volume.


WORD QUANTITY AND QUALITY Learn to express yourself tersely and clearly. The more you dilute your speech, the more chaos is in your consciousness. Control the quantity and quality of your word. Remember that it is your creation, a creation of your own self and your own reality. The way it will be depends only on you.


Regular Word Yoga practice can radically transform our consciousness, improve interpersonal relations, and change our entire manifested reality. We stop arguing over small things, expressing discontent, complaining, gossiping, using profanity and words that sully the energy body. We stop wasting energy on empty conversations and interactions with negative people. We stop lying. The words we vocalise become more synchronised with the contents of our consciousness, which reflects the truth of our higher selves. The Vishuddha chakra (throat centre) clears; throat illnesses disappear. Words influence our DNA, so our physical body balances and heals. The physical, energy, and mental bodies clear, heal, and synchronise. We become more wholesome, more real, and begin to express our real selves in the world. Word Yoga heals us, our surroundings, and the people who interact with us. Our speech becomes charismatic and our positive influence on people intensifies. As it is perfected, the strength, purity, and quality of our word also increases; it begins to consciously create reality. What is said comes to pass. It isn’t magic; it’s resonance. Word Yoga intensifies the connection and resonance with the spiritual body. The word becomes a full, fast, and effective path to divine realisation. Practice every day and observe the rapid positive changes in yourself and your life.


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Moving pictures Artist’s life and work illuminated by yoga


K artist and designer Simon Waterman has turned his love for all things yoga into some inspiring artwork. The battery powered handmade illuminated spiritual images and symbols light up when you move, effectively bringing your living room or studio space to life. The creative collection was inspired by Waterman’s own yoga practice. Yoga, he says, helped him to overcome severe illness following the death of his mother three years ago. “In 2012 I suffered a major breakdown, rendering me housebound and suicidal. After 18 months of failed therapeutic and pharmacological interventions something inside just clicked; I knew I had to fight this illness, so I started regular yoga practice and meditation.” He says the results were almost immediate. “I found peace, better health and focus, which helped me channel my energy into my new business.” Combining his skills as a product designer, a digital designer and animator, his range of artwork uses technology in a beautiful and unique way. We think it’s a great addition to the yoga art world. View more images at:


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om spirit Ayurvedic clinic:

Find perfect balance and health through ayurveda, yoga’s sister science. By Thomas Mueller


he concept of colour therapy or ‘chromotherapy’ and the positive influence of sunlight in the treatment of particular diseases goes back thousands

of years. And for good reason. Colour has its own energy vibration which can either increase or reduce the flow of energy through a specific organ. It also has a very specific effect on the different organs and organ systems of the body, thus balancing any organ or system that may have become abnormal in its functioning or condition. Consider the actual colour of the sun as being white. It is only when the light from the sun passes through the earth’s atmosphere that it changes to the yellow we perceive when we look up in the sky. The most complete colour is represented in its ultimate form by the white light of the sun. It is the pure prana, or life-restoring energy of nature, which in its essence contains the full colour spectrum: violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. These can be seen as the seven rays of the sun, both physical and subtler bodies. Ayurveda recognises colour as the pranic life force nutrition that energises each cell.

Clinical practice

In clinical practice, I use colour therapy in three different ways: n  Gem frequency therapy, using modern technology combined with precious gemstones n P rescription of gemstones based on your vedic astrology horoscope


n E lemental colour consultation to balance the flow of prana between the physical and subtler bodies DOSHA COLOURS. The three doshas, Vata (space and air), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (water and earth), are a condensed expression of the five elements. Each of these elements has an associated colour: n Space – indigo n Air – blue n Fire – red n Water – silver n Earth – yellow

How you can use colours

Getting an understanding of your own elemental colour scheme based on your ayurvedic skin tone helps you to get closer to your real self, the person you are in essence. How? By stripping away mental and emotional behaviour patterns that could suppress your true nature and prevent you from being well and living life to your fullest potential. INDIGO: colour of the awareness body. Instantaneously links your individual self with your higher self and thus activates your very own inner self-repair mechanism. BLUE: the colour of the mental body. Blue, the first of the three primary colours, representing vata dosha in ayurveda, brings clarity, enhances creativity and intelligence. RED: the colour of the energy body.

Red, the natural colour of pitta dosha, known to enhance digestion and all metabolic activities. Improves absorption and self-confidence. SILVER: the colour of the emotional body. Balances the emotional body, brings a sense of serenity and detachment, enables you to relate and understand others with ease and comfort. YELLOW: the colour of the physical body. Yellow, the final of the three primary colours in ayurveda, is related to kapha dosha. Grounding earthy yellow hues provide a sense of harmony, safety and security.

Which colour will you choose?

Anything we do, be it work, exercise, eating or the colours we choose to wear on a daily basis, can offer the key to ‘balance’ in our lives. Energy needs to flow. An unobstructed flow of prana supports the experience of wellbeing. Choosing a specific colour with a specific purpose not only helps in aligning the five elemental bodies but also more importantly allows the full free flow of prana.

Thomas Mueller is a London-based ayurvedic practitioner and wellbeing stylist and a member of the Ayurvedic Practitioners Association (

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Sanskrit (from Ayush meaning lifespan)…



Veda Sanskrit

(from vid meaning to know)…




A young woman, aged 33, came to the clinic suffering from eczema, poor memory and what she called ‘mood swings’. Whilst taking her pulse I realised the amount of heat and aggression she was storing. Her condition was influenced by a stressful life as a finance manager in a large company. Over a period of four months her physical condition improved considerably, however, her mood was still mostly down and she lacked confidence despite her successful career. One day, I asked if she always wore black, even outside work. The answer was ‘yes’, and when I asked her why, she said it was because it made her feel safe. We agreed to do an assessment where we discussed the relationship between her exterior appearance and her mental and emotional state. ANALYSIS GENERAL: lack of space and air elements, excess of earth element EMOTIONAL TYPE: earth, withdrawal and mood swings, tendency towards depression, lethargy, lack of motivation and flexibility, too serious and unapproachable. MENTAL TYPE: fire, internal heat, analytical and critical of herself, rigid in her thinking, serious and intense in nature. Wearing mostly black prevents lightness to come in on all levels, enhancing her rigidity and lack of openness and responsiveness.

Colour has its own energy vibration which can either increase or reduce the flow of energy through a specific organ. SUGGESTIONS GENERAL: increase the elements of space and air. EMOTIONAL TYPE: suggested introducing colours from the space and air scheme (blue and indigo tints) to allow her to get in touch with her higher self and to cool down her emotional turmoil. MENTAL TYPE: adding tints from the blues and indigo range to allow her to increase creativity and to create a readiness to change, allowing her to be more playful. Colour choices were supported by wearing clothing that was flowing and less stiff and formal.

