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OM’s new interactive anatomy academy
Rise, don’t whine
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Om meets – Leo Lourdes Vegan life – recipes from a cruelty-free kitchen Transpersonally speaking – holistic counselling Meditation of the month – all rise
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OM Magazine Issue 65, October 2016 Published by:
Prime Impact, Park House, The Business Centre Earls Colne Business Park Earls Colne, Colchester Essex. CO6 2NS Tel: 44 (0) 1787 224040 Fax: 44 (0) 1787 223535 e: email@example.com ommagazine.com
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The Publisher accepts no responsibility in respect of advertisements appearing in the magazine and the opinions expressed in editorial material or otherwise do not neccessarily represent the views of the Publisher. The Publisher cannot accept liability for any loss arising from the later appearance or non publication of any advertisement. Information about products and services featured within the editorial content does not imply an endorsement by OM Magazine. OM Magazine is not intended to replace the professional medical care, advice, diagnosis or treatment of a doctor, qualified therapist, nutritionist or dietician. Always consult your doctor before undertaking any exercise 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.
Listen up, folks. We have some very exciting new things to tell you about this month. As part of our efforts to integrate OM magazine with our interactive app and online presence (you’ll hear a lot more about that in the weeks, months and years to come), we’re launching some great new features in this issue. For all you anatomy geeks out there we have something very special, dare I say, groundbreaking. Starting in this issue, we’re launching a new regular feature called 360˚ Yoga (page 40), where you can view a single pose in extensive detail, with some expert anatomy instruction. Great, but why all the fuss? Well, visit the OM app (on your iPad or other smart device) and see it all come alive. Rotate the yoga model 360 degrees with your fingers to get a closer look at all aspects of the pose, and from any angle. You can see the first one (Mountain Pose) here in this issue but make sure you check out the app for the full virtual reality experience and for more detailed instruction. It’s fun, innovative, informative, easy to use and ideal for teachers or students keen to know what their body is doing (or should be doing) during their practice. We’ve teamed up with leading anatomy expert Andrew McGonigle (aka Doctor Yogi), a London-based yoga and anatomy teacher and massage therapist, to create this state-of-the-art resource. We’re also bringing you high quality yoga sequences in the magazine from leading online yoga provider Movement For Modern Life. Again, visit the OM app if you want to do the ‘live’ sequence. It’s an exciting time for us here at OM. Stay tuned for other new additions. Later this month we’ll be at the OM Yoga Show in London (October 21-23) so do stop by the stand and say hello. We’d love to hear what you think about the magazine. We’ve also got lots of free goodies to give away to new subscribers plus a photo shoot competition where you can win the chance to be on the OM cover. Have a great month and I hope to meet you in London.
OM in 30 seconds “At first glance, Tadasana could be seen as simply a relaxed standing position, but in fact every part of our body is active in this asana and there are lots of subtle alignment cues.” 360˚ Yoga (Page 40) “Fundamental ignorance of who we really are gives birth to Asmita or ego. The ego is a false persona that we have strongly identified with. It is made up of memories, fears and desires. It is never a positive thing.” Obstacles to Enlightenment (Page 96) “Having a sense of self is fundamental to wellbeing. When you know who you are, you become the quintessential free spirit, observing rather than judging the events and people around you.” Know thyself (Page 108)
This month’s competitions & subscription
Competition Enjoy a luxury break in the UK Forest with Forest Holidays