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



OUTCOME After a few weeks I noticed she walked with more confidence and mentioned that, by wearing the colour purple, she felt that she was no longer alone and somehow more connected to herself. She also noted that people had started talking to her and complimenting her on her transformation. Finally, this client was able to open herself up to be seen and valued for what she does and who she really is.

Qualified Trained Insured Ayurvedic Professionals

For your health needs

om living Vegan raw food quiche with nut filling and vegetables


There’s something for everyone in the world of raw food. By Laura Wilson


aw foodism and, in particular, raw veganism (since it’s rare to eat raw animal products), has gained traction over the past 20 years or so. Raw food blogs, radio shows and magazines are growing at a great rate; raw vegan and gourmet raw restaurants and cooking classes are popping up all over the place. The term ‘raw vegan’ itself has gone from being associated with tie-dyewearing animal-rights activists to more mainstream, associated with celebrities and city professionals. So what’s so good about this raw food movement? To a large extent, the growing hype around raw food, and specifically, strictly raw vegan food, is justified. Even when we eat homemade nutritious food, the process of cooking can cause it to lose up to 80% of its nutrients, whereas eating raw means we retain all the wonderful live enzymes, vitamins and minerals.


Certainly, eating an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables can do wonders for your health and your waistline. Raw veganism is great for the planet and animals too. It’s a well-documented fact that a primary cause of our world’s pollution and depleting resources is from industries directly associated with cooked food; in particular, factory farming and fast-food. So what do you actually eat on a raw food diet? Many hardcore meat eaters can’t imagine anything remotely palatable that hasn’t been cooked. They’re convinced they’d starve on a raw diet, mainly because they think that all they can eat is lettuce and apples. This couldn’t be further from the truth. With a little creativity raw food opens up a whole new and wonderful eating experience. Yes, it can be as simple as eating ‘monomeals’ of fruit, such as six oranges or five mangoes or a few pounds of strawberries or blueberries. Or it can be as complicated and fancy as a raw cacao torte and whipped

cashew cream, or a spinach, tomato and mushroom quiche. From green smoothies to large salads, there’s something for everyone.

Which raw food diet is best? There are many different ways of eating a ‘raw food’ diet. Here are some of the main ones:

100% Raw

Here, you can eat anything, as long as it’s 100% raw, which obviously means that you eat no cooked food whatsoever. So, one meal you could be eating a low fat salad, the next could be a rich and creamy cashew raw lasagne. Living in a cold country, this may be too hard to do for some people, but easier in tropical climates.

High Raw

This includes some cooked foods. So maybe one meal a day might be cooked and the rest raw. Strictly speaking, if a person eats

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Raw food cupcakes with nutcream and blueberry

‘high raw’, it doesn’t necessarily have to be vegan. Before I went vegan, I used to eat a high raw vegetarian diet. Going from high raw vegetarian to high raw vegan has made a great difference in my overall health and energy levels though.

day and then cooked foods after 4pm. This is a great compromise for people who like a hearty cooked meal in the evenings, as well as raw food. The diet is becoming popular especially amongst younger people on a budget and among athletes.

Gourmet Raw

Alkaline 5 Diet

This is the type of food you get in posh restaurants. Typically, gourmet raw dishes are not simple, bog-standard fruit and vegetable, fibre-rich foods. They tend to be high-fat and more refined. Think dehydrated flax seed and garlic crackers, or dense, processed chocolate, nut and coconut oil cakes. Gourmet raw food tastes great but it can be expensive, while the high fat content may make you feel lethargic or promote weight gain. When I first went vegan, I ate gourmet raw for a while, replacing cooked grains, potatoes and breads with nuts and seeds. It made me put on weight and lose fitness. When I actually analysed my diet in terms of macronutrient content, I found that over 55% of my daily calories were from fat, which is too high. This is not unusual with new zealous raw foodies, who want to try every gourmet recipe going. So be careful of this.

High Carb Raw Vegan

This means 100% raw, with high carbohydrate and low protein. It can be a great diet to follow if you can deal with no cooked and warming food whatsoever.

Raw Till 4

This diet means you eat low fat raw foods all Raw food wrap with vegan ingredients and green pesto

Similar to high raw and Raw Till 4 but with a focus on including more alkalising leafy greens, such as kale, spinach and wheatgrass. Alkaline greens are full of chlorophyll, which is similar to our own blood’s haemoglobin and therefore has regenerative and healing properties, as well as being energising and weight-regulating. You also eat five specific meals per day, which means that it’s easy to get the correct balance of nutrients in highly tasty forms every day. The addition of an abundance of raw foods can really transform your life and relationship with food and eating, so embrace it and enjoy it. Whatever your motives for going raw whether you’re looking to dip your toe in, or jump in with both feet - a focus on eating higher carbohydrate and low fat is much more important than eating strictly 100% raw. The reason is that our bodies and brain run on simple carbs and not on fat, which can slow things down and have an adverse effect on your health. Bear this in mind above all else.

The Alkaline 5 Diet by Laura Wilson is out now from Hay House (

As a teacher of Yoga you need the confidence from knowing that your finances are being looked after in a personalised manner. By accountants who understand your requirements and can maximise your potential, not high street accountants who will overcharge and do not understand your business. We can offer a full accounting service to all teachers of Yoga, whether employed, franchise or self-employed, including completion of accounts and submission of your tax return. We provide our clients with a first class service tailored to your needs. We also provide advice on how to further develop your business, and are there to help you achieve all of your goals, be they an integrated business plan, access to finance or specialist tax advice. All of this is offered to you at an excellent price. So start the new financial year as you mean to go on, in safe hands. We are offering special introductory offers to Yoga professionals, for more information contact David at Jarman Accountancy on email quoting ‘OMYOGA15’ or by phoning us at 07717 677588.


Up Raw om living

Join the raw revolution: yummy recipes to transform your kitchen and your life

Breakfast Bliss Bars Makes: 12

Ingredients • • • • • • • •

2 cups macadamia nuts or walnuts ¾ cup raw honey or agave nectar 1 Tbsp. raw coconut butter or shreds 2 cups cherries or dried cranberries 1 Tbsp. cinnamon 1 Tbsp. maca-root powder 1 tsp. dried ginger root 1 tsp. sea salt

Method 1.

In a food processor, process nuts down to a meal and add in cinnamon, maca, ginger, and sea salt. Pulse until well combined. Add in coconut butter or shreds and 1¼ cups cherries or cranberries. Process to a thick paste and add in ½ cup desired sweetener from the top while processing. Continue processing until dough ball forms. 2. In a small bowl, combine remaining fruit and sweetener. Then press out dough mixture in a medium-size glass container, top with fruit mixture, and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator and cut into desired shapes. Enjoy all week long!

Image and recipe: Raw Basics by Jenny Ross (Hay House, £12.99) Available from


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Freggies Serves: 2

Ingredients • • • • • • •

5 strawberries, chopped ½ apple, any variety, chopped 1 handful arugula 1 orange bell pepper, chopped ½ cucumber, chopped ¼ cup chopped cashews Juice of ½ lime*

Method 1.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.

Image and recipe: Make Your Own Rules Diet by Tara Stiles. Published by Hay House £18.99


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Sweet Miso Soup Makes 2 entrée-size or 4 appetizer servings.


Ingredients • • • • • • • • •

2 cups coconut water or Basic Vegetable Stock 2 Tbsp. miso paste 1 green onion 1 Tbsp. tahini 1 yellow squash, cut in quarters 2 shiitake mushrooms (optional) 1 clove garlic 1 tsp. sea salt

For • • •

garnish: ½ cup dulse 1 Hass avocado, sliced Vegetables of choice

Method 1.

In a blender, combine all soup ingredients until rich and creamy. Pour into bowls for serving and top with garnishes.

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Stuffed Avocados Serves: 8

Ingredients •

4 avocados

For the filling (select from the following): Sweet: • ½ cup pomegranate seeds and/or • dried cranberries • 2 cups diced apples • 2 cups Smoky Ranchero Sauce • 2 cups chopped spinach Savory: • ½ cup walnuts • 2 cups diced cucumber • 2 cups Whipped Avocado Spread • 2 cups finely chopped kale

Method 1.

To prepare the avocados for stuffing, slice lengthwise and remove pits. Scoop out half of soft flesh using a fruit scoop or a spoon, leaving a small layer still attached inside the skin. Dice the removed avocado flesh and set aside. 2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for chosen filling and toss so the mixture is well combined. Lay out avocados, and top evenly with mixture. Finish by garnishing with the fresh diced avocado. If you’re making this dish in advance, spritz a little lemon or lime juice over the garnish to keep it looking bright green. Sprinkle with a gourmet salt right before serving to enhance flavour and add colour.

Images and recipes: Raw Basics by Jenny Ross (Hay House, £12.99) Available from


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Images and recipes: Raw Basics by Jenny Ross (Hay House, ÂŁ12.99) Available from


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‘Fried’ Avocado mini tostadas Makes 6 mini-tostadas

Ingredients For • • • • • • •

the “fried” avocados: 2 large Hass avocados 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 Tbsp. tahini 1 Tbsp. lemon juice 2 cups ground golden flaxseed 1½ Tbsp. sea salt 1 dash cayenne pepper (optional)

For • • • • • • •

the mini-tostadas: 6 Tostadito Shells 1½ cups Pumpkin-Seed Cheese 1 cup Cilantro Sauce 2 cups julienned cucumbers ½ cup corn 4 cups chopped spinach 1 cup dulse* (optional)

Method 1.

Begin by cutting the avocados in half lengthwise and removing the pits. Slice lengthwise into ½-inch-thick strips and spoon flesh carefully out of skin. 2. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, and 1 tsp. sea salt. Coat the avocado in the oil mixture. 3. On a plate, combine the ground golden flaxseed, remaining salt, and a dash of cayenne, if desired. Coat the avocado carefully, like breading, with the flax mixture, and lay on an uncovered dehydrator tray. Dehydrate at 115° for 4 hours. Dehydrating longer will make for drier avocados, versus a creamier texture after less time. This is a matter of personal preference, and the avocados can be enjoyed even without dehydrating. 4. To prepare the tostadas, begin by combining the cucumber, spinach, corn, and dulse in a medium-size bowl. Coat well with Cilantro Sauce and set aside for immediate use. Line up Tostadito Shells, top each with ¼ cup Pumpkin-Seed Cheese, and spread evenly. Follow with a layer of ½ cup vegetable mixture, and top with 2–3 ‘fried’ avocado slices each.

Cacao Avocado Pudding Serves: 3-4

Ingredients • • • • • •

4 Hass avocados 1 cup coconut water ½ cup raw honey 1 cup raw cacao 1 tsp. cinnamon 1 tsp. sea salt

Method 1.

Begin by slicing the avocados lengthwise and removing pits. 2. Then scoop out flesh from skins. Combine all ingredients in a blender, loading the liquids first, and blend on high for 30–45 seconds. 3. Scrape out pudding and refrigerate. This recipe keeps for up to 4 days in the refrigerator and is best served chilled.


om living Nutrition Zone:

SPRING DETOX Spring is a great time to think detoxification, so let’s give that liver of yours a break. By Elizabeth Montgomery


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ringtime has arrived. Now is the time when the earth is bursting to life with new growth and ever increasing daylight hours. But did you know that the expansive energy of early spring makes it the ideal time to detoxify? Everyone should now be thinking about spring detoxification, which starts, and ends, with a healthy liver. This remarkable and complex organ plays an important role in metabolism. One of its most important metabolic functions is the detoxification of toxic chemicals, drugs and hormones, both those that are made in the body and those that come from external sources. The liver inactivates these substances and sends them onto biochemical, or physiological pathways that lead to excretion via the bowel, kidneys, lungs or skin. It is also a major blood reservoir, filtering out toxins at the rate of approximately 1.5 litres of blood every minute. Another important function of the liver is to produce bile (a yellow alkaline fluid), anywhere from 440-800 ml daily. Without bile, most food would remain undigested or only partially digested. It’s required in the breakdown of fats, and helps to regulate levels of beneficial micro flora. Moreover, it’s crucial for the peristaltic, or muscle action, that assists in the removal of food waste passing through the colon - which helps to prevent constipation. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TMC), the spring seasonal cycle corresponds with the wood element which governs the liver and gallbladder region of the body. TMC considers the liver to be the organ most strongly affected by our emotional states. Conversely, it has long been recognised that when the liver is congested, then toxic emotions like anger become more likely to arise. Therefore, signs

THINGS TO AVOID Fried foods Excess alcohol Damaged heated fats Glutinous grains Excess animal protein Processed foods Chronic stress Household chemicals Smoking Artificial sweeteners MSG High fructose corn syrup Cow’s cheese

of liver congestion may include physical and emotional symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vision disturbances, PMS, anger, irritability or jealousy. There are many dietary and lifestyle factors that determine whether or not the liver is able to detoxify and produce adequate bile. For example, liver congestion can be the result of overeating, fried foods, stress, excess alcohol, or unprocessed emotional states. The good news is that the liver has amazing rejuvenating abilities, and continues to function when up to 80% of its cells are damaged. What’s even more remarkable, the liver is able to regenerate its own damaged tissue. 10 key foods to support liver health and detoxification:

1. Lemons

Lemon contains a powerful phytonutrient called limonene which helps stimulate the liver detoxification pathways. It’s especially beneficial when taken in the morning in a glass of water to assist the liver in its removal of toxins.

2. Garlic

Garlic has high amounts of allicin and selenium, two natural compounds that assist in liver cleansing. When taken raw, it has the ability to activate liver enzymes and help flush out toxins from the system.