Win tickets to the OM Yoga Show London 2016
See page 82
See page 67
Subscribe today to OM Magazine and receive a 10ml bottle of angel eyes nourishing eye oil from Angela Langford Skincare (worth £19.50)*
See page 30
Contributors Stella Tomlinson
Stella is a Hampshire-based Dru yoga and meditation teacher. She uses her experience of how yoga can relieve stress and anxiety to teach those of us who often feel anxious and overwhelmed how to connect to inner strength, stillness and joy to find peace amidst the demands of everyday life. Find out more: livingyogawithstella.com
Hannah is a British yoga teacher currently based in Qatar. A former dancer, she loves to teach creative Vinyasa Flow classes. To help wind down, she found a passion for Yin Yoga. Hannah took specialist training in this area and now teaches Yin classes with myofascial release techniques. She also teaches music and ballet through her business Pose Pointe Play. You can find her teaching Yin at Yama Yoga Studios in Doha, or on Facebook at: facebook.com/pose.pointe.play
A dedicated yoga practitioner and teacher from London, Paula writes our Teacher’s Tales column. She is also a freelance writer with a decade’s worth of experience in comedy script development and comedy writing credits for CBBC, Radio 4 and BBC Three. Find out more at: ucanyoga.co.uk
Regular contributors: Siri Arti; Conscious Parenting Lesley Dawn; Life And Loves Paula Hines; Teacher’s Tales Meg Jackson; Real Life Yoga Victoria Jackson; OM Lite Jill Lawson; Meditation Of The Month Deb Mac; What’s Your Affirmation Andrew McGonigle; 360˚ with Doctor Yogi Sarah Swindlehurst; Yoga Therapy Charlotte Watts; De-stress: Yoga Off The Mat Julia White; Yoga & Aromatherapy
WORDS OF WIDSOM “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi
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Web: Email: Tel: Twitter: FB:
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Contents OM Regulars
54 My Most Challenging Journey:
My Secret Place
Yoga Changed My Life
What’s Your Affirmation
Walk On Water
Yoga & Aromatherapy: Rosemary Oil
Kevin Naidoo’s Story
Introducing The London Event
60 Who’s At This Year’s Show: Workshops & Classes
62 Workshop Schedule:
Friday Workshops & Tickets
63 Workshop Schedule:
For Beautiful People
Fashion: Urban Chic
Saturday Workshops & Tickets
64 Workshop Schedule:
Sunday Workshops & Tickets
93 Life & Loves Of A Yoga Teacher
65 Aerial Yoga Swings:
119 OM Books: Great Yoga Reads
Off The Mat & Into The Air
120 Yoga Is For Every Body: Your Photos.
130 OM Lite: Yoga Soup
68 Face Of OM:
Win OM Yoga Show Tickets
OM Body Cover Story
32 Yoga At Home: Mindful Hip Openers
40 360˚ Yoga: OM’s Anatomy Academy 44
OM Meets…Leo Lourdes Throw Some Yin Into Your Yang
Tea Special Report
70 Tea Time: Explore The World Of Tea 72 Healing And Healthy:
So Many Teas, So Little Time
74 Keep Calm And Drink Tea: Some Of Our Favourites
75 A Ritual For The Everyday:
48 Rise And Don’t Whine:
76 A Cup Of Joe: Artisan Tea Maker Joe Kinch
Cold Morning Motivation
50 Yoga Therapy: Insomnia 52 8
Search For a Yoga Cover Star
46 Intelligent Strength:
Learning To Listen Softly
OM Yoga Show 2016
58 OM Yoga Show:
22 OM Loves: Beautiful Things 24
Man On The Mat: Peacock Feather Pose
Yoga A-Z: X Is For X-Roads
The Art Of Tea Ceremony
78 Matcha The Day: Matcha Mania Is Taking Over The World
80 Alterna-Teas: Tasty Alternative Drinks To Tea
Meditation Of The Month: All Rise
86 Get Grounded: Get Out Of Your Head & Into Your Body
88 Yoga = Mindfulness:
De-Stress Yoga Off The Mat
90 Nourish Yourself: Raise Your Vibration 92
Relax: A poem by Sharon Browne
OM Spirit 94 Living In The Urban Jungle:
Quit Looking For Answers Outside
96 Obstacles To Enlightenment: From The Yoga Sutras
98 Transpersonally Speaking: Holistic Counselling
OM Living Cover Story
100 Vegan Life: Recipes From A Cruelty-Free Kitchen 103 Eat Drink Yoga: Healthy Eating Goodies 104 Nutrition Zone: Good Enough To Eat
OM Family 106 Conscious Parenting:
Finding Stillness In the Home
108 Know Thyself: Self-Esteem For Parents
OM Actions 112 Tick The Bucket:
Make Those Dreams Come True
OM Teacher Zone 115 Yoga Standards:
National Occupational Standards
116 Teacher Zone: Teach An Awesome Class 118 Teacherâ€™s Tales: What Kind Of Yoga Is That?
OM Travel 122 OM Travel News: Awe Inspiring Retreats & Ideas For Yoga Explorers
124 Of Miracles & Crazy Wisdom: The Feathered Pipe Retreat
My secret place Location Lordington Lavender Farm, Chichester Yogi Melanie Hiblen Photo Elizabeth Boyle The photo shows yogini Melanie Hiblen in a beautiful lavender field in Chichester. “I love being surrounded by the rich depth of the purple, amidst the green country glow,” she tells OM. “The bees and butterflies enliven the flowers and I too can deeply inhale this gorgeous distinctive smell of the lavender, which fills me with delight and triggers a sense of connection with the earth beneath me and the bright open sky above me.” It’s a place she likes to return to whenever she can, especially during the warmer months. “I feel at one with the season of summer, my favourite time of year; I feel vibrant and vivid, I feel peaceful and earthly. For me, it truly represents absolute balance; how my body is the central point between earth and sky, my breath is my life source and I am completely enveloped in the nature all around me.”
N@maste Love OM magazine and want to tell the world? Here’s your chance
Fight for the light
The Emotion of Your Soul article by Elenora Zampatti (July/August 2016, Issue 63) really made me sit back and think about the way I view myself. I too had ups and downs in my growing up years, as well as struggles with eating disorders, and still to this day suffer from over thinking and anxiety, which I always class as negative things. But the article made me realise that through yoga we can honour our bodies and “fight for the light and be proud of your darkness”. Thank you so much OM magazine. Nicole B, by email
My yoga handbook
With a fitness background spanning 30-something years, and qualifications in personal training and nutrition, I have just found yoga and just found OM. I don’t normally write in to magazines but I felt compelled somehow. I have just read my second issue of the magazine and am now a few months into my yoga journey. For the past few years I’ve pretended to embrace the bodybuilding and weightlifting scene but never really felt as though I fit in. However, after practicing yoga even for such a short time, I already feel like I belong – like somehow yoga was there waiting for me to find it. OM is like my handbook already, I especially liked the teacher training influenced issue as this is ultimately where I see my future heading. Your magazine inspires me daily as does my practice; it’s allowing me to free my mind and become a better version of myself and also be a better mother and wife. Already I have a budding yogini in the form of my nine-year-old daughter who also practices by my side. Thank you OM for inspiring me. Judith H, by email
Keep in touch
Thrilled to see @omyogamagazine feature @nolatrees and body positivity on the latest cover! @yogajournal when will you get with the program? Yoga is for every body. And major props to @k.deer for offering a full range of yoga pant sizes. esteefletter
Friday night feels! New @omyogamagazine and Buddha- some chocolate and nut butter will also feature somewhere! _zoewoodward_
Send in your letters to OM Yoga and Lifestyle for your chance to WIN!