3. Sour Foods

In Chinese medicine, the flavour sour is associated with the wood element and liver health. Sour foods such as raw sauerkraut, plums or dill pickles help to open up the liver detoxification pathways and prepare the digestive tract for food.

4. Green Vegetables

Green vegetables are high in plant chlorophylls which help to remove toxins from the blood stream. They also have the ability to neutralise heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides, offering powerful protection for the liver.

5. Artichokes

Artichokes are prized for two liver enhancing phytonutrients: cynarin and silymarin. Cynarin is an antioxidant which aids the liver in producing bile, and silymarin is a flavonoid that aids the protection of liver cells. Additionally, both of these help to regenerate the liver.

LOVE YOUR LIVER Great lifestyle tips for your liver: EARLY TO BED: this is important as the liver detoxifies between 1-3am EAT CLEAN: choose natural and organic foods to reduce liver congestion REDUCE STRESS: aim to incorporate calming practices into your daily routine like meditation or yoga PROCESS EMOTIONS: to walk, talk or exercise out uncomfortable emotional states LIMIT ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS: reduce exposure to toxins by choosing natural household cleaning products

6. Turmeric

The curcuminoids in turmeric are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. A key spice traditionally used to decongest the liver, and assist in bile production.

7. Avocado

Avocados are a rich source of glutathione (a type of antioxidant), which helps the liver to clear itself of harmful fats and environmental toxins.

8. Green tea

Green tea is rich in antioxidants known as catechins, a type of antioxidant that boosts liver function and helps reduce fat storage.

9. Beetroot and carrots

These two root vegetables are high in beta carotene and flavonoids. Grating these raw into salads can help to stimulate and improve overall liver function.

10. Walnuts

Walnuts are high in glutathione and omega 3 fatty acids, which support the liver during the cleansing process.

Elizabeth Montgomery is a London-based holistic nutritional therapist (


living om family

Little yogis How yoga is helping children with cancer at one pioneering US hospital


n Amie Koronczok’s ‘Little Yogis’ class, the sound of a child’s laughter is the surest sign of peace and wellbeing. This American yoga teacher is piloting a special programme for pediatric cancer patients undergoing aggressive treatments at the MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital at the University of Texas. Her goal: to alleviate stress and physical pain, improve quality of life and make cancer treatment more bearable for both the patients and their families. “The programme provides the kids with a much-needed break from their illness,” says Koronczok. “For me, it’s an amazing learning experience: I can’t come with a plan in mind. I have to adapt and adjust based on who is in class on any given day: a toddler or a pre-teen, or a patient who had chemotherapy that week, for instance. Or, I may have a patient from another country who doesn’t speak English.”

Pioneering programme

The Little Yogis programme is a joint effort conceived by MD Anderson’s pioneering Integrative Medicine Programme and the Division of Pediatrics. It came about following discussions with patients and families about potential new initiatives and therapies that could improve their experiences at the hospital.


om living The programme began last summer and is believed to be the first of its kind to use yoga to help children with cancer cope with the enormous emotional and physical side effects associated with treatment. Initially designed for patients ranging in ages from six to 12, the class is now also offered to children as young as three and as old as 17. Koronczok developed her creative teaching methods especially for children. She teaches yoga poses and principles through stories, pictures, drawings and plays. With older kids, she uses yoga as a way for them to have fun and relax and, at least for a moment, forget that they are patients. The yoga instructor tailors each class to fit the age group, patients’ moods and unique abilities or challenges, such as treatmentrelated disabilities. Parents and siblings are also welcome to participate.

Yoga therapy

An avid runner, Koronczok began practicing yoga in 2008 at the encouragement of a friend who suggested it could help boost her training regimen. Initially skeptical, after a few months, she was totally hooked and realised that yoga had become a way of life. She joined MD Anderson in 2013, a year after she received her yoga teaching certification. “I think of myself as a caretaker,” she says. “I listen to patients’ stories and learn about their lives all while helping them cope with cancer. It’s a very fulfilling experience.”

She also works with adult patients as part of a yoga research programme led by Dr. Lorenzo Cohen, world-renowned director of MD Anderson’s Integrative Medicine Programme. In this role, she teaches mind and body relaxation techniques with breast cancer patients. Her classes include light physical exercises, guided imagery, and breathing techniques to decrease the side effects of radiotherapy. The clinical staff at MD Anderson are full of praise for how the yoga therapy is woven into the treatment and care of patients at the centre. “Little Yogis represents a new approach to integrative medicine at MD Anderson, and we are excited about its potential to help improve our youngest patients’ quality of life during cancer treatment,” says Catherine PowersJames, a clinical psychologist at MD Anderson in the Integrative Medicine Programme and co-designer of Little Yogis. “For families, it offers an unexpected time of relaxation in a place and situation that is anything but – the pediatric arm of a cancer hospital.”

“Her goal: to alleviate stress and physical pain, improve quality of life and make cancer treatment more bearable for both the patients and their families. ”

Teach children the infinite wisdom of yoga

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Conscious Parenting Don’t ever lose that loving feeling. By Siri Arti

TENDERNESS TIPS n L ook after yourself

In a cafe, with my mother, I found myself observing a couple handling a very small baby, with a gentleness that brought a lump to my throat. It’s rare to see people handling others with such delicate love. Lost in thought on the lack of gentleness in the world, and silently commending these parents, I heard my mother say: “It won’t be long before you lose that tender touch.” In my horrified state, I added to the couple: “The lack of gentleness in my childhood led me to spend a small fortune on psychotherapy, and I am still known to shed a tear whenever someone touches me with kindness.” As the couple tenderly wrapped up their bundle of joy to leave, I gave them permission to never lose their gentleness with their lucky little babe: “If there is one thing you keep as parents, let it be your loving touch. It will be the magic ingredient to help you through any situation with that sweet child.” Let’s bring back the gentleness to parenting. It takes both time and awareness to address this; awareness to notice where on the gentleness barometer you sit, and time to bring about necessary changes within your family nest. Most importantly: are you kind to yourself? If you are, you will be able to spread this message from the top of the family, down to the smallest child. If you are not, get on board the tenderness programme immediately. Siri Arti is the founder of Starchild Yoga (

n S peak kindly to one another n T ake time to cuddle n R ead stories and enjoy the togetherness n K iss your children hello, goodbye, and anytime in-between n A nd don’t forget to touch each other with love wherever possible n K indness will heal the world

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om living Yoga & Aromatherapy:

Grapefruit Oil (Citrus paradisi) April signals the beginning of spring and, with Easter on its way, suddenly everything seems to be coming up yellow. The best way to put a spring in your step this month is to use grapefruit oil (Citrus paradisi). Grapefruit essential oil has a wonderful aroma that’s both refreshing and uplifting. While grapefruit can be used anytime, its aroma blends well with the beautiful spring weather. It’s uplifting, helps boost the immune system, and can treat colds and flu. To make the most of this purifying oil burn a couple of drops in an oil burner or diffuser; the scent of the oil will fill the room uplifting the mind and body. It will also act as a disinfectant clearing out any bugs and germs, spring cleaning your room or the studio. For a spring detoxing treatment: mix 1-2 drops of grapefruit oil into some coconut oil and rub into the skin for a detoxing massage. Incorporate lots of twisting asanas into your yoga to increase the detoxing. Grapefruit is phototoxic so avoid direct sunlight 12 hours before and after using. And avoid during first trimester of pregnancy.

By Julia White (


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My yoga business

What’s in a name? How to name your yoga business (without angst or panic). By Corrina Gordon-Barnes


h, naming your yoga business. It can cause so much angst. Time and again, I hear from a self-employed man or woman who feels they can’t move forward because they don’t know what to call their business. Let’s use the analogy of naming a baby. When someone finds out they’re bringing a new person into the world, there’s not usually an immediate panic: “Oh my gosh, we’ve just conceived and so we need to have a name right now.” Instead, there’s a sense of trust that this embryo will grow and develop and over time it will let its parents know who it is. Sometimes, the name happens while the baby is still in utero - the parents realise a name has come to them that feels just right: “Ah, that’s the name of my baby”. And sometimes, a name doesn’t emerge until the baby is out in the world, perhaps in the arms of its carers. Once it’s been fully seen, in its unique identity, the name comes.

“Let’s use the analogy of naming a baby. When someone finds out they’re bringing a new person into the world, there’s not usually an immediate panic” Don’t panic

So, don’t panic if your business hasn’t given you its name yet. Give your venture time to grow and show you who it is. Even when somebody is sure what their baby or business is called, babies and businesses have a way of shaking things up – because they have a life of their own. Your baby or business makes up its own mind. You undoubtedly know somebody who doesn’t go by their birth name – whether they’ve taken on a nickname, a spiritual name, or a different name for their choice. Similarly, at some point, your business may want a different name. I’ve seen this happen time and again with very successful business people; at some point on their journey, their old business name simply no longer fits them. Yes, changing a name is a hassle; with a business, it might involve registering a different domain name, changing business cards, and other practical steps, but it’s the same as when a person changes their name - if it matters enough, the hassle is manageable.

Don’t sweat it

You wouldn’t let a baby continue on their life’s journey without a name – in fact, you’re not legally allowed to – so don’t leave your business on hold while you’re fretting over the perfect name. Let your business have a life, listen for the name that suits it now, and when it comes to you, go with it, knowing that changing it down the road is a possibility.

Corrina’s popular course, Turn Your Passion to Profit, starts again soon; get front of the queue at:


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My yoga business: Teacher tales

Perfectly imperfect Just be yourself, no matter what they say. By Paula Hines “It’s such a relief to find out you’re a real person!” This is the response I was met with at a party recently. I was invited along by a new acquaintance. On my arrival, I pulled out the bottle of wine I’d brought as a gift for the host and when I was asked what I would like to drink I said, “A glass of red would be great please – thanks!” This was met with raised eyebrows. And later that evening while chatting, when I revealed that I’d had gone through some stressful times in the past three years that had negatively affected my health there was more surprise, “But you’re a yoga teacher? How can you get stressed?” I was amused further when even later I learned that they had all assumed that because I teach yoga, they would need to be on their best behaviour around me that evening. It’s not the first time I’ve had this kind of experience and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last. And I know I am not alone. How many times have you experienced assumptions being made about you because you teach yoga? And how do you respond? I love yoga. But I have other interests too. I like green juice, but I


also like cake and I am not vegan. I don’t pretend to be anything other than myself and I am certainly not perfect. I just do the best I can with what I have in that moment. I do better some days than others. Yet I still find there are assumptions made about my character purely based on the fact that I teach yoga. When I started teaching and first encountered this I would worry about whether my behaviour was at odds with the perceived image of what a yoga teacher is supposed to be. But I soon saw how silly this was – whose expectations was I meant to be living up to? I live in a busy Western city, not in an ashram in the Himalayas. And, just like anyone who comes to the classes I teach, I have day-to-day responsibilities and ups and downs. So yes, I am a real person. Perfectly imperfect. Just as your teaching style will appeal to some people more than others, there are some people who will always see you as they wish to. And that’s okay. Keep it real, folks.

Paula Hines is a London-based yoga teacher (

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Teachekr Spea

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


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


Anatomically Speaking

‘Activate the Core’ is a colloquial instruction used to describe abdominal contraction, hip flexor engagement, pelvic placement, lower back support mechanisms, inner thigh squeeze, and many, many more options dependent on the teacher and the yoga immersion weekend from which they’ve just returned. It is mistranslated frequently into never-ending abdominal contractions in preparation for bikini season. Because

of this wide range of precise and confused possibilities it is unclear what if anything teachers actually mean. Simply, the core is present in the forces that provide support and integration from the diaphragm down to the pelvis’s juncture with the legs. The core supports vulnerable regions including the lower back and sacroiliac joint. It contracts and expands for breath through the lower abdomen. The core lifts lower limbs to upper or upper limbs to lower especially in inversions, arm balances, and jumping transitions. Core activation ensures a posture works as one unit by providing an energetic focal point that powers, connects, and structures what would otherwise be a mass of flailing limbs. Often forgotten, it can also be deactivated, rested, and released.

Spiritually speaking

Deeply connected to vanity in modern society, many students and teachers can have numerous emotional entanglements

with the core that require sensitivity and skill to overcome. As the physically strengthening and integrative component of asana, core should be used as an anatomical metaphor for activating one’s deeper strength and wisdom. As contrast to an emotionally expressive ‘heart opening’ practice, a ‘core activation’ practice is much more than repeated planks and boat poses. Core focused practice develops the physical skill to support expressive postures and the concurrent mental and emotional clarity to see their revelations with grounded clarity. Beyond ego, beyond transient emotion, and rooted within our physical centre of gravity – the core is by its very description that without which we could not function. This is an essential instruction for a strong and integrated practice. However, it may be best out of a therapeutic environment to embrace a broad, functional, and spiritually infused definition. By Adam Hocke (


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How To Be A Yoga Rockstar:

Part 2 of 9

Start to glimpse your future life and turn those dreams into reality. By Martin D. Clark

Dream The (Im)Possible Dream


tarting out on any big new venture in life is always exciting (and even a little scary). When it comes to career moves and decisions, that’s especially true: it’s effectively your whole future that awaits. It’s certainly true if your destination is ‘yoga instructor’. Yes, it’s a step into the unknown and a daunting challenge, but all good things require a leap of faith at some point. If it’s worth having, then it’s worth working for. What better way to earn a living than doing what you love doing? Yoga is an opportunity to do just that. Before you take the plunge, start to imagine what that future might look like for you; try and live and breathe just what that feels like.