Next Letter of the Month will win: A month’s supply of Zeo slim line cans (30 cans). drinkzeo.com
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Anatomy & Myofascial Movement Course for Yoga Teachers A 9 WEEKEND COURSE Structural, Functional and Experiential Anatomy for Movement for Yoga Teachers Gary Carter shows how a thorough knowledge of anatomy can help teachers to make intelligent choices about the way they teach their pupils. His workshops involve the use of props, illustrations, and hands-on work in class to help demonstrate the principles that underlie the practice. These courses of experiential anatomy will run for nine weekends (approx. 1 per month), exploring the anatomy of movement in relation to asana practice and Pilates practice, movement analysis and 3-D work. It will encourage teachers to “see” their students more clearly, thus helping with rehabilitative issues. The course aims to help teachers take a flexible, intelligent approach to Yoga and Pilates, Gyrotonics and with individual students. Including newer understandings of the Fascial and Elastic Body in Movement. New findings of Gravity Relationships to movement. New courses now booking: London • Yoga Myofascial Movement Anatomy • starting October 2016 – July 2017 London • Pilates Myofascial Movement Anatomy • October 2016 – August 2017 Edinburgh • Yoga & Pilates Myofascial Movement Anatomy • starting mid 2017 Leeds • Yoga & Pilates Myofascial Movement Anatomy • starting mid 2017 EARLY BIRD DISCOUNTS AVAILABLE
For booking details please contact: email@example.com Call +44 (0)7778 403578
YOGA CHANGED MY LIFE
After rediscovering yoga following the loss of her mother, Marzia Stefani chose to follow her heart and train as an instructor rather than pursue an unfulfilling corporate career
NAME: Marzia Stefani AGE: 40 OCCUPATION: Yoga teacher and mum YOGA YEARS: 2 (plus a couple of years when I was 17)
Why did you start yoga
I started yoga after losing my mum to cancer in 2014. She got ill in June and by November she had left us. I was devastated and lost; I was trying not to face up to my grief by keeping busy with a high flying corporate career and my busy family life. I started with the intention to do something just for myself but stumbled upon a local yoga class in a hall in Basingstoke. Needless to say I was hooked the minute I stepped on the mat and within six months I had enrolled in a teacher training course.
How has yoga changed your life
In January this year, I gave up my old career – a senior role in a company I’d been working at for 14 years – to become a full time yoga instructor. Many people thought (and still think) that I was very brave (some think I am barking mad!) to leave such a well paid job. Yoga has not changed my life, it has changed me and I have changed my life. I have chosen to follow my heart.
Favourite yoga haunts
I tend to support local teachers and go to their classes in local halls; I don’t attend a bricks and mortar studio. I also practice a lot outdoors in a rural house my parents bought a few years ago in the hills near Padova, a small town in the north east of Italy. It’s so peaceful there, you can really get into your practice as no one is watching.
Best yoga moment
My first ever yoga event with my daughter at Alexandra Palace in London. We went to the first ever International Yoga Day in 2015; I felt truly moved as I walked into the field and saw so many others peacefully sharing their practice – and it was my birthday!
I also have to thank yoga for bringing poetry back into my life. I love closing my classes with a Rumi poem.
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Don’t let a video game get the better of your back
eople are chasing Pokémon everywhere, with the beneficial side effect of becoming more active. On the other hand, players of Pokémon Go, the hit new Nintendo game, are stumbling into real-world people and objects, and have been involved in injuries from traffic accidents to falling off a cliff. However, the larger health risk for most people is Pokémon Posture, warns international posture expert, Dr Steven Weiniger (bodyzone.com). Walking while obsessing over capturing virtual monsters adds to the real world problems familiar to frequent texters, computer users and others suffering from tech-neck, he believes. “When the people walking towards you see the top of your head instead of your eyes, you have Pokémon posture,” he says. “Walking while facing down and focused on the game trains muscles to push your head forward and roll in your shoulders which folds your body into a ‘C’. The postural problem is aggravated
because your arms are made to swing when you walk, but Pokémon posture locks the arms to throw Pokeballs, and folds the chest towards the pelvis.” The solution, says Weiniger, is to connect with your real world body with attentional focus exercises that strengthen your posture. Try these simple tips: Stand taller and lift your device up Move your eyes instead of your head so you can shift attention more quickly to see where you’re going (and avoid hazards) Engage your core by pulling your belly in Open your chest by rolling your shoulders up, then back, then down Level your torso by pulling elbows slightly forward of your torso as you lift your device Stack your head in line with the torso by facing forward and pulling your head back
AFFIRMATION? An affirmation for self-care, self-love and self-worth. By Deb Mac
BWY accredited school, Yoga Alliance UK registered school Yoga Alliance US registered school
Yoga Academy Teacher Training 2016–17
BWY accredited, Yoga Alliance UK and Yoga Alliance US registered teacher training course Commences in the UK on 14 October 2016, limited to 20 students
Yin & Yang Yoga Teacher Training & Study Immersion 27 January—25 February, 2017, Samahita Retreat, Koh Samui, Thailand
Ongoing Training and Study Immersions
Options for CPD and Yoga Alliance US & UK 500 upgrade 50-hour immersion, 31 October—7 November, Santillán, Spain 20-hour immersion, 25—27 November, Bore Place, UK
“My body is a miracle. My body has been through all that I am today”
Your body is an absolute miracle so treat it with the love and respect that it deserves. Love every inch of you. Don’t weigh, reject or disrespect your body. Remember your body is more than a number on a scale. Keep it strong and healthy. Nourish, nurture and rest well daily. Speak to your body with kindness, care and love. Don’t neglect or reject any part of you. Move the way your soul loves to move. Do one thing every day because it makes you happy and it fuels you. Self-care every day is a necessity, not a luxury. When you take great care of yourself then you teach others how to take great care of themselves. Honour the miracle of life. How do you move through life? Metaphorically speaking, ‘What vehicle are you driving?’ Is your tank full or are you running on empty? Maybe it’s time for a service and a re-tune? Feel the love that you have within and allow that to shine out of you. You are worthy. Remember that you deserve to feel great.
www.theyogaacademy.org firstname.lastname@example.org theyogaacademy YogaAcademyUK yogaacademyuk
BRITISH WHEEL OF YOGA
simon low Retreats, weekends and workshops 2016/2017 WORKSHOPS
YOGA RETREATS 2017
10—13 November: Triyoga Chelsea, London
7—14 January: Samahita Retreat, Koh Samui, Thailand
RESIDENTIAL YOGA WEEKENDS By Deb Mac (contentedlittlesoles.com)
7—10 October: Kamalaya, Thailand 21—23 October: Bore Place, Kent 2—5 December: Kamalaya, Thailand
14—21 January: Praiwan Rafthouse, Khao Sok National Park, Thailand 13–20 May: Santillán, Spain
www.simonlow.com email@example.com simonlowuk yogawithsimonlow yogasimonlow yogasimonlow
Walk on water Who needs a paddle board to do yoga on the water?
tand-up paddleboard yoga, or SUP Yoga, is so last season. These days yoga fans are dispensing with the surfboard and getting their downward dog straight on the water – literally – it seems. Well, not quite. The pictures here show a group of students practicing yoga in the middle of a city lake in Budapest, Hungary. Walking on water – or in this case performing Chair pose on the water’s surface – is certainly another way to reconnect with nature. Hundreds of practitioners recently took part in Vinyasa Flow classes on the surface of the city’s biggest lake, while a chamber orchestra provided them with live classical background music from a nearby stage. But look closely and you’ll see the specially designed stage just beneath the surface installed to enable students to really feel as if they are practicing right on the water. The water stage was organised by Danone Activia Fusion with the message that the best way to stay fit and healthy is to mix exercise with a bit of pleasure, hence the pairing of yoga with water and classical music. Sounds like a perfect combination.
See it for yourself: there’s a link to a video of the class on this month’s app version. Check it out now!
transform your posture
Yoga & Aromatherapy
Designed by Louise James, Physiotherapist and Yoga Teacher, Buttafly is shaped to complement the natural contours of the body to help you get the most out of your Yoga.
Rosemary Oil (rosmarinus officinalis)
Buttafly provides an ergonomic seat making it easy for you to sit well with a perfectly aligned posture and its fluid curves and wedged shape makes for a supremely versatile prop.