While you’re poring over the teacher training brochures (and fretting over the costs), wistfully dreaming of hosting luxe retreats in the Seychelles, there are plenty of things you can do right now to propel you into the future you desire. Yes, that means taking lots of yoga classes, developing a home practice, and reading up on your subject. But now is also the time to really tune in to what you want out of this new career, this new life. It’s time to manifest that bright new future. One of yoga’s most popular clothing brands, lululemon (, are great at getting employees doing this: drawing up goals and visions that will inspire them in the years ahead. The aim is to create a long-term vision (maybe 20 years from now) but with practical short-term steps to follow that

will guide you toward that path. Do it with a vision board. Put a great picture of yourself in the middle, and slap on any images or inspiring quotes that will propel you forward. Think of the teachers you love; studios you enjoy visiting; or amazing retreats on the other side of the world. It’s all up for grabs as you start to manifest that fantastic future of yours. Really go to town, and don’t be put off by any mundane practicalities or barriers at this point; this is your time to dream, so think big, and be bold. Remember what did Martin Luther King Jr once said: you don’t have to see the whole staircase; just take the first step.

Next time: What makes a great teacher? How To Be A Yoga Rockstar: The Ultimate Guide To Making A Living Teaching Yoga is out now. Visit:

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anorexia Nathalie Doswald describes her personal journey back to her ‘self ’ and to wellness through yoga


himsa, or non-harm, is one of the most important yamas; it refers not only to not harming others but also not harming one’s self,” said my soon-to-be mentor during my first yoga class at popular Cambridge yoga studio, Camyoga. In my down-dog position, tears welled up as I gazed upon my emaciated and scarred wrists. I would never hurt a fly, let alone another human being. But at that moment, I realised that I was a criminal and the victim was myself. I was hurting myself. I had starved, cut, and tried to kill myself. I was very far from ahimsa.


I had had anorexia and depression on and off for nearly 20 years. I have been hospitalised many times and had treatment; yet here I was again, dying to be thin. Anorexia is an illness. That was something I understood. Yet I still felt incredibly guilty when it dawned on me that harming myself might be just as bad as harming someone else in the yogic world. Still, the lack of judgement and compassion I could see in my yoga teacher’s eyes provided a balm to my worries; it gave me the courage to start to pull away from this most vicious mental disease. I started my yoga teacher training not long after that class (even though I felt at the time

that I would never be ‘good enough’ as a person to be a yoga instructor). Throughout that year, long training, and coupled with specific therapy, I finally started to heal in a way I had never before.

Towards recovery

I have had a lot of therapy in the past: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Cognitive Analytical Therapy, and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy just to mention a few. They all gave me greater awareness of my illness and my mind, as well as ‘tools’ to help me in recovery. But I never connected to any of these. I learnt to analyse but I never learnt to feel. Blocking or controlling feelings is the main

om actions “But it was discovering yoga’s ancient texts that guided me successfully towards recovery. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras became my self-help manual.” reason for an eating disorder. Yet it only increases the suffering. Yoga finally helped me to feel, to connect and to transform myself. The main yogic building blocks (asana and meditation) taught in classes, helped along the way, but only through my connecting to ‘me’ through them. Through yoga – union. However, yoga is not something that necessarily ‘happens’ during a class. You have to let it. You have to let go. Working on asanas, I strengthened and connected to a body that was becoming healthier. This was no easy task. There were times when my body just ached and where even restorative yoga hurt my malnourished body. With meditation and mindfulness, I also started to identify and allow feelings, learning that they simply pass if you don’t block them. I also reduced the hold on my mind of negative thoughts (or at least learnt I did not have to listen to them).

Ancient wisdom

But it was discovering yoga’s ancient texts that guided me successfully towards recovery.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras became my self-help manual. The process of Kriya yoga (described in the Sutras) became my way of challenging my illness, of transforming myself, as well as aptly describing how the process felt. I studied my behaviour and sought knowledge on what was healthy (svadhyaya). I made necessary changes to my behaviour and thoughts, a process which was at times excruciating – eating and putting on weight was to me heartbreaking (I was countering 20 years of fears and habits, after all). Through each positive change I was burning away the old (tapas). To me the translation of tapas as ‘burning’ made perfect sense. And, through it all, after 20 years of illness, I needed to have faith (isvara-pranidhana) that making these painful changes would help and that, in the end, all would be well. I didn’t know how being well would feel. I could only imagine it would feel awful, as that was all that I had experienced, so that was what I believed. Yet I had faith that this was the right thing to do. I can’t tell you how surprised I was when I actually reached recovery and felt (for what seemed like the

first time in my life) happy. Yoga philosophy, through texts like the Upanishads, helped in other ways too.


Where once I believed myself to be unimportant and worthless, I discovered that our soul (my soul) is perfect, eternal and pure. I learnt self-compassion. As I came more into my own as a teacher, I realised that the ‘many paths, one truth’ dictum holds true for many things, including bodies, shapes and nutrition. We are all different and we need to do what is good for each of us at any given time. I started to free myself from the need to do what I thought others expected of me, from the need to deny who I was (just in case others didn’t like me), from the need to follow only what others thought. I realised I was ‘good enough’ just like everyone else. I started to allow my ‘self’ to shine through and guide me to where I wanted to go. Finally, working with subtle energies, I started to open my heart that had been kept under the wraps of suffering; I allowed myself to breathe through my whole being. I allowed myself to be. Yoga is a journey back to the self. After 20 years, I finally came home to me.


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Yoga & Hiking Head to the hills and roll out your mat. By Francesca Baker


he image of a typical hiker – perhaps middle aged, in heavy boots and a warm fleece, a rucksack packed full of energy bars and a flask of tea – does not have much in common with that of the stereotypical lycraclad, spirulina smoothie drinking yogi. In many ways, hiking the trails and stretching in a studio are very different forms of exercise: one about movement and cardio, the other about stillness and serenity. Yet the two may have more in common than we realise and can be the perfect match. At least that’s what the growing market for yoga and walking holidays would seem to suggest. Pitched somewhere between a hiking holiday and yoga retreat, these trips are all about balance: getting the best of both forms of exercise. Yoga, after all, means union, and these holidays are about balancing the physical and mental benefits of exercise, pushing your body and working with it, and enjoying the environment in which you do it. We’re starting to learn that focusing only on one form of exercise is not the best way to build a healthy body. Often people with good cardio fitness might be lacking flexibility, and whilst yogis may have good muscle tone, their aerobic capacity may be limited. Undertaking the two in tandem therefore reaps rewards. Yoga practice helps out on the hills with the breath and controlling the breath to suit what the body is doing, whether it be hiking, skiing, climbing or cycling. The physical posture and the balance that comes from yoga is important when dealing with more demanding conditions.


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A regular routine releases tension, builds flexibility and muscle strength, deepens breathing and helps to improve general mobility. A strong body from hiking means stronger muscles to hold the yoga poses. And, of course, there’s nothing like stretching out the aches and pains after a long few miles.

Perfect couple

One of the reasons the two work well together is they are among the most accessible forms of exercise out there – you can walk as fast as you like, bend as much as you want, or take things at a more relaxing pace. As Ken Blissett and his partner Yen who run Lakes Yoga Fitness ( say, “they are both great levelers in the sense that you leave the regular stresses and strains of working life behind you and can just be who you are when practicing yoga and out walking.” Being out on the hills is an opportunity to break away from routines and feel naturally alive, balanced and joyful, and the mat is a space to cement that. Working with your body and enhancing your physical health is something to embrace, in all forms that it can take. Appealing to a broad spectrum of participants, from first time walkers to seasoned yogis, these yoga and hiking breaks are for everyone. “Yoga is non-competitive and everyone is different, but despite various levels within our groups, it’s always so rewarding to see a sea of smiling relaxed faces at the end of the class,” says Blissett. The effect on mood is not to be underestimated, and the social nature of the holidays only serves to reinforce it. Discussing ideas whilst walking the hills, reflecting on the day over tea and cake and laughing as you eat dinner is therapeutic in itself. Chantal Rafferty, from Living Yoga Holidays ( also believes the two are complementary as “yoga is about conscious awareness; some say that walking is almost like a moving meditation - you stay in the present at the same time acknowledging the beauty around you.”


Calm and rejuvenation

Whilst being active and physically demanding, these holidays can also be very relaxing, maybe something that other exercise trips may not offer. It’s a meditative process too, walking over the hills and through the countryside, and has been proven to alleviate stress. Calming and rejuvenating, there’s also a strength and beauty that comes from being outside of your usual environment that when internalised through a yoga practice becomes a solid reality for life. “People become completely wrapped up in the beauty of the landscape,” says Blissett, of the surroundings in which he runs his weekends. This, for him, is one of the real attractions – a life affirming experience in a life enhancing environment. Filled with dramatic scenery and opportunities for adventure it’s also a place to disconnect from the busy world and find space in which to just be – or, as Lizzy Giles from Yoga Walks ( puts it, “the calm and the space, looking around and breathing it all in, beautiful surroundings absorbed, fresh air inhaled.” Disconnection from technology and business, and connection with the self and the universe forms the spiritual basis of yoga and is one of the oft quoted attractions of walking and hiking. You don’t have to be Wordsworth to know that feeling a sense of oneness with the surrounding world is beneficial for soul and body, and even a small exposure to nature can have a long lasting impact upon the individual. A period of reflection and oxygen boosting exercise is the ideal way to rejuvenate and allow people to get closer to their true selves away from the stresses and strains of normal daily life. Any activity which allows for connection to nature, to the body, and to the self, whilst experiencing the beauty of the world around, boosting fitness and having a good break, has got to be one to embrace. By Francesca Baker (

“In many ways, hiking the trails and stretching in a studio are very different forms of exercise: one about movement and cardio, the other about stillness and serenity.�

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Escape to the country D

Caroline Hire gets away for a weekend yoga retreat in Ironbridge


riving into beautiful Shropshire, I was a little apprehensive as to what to expect on my very first yoga retreat. I was heading for Ironbridge, the birthplace of industry, and a weekend retreat with two amazing teachers. I may have been practicing 16 years but this yoga immersion was all new to me; but I needn’t have worried. We all arrived in time for tea and a chat and I was immediately struck by how welcoming the guests and teachers were. Half the group already knew each other having been before, but far from being excluded, this created a buoyant

atmosphere which swept even newbies like myself into conversation. The first practice of the day was with Lynn Yardley and immediately I was at ease. She teaches with such warmth and has a knack for instilling calm from the get-go. We began with a gentle practice that was enjoyable yet accessible – ages ranged from twenties to seventies and abilities from new to seasoned but I’m pretty sure we all got something out of it. Personally, having left London at 6.30am and arriving in Ironbridge 3.5 hours later, the immediate wind-down and limber-up brought me back into balance and set me up for the time ahead.

om travel Several of these little huts were nestled on the side of the hill within the retreat centre, providing a simple accommodation that felt in keeping with the back-to-basics vibe of the weekend. Hotels were available nearby for those who preferred a little more luxe.

True connection

Personal touch

Next came another teacher, Kim Pierpoint, who took a workshop-style class with Pavarita Parsvakonasana as the main focus. I groaned internally feeling I would have liked something a little more challenging but was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the exploration. There were plenty of take-home tips and the humour made the session fun. Lunch, a vegan feast of bean and mushroom stew from the retreat café, was much enjoyed. The two teachers had brought homemade cakes, adding a personal touch which was indicative of the whole weekend. In the afternoon, they led a walk around Ironbridge, although at this point I took the opportunity to move into my one-man wooden ‘tent’.

The afternoon session was followed by an optional dinner in Ironbridge. Artisans is a monthly supper club in an intimate little room above a shop. We ate vegetarian mezze that was both beautifully prepared and exquisitely tasty. I don’t know if it was the relaxed atmosphere or the dynamic of the group, but the evening was a lot of fun from start to finish. We left feeling full to the brim, both with food and good cheer, and barely a glass of wine had been consumed. The next day there was a yin and yang practice in the morning and a relaxing closing sequence after lunch. When it was time to leave, everyone seemed genuinely sorry to say goodbye. We’d had a relaxed and convivial time which in itself felt very yogic. This was a weekend of true connection both to ourselves in relaxation and to others in friendship. We said we’d come again and I’m sure many of us will. The teachers have created a special yoga experience here. This year Lynn Yardley and Kim Pierpoint will be holding three retreats in The Green Wood Centre, Ironbridge, Shropshire and two in The Court Hill Centre, Wantage, Oxfordfordshire. Visit: or


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Life & loves of a yoga teacher

OM writer Lesley Dawn quizzes yoga teachers up and down the country to reveal their life and loves Name: Jackie Jones Age: 49 Location: Shrewsbury, Shropshire Training: Integrated Yoga Therapy USA Specialisms: Vinyasa Flow and Yoga Therapy Describe yourself as a colour In my mind right now is the image of the sun sparkling through the morning mist. Morning or night person I’d say I’m a daytime person. I like natural light and my sleep patterns reflect the daylight hours. In winter, I’m not very good early morning, but I’m not too lively in the evenings either. In summertime. I’m much more energetic. Favourite meal I love Thai food, spicy and hot dishes. I like to cook Thai Green Curry, very easy and wholesome. And I am known for my soups. Most memorable holiday A campervan holiday in Ireland I had with the children several years ago. Not because it was the best, but because it was the worst. It rained every day for three weeks and the campervan leaked. It brought the whole family together. Last year we went to Morocco and it was a totally different story: sun and yoga on the beach every day. Favourite book The Bone People by Keri Hulme. The characters are complex with shades of darkness and light but the end is redemptive. It’s a fascinating and engrossing read and it’s a book I give as a gift sometimes because it’s also inspiring and meaningful. Best light-bulb moment Over the years, through yoga and meditation, I’ve found access to a place of equanimity that informs my daily life more and more. Rather than a sudden flash of inspiration I would say there is a slow brightening and a deeper connection to the source of inspiration.