So much more than a regular yoga block. October is a time to harvest and celebrate what we have achieved so far this year and then recharge ready to begin again. Rosemary oil (rosmarinus officinalis) is perfect for this month as it helps clear out the old and make way for the new. It has long been regarded by the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians as a symbol of regeneration. Harvest some fresh rosemary in a mason jar, fill with olive oil, leave in sunlight or somewhere warm, shake every 2 days. After 1 month, strain and use as a massage oil. Diffusing pure essential oil of rosemary in your house or yoga studio will help you clear out the space and release any negativity. Rosemary, like Sage is also very cleansing. Add a couple of drops of rosemary oil to a bucket of warm water and use this to clean and cleanse the floor and surfaces of your home and studio. To cleanse your yoga mat, mix 2 drops of rosemary and 2 of drops of geranium oil with distilled water, spray your mat, wipe clean and allow to dry. Rosemary oil helps clear the head, brings focus and mental awareness, so it is perfect for meditation. When time is short, a couple of drops of rosemary oil in a diffuser will soon free your mind from all mental chitter chatter, stimulate visualisations and enhance and aid your meditation practice. Let Rosemary oil help you move into the new season with clarity and positivity. Avoid during pregnancy and if epileptic.
Registered Design and Patent Pending
By Julia White (beautifulmindbeautifulbody.co.uk)
The Buttafly is fantastic! Iâ€™m able to completely relax into my meditation with a straight back! Itâ€™s also great for lying on and I can see a big difference in my posture after using it. I definitely recommend this! Sascha Y
Drop in and see us at OM Yoga Show London, Stand M6 Also available to purchase online
Amazing spaces Stylish and inspiring studio design ideas and interiors Total Chi 243 Baker Street, London, NW1 6XE totalchi.com Total Chi is a fantastic new addition to London’s vibrant yoga scene. Located on one of London’s busiest and most famous tourist streets, and right next door to the Sherlock Holmes Museum, it’s a brand new urban retreat centre located right in the heart of the city. It offers firstclass teaching by some of the capital’s most established instructors in a high-end yoga studio, with a pure, clean and modern air that’ll leave you feeling refreshed and alive when it’s time to leave. From the street, the Total Chi juice bar and beautiful frontage looks tempting enough to entice anyone in. Enjoy smoothies, veg shots or a healthy nutrient-packed juice before or after class, or just take some time out from the hustle and bustle outside. There are a wide range of classes on offer - everything from gentle restorative yoga to more dynamic Ashtanga Vinyasa - and with a maximum of six students per class you’ll always get quality time and attention from your teacher. Luxurious and spacious changing rooms with rain showers and full complimentary amenities (bottled water, towels, including chilled towels) plus Manduka mats and all props. Be sure to check out the Total Chi experience.