Happiest moment to date The root of happiness is love, so my daily practice is to try to bring a loving awareness to as many moments of my day as possible. It’s certainly a challenge. As a busy mum, resentment can creep in when you’re picking up the kids stuff off the floor for the umpteenth time, or hastily making another weeknight meal when you’d rather be reading a book. But if this moment isn’t happy, then when? Thankfully, during my grumpy moments, my family is very good at reminding me how lucky we all are. Wish for anything – what would it be It almost sounds cheesy but I would wish that everyone could have access to that place of love inside themselves and then the world would be a much better place to live. I guess that’s why I teach yoga, to remind people that that place exists and to let their actions flow from there. Naughty but nice Little tasters of different kinds of foods, especially chocolate.

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Directory - Holidays & Retreats PORTUGAL


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

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

Quinta do Anjo Ashram - Yoga and Ayurveda Holistic venue and healing biotype in the sunny hills of sunny Portugal. All-inclusive, delicious vegetarian and ayurvedic organic food. Registered Yoga school RYS200 Yoga Alliance; member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists IAYT. Residential training: RYT200, Ayurveda therapist, Yoga therapist certification. Retreats: Detox and juicing, Rejuvenation, Yoga therapy camps (anxiety and depression; obesity). Phone: 00351914843802 Email: quintadoanjo.tomar@gmailcom Web:

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

UK Yoga as Medicine! – Mediyoga Overworked, stressed, headaches, neck/ back pains? Having problems coping? Treat yourself to a 2 day yoga course. Learn how to deep breathe, meditate and perform gentle yoga movements. Comfortable ensuite rooms, healthy food, relaxing atmosphere. Phone: 01202 555522 Email: Web: Inner Guidance Retreat Centre The UK’s new leading holistic venue offers different retreats weekly, and can also be hired to bring your own group. Set in stunning Suffolk countryside, just outside the charming village of Lavenham. Phone: 01787 249798 Email: Web:

Winter Sun Yoga Holidays in India Leave your guidebook behind, journey within and see magical places in India off the beaten track. In stunning beach/ backwater location. Hatha Yoga, Scaravelli inspired, Embodied Mindfulness. Choose your teacher and book now for 2016. Phone: +44 (0) 208 449 3556 Email:

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Directory - Courses & Classes DEVON


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

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

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

UK VARIOUS LOCATIONS Teacher Training & retreats 200hr Yoga Teacher Training based in Clapham, only £2,499, alternate weekends, qualify in 6 months. Seasonal spa & wellness retreats to Glastonbury & Amorgos, Greece. Phone: 07782220123 Email: Web:

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

To advertise here please contact Sara on 01787 224040 or email

Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Yoga Course: CYQ 500 hour Certificate. April 2015 intake. Reps 20 CPD points. Flexible: 9 months combined blended learning with e-learning home study and 6 weekends at Body Bliss. Cost effective: Only £1499. Make it easy with our Interest Free Direct Debit payment plan. Body Bliss Yoga studio is based in Essex with easy transport connections making it an ideal place to travel to for the 6 weekends you will be required on site.

Don’t delay. Book your place today... Call 01702 474 555 or visit

body bliss Yoga and Pilates just got hotter


om lite



You’ll never beat a real life yoga teacher. By Lexie Williamson

re the days of the yoga teacher numbered? I’m talking about the real, ‘live’ walking, talking kind that that prods your pelvis in Trikonasana and whispers you out of your Savasana stupor. I mean the kind who has a hole in his sock, mixes up his lefts and rights or stumbles in two minutes late to class but is an actual living, sweating, breathing human being. I only ask as nowadays you can summon Rodney Yee (or other top instructors) to your sitting room, at 2am. He’s ripped, tanned and sockless and standing in front of an awesome Atlantic Ocean vista. Welcome to the virtual yoga teacher. My Yoga Online and Yoga Glow are just two examples of online hubs featuring 1000s of hours of classes searchable by body part, level or teacher. These teachers are never late and are highly predictable. You don’t have to brave rainy Beckenham High Street to see them. You can even speed through the dull bits (once you get used to the buffering). I was informed of this revolution while attending a bike shop event as my capacity as a ‘yoga for cyclists’ specialist. A customer sidled up to chat. “Did you know that Yoga Glow offer yoga for cyclists?” she asked helpfully, and proceeded to fill me in. There followed a small silence. I couldn’t compete with teachers that you can command to you to do your yoga bidding at the touch of a keypad. Or could I? If there is, indeed, a revolution going on, why is my inbox bulging with requests for group and private yoga sessions from cyclists, runners and general yoga fans. Business is booming for me, and all the teachers I know. Studios are crammed to the rafters with punters. One teacher tweeted yesterday that he had just taught 65 students. This is an epic number for a run-of-the-mill class. And then it struck me. We spend half our lives now in front of a computer screen. The yoga class is one of the few places we can escape it. Then there’s the social aspect. In a class we can huddle together like the social pack

“The virtual yoga teacher will also never reach out of the screen and prod you if your Trikonasana is out of alignment.” 130

animals we are. I might not speak to my neighbour but I hear her breathing and moving through the asanas as I do. This feels right and reassuring. The virtual yoga teacher will also never reach out of the screen and prod you if your Trikonasana is out of alignment. And if this does happen, then it’s probably a good time to log off and go to bed.

Lexie Williamson is a yoga teacher and health and fitness writer (




The Hill That Breathes is for sale. This famous yoga retreat opened in 2004, and the combination of the spectacular location (a 91 acre wooded hill, two renovated farmhouses and salt-water pool, near the renaissance gem of Urbino), great yoga teachers, and a down-to-earth and humorous approach, oh, and loads of great press (including the award of “Europe’s Best Retreat” by Natural Health magazine)… has had yogis from all over the world coming to taste its unique delights (and famous Italian food). CONTACT THE ABODE/SAVILLS AGENCY: CALL NICK FERRAND OR CARLA ROSSI

+39 075 941 7554


abode ®

15th, 16th, 17th May 2015 Event City, Manchester M17 8AS

Be part of the OM Yoga Show Manchester







PLUS! YOGA WORKSHOPS WITH TOP PRESENTERS Including David Sye, Bee Bosnak, Elizabeth Rowan, Celest Pereira, Anne-Marie Newland, Yogi Ashokananda and Louise Palmer-Masterton

For further information and to receive a FREE show guide visit

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