Beautiful things for beautiful people
Memory Yoga Board Game - £8.48
Helps preschoolers improve balance, confidence and mental focus while boosting memory skills. With 26 illustrated cards and 18 poses, players choose a card and search for the match. Once they find it, they perform the pose. Ages 3 and up, two or more players. coiledspring.co.uk
Believe Bracelet - £45
Feel joy every day and wear a mantra. This beautiful Believe bracelet from Mantra Jewellery will boost confidence and self-belief. Available in silver, gold or rose gold. Believe in yourself! mantrajewellery.co.uk
Temple At Midnight CD by Miten
Featuring Miten’s guitar and vocals, with a gentle and groovy acoustic backing. Recorded in Byron Bay, Australia live from the Temple of Midnight. 11 soulful tracks. prabhumusic.net
Eat Sleep Doodle Pillow Case - £15.50
Calling all creatives…eatsleepdoodle products are great for anytime you feel like a doodle. We love this pillowcase that you can customise using the unique wash-out colour pens - just unleash your inner doodler and transform the ordinary into the magical. And when you want to start again, just chuck it in the washing machine for a clean canvas. eatsleepdoodle.com
200hr Vinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher Trainings & Advanced YTT in Spain
Established Comprehensive Programme with Thousands of Successful Graduates Yummi Yogi Cutting Board - $60
Bring some yoga fun into your kitchen with this chopping board from Yummi Yogi. Made in Vermont, USA. Large cutting board dimensions: 18.5 x 15.75 x 0.625 inches. Great for all that food prep as you create those yummy kitchen masterpieces. yummiyogi.com
200hr YTT Intensives in Spain at Suryalila Retreat Centre 15 October – 5 November, 2016 07 January – 28 January, 2017 25 March – 15 April, 2017
Norris The Baby Seahorse Takes On The Bullies Book - £8.99
A new series of children’s yoga adventure books from Cosmic Kids. Written by Jaime Amor to get kids reading more, Norris The Baby Seahorse Takes On The Bullies deals with issues of self-confidence and bullying. More books to follow in 2017. watkinspublishing.com
For Advanced Modules and additional 2017 dates, check our website
www.FrogLotusYogaInternational.com Location: www.suryalila.com I Email: FrogLotusYoga@gmail.com
Urban Chic Wonderful new yoga wear from the Urban Goddess collection
Good Karma Top, ÂŁ39 urban-goddess.com
Shaktified Shanti, Urban Lava, ÂŁ51 urban-goddess.com
Photographers: Harold Pereira Models: Dienke Rozendom and Kylie Brons
Sukha Top, Indian Summer, £34 urban-goddess.com
Devi Glam Top, Purple Rain, £39 urban-goddess.com
Sukha Top, Urban Lava, £34 urban-goddess.com
Devi Glam Top, Urban Lava, £39 urban-goddess.com
Pranafied Pants Dip Dye, Urban Lava/Stone, £51 urban-goddess.com
Good Karma Top, Earth, ÂŁ39 urban-goddess.com
Pranafied Pants Dip Dye, Charcoal Light/Earth, ÂŁ51 urban-goddess.com
We’re looking forWard to the om yoga shoW! We’ll have unique offers on Yoga-Mad equipment & more at the London Show. Find us on Stand N9! CAN ’T G O TO T H E SH O w ? DO N ’T MISS O u T: GE T 1 0 % Off O NL INE INST E AD, u SE CO DE yoga show16 AT CH E CkO uT
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Planet yoga Stories from around the weird and wonderful world of yoga
Visit Europe’s largest yoga event this month at London’s Alexandra Palace (October 21-23, 2016). Join tens of thousands of others on the mat (there are over 250 free classes), soak up the good vibes, or shop to your heart’s content in the huge exhibitor hall where you’ll find everything from yoga pants to food processors (for those healthy smoothies!). Get active on the yoga swings, hang out with your favourite teachers in one of the paid-for workshops, or find some peace in one of the meditation areas. If you’re into yoga, or you just want to find out more, it’s a fun weekend not to be missed. Find out more at: omyogashow.com
Out of Africa
Yoga is helping inmates at Nairobi’s tough Langata prison for women to find a little inner peace during their time inside as well as learn coping strategies for life on the outside. The popular yoga sessions are being offered through the Peace within Prisons Project. During the twice-weekly classes, inmates find a much-need escape from the numbing repetition of chores and routines behind the high prison walls. “This is our version of freedom. We stretch, pose, dance and try to find a balance to our lives,” one inmate said. There are plans to roll out the yoga sessions to more of Kenya’s jails in the future. Other countries, including the UK, India and the USA, also offer yoga classes to inmates in many prisons with great success.
Yoga and celibacy are the secrets of a long life, according to an Indian monk Swami Sivananda, who claims to be 120 years old. The Hindu monk from Varanasi, who is now applying to Guinness World Records to verify his claim as the oldest man to have ever lived, advises us to hold the spice not just in the bedroom but also in the kitchen. “I lead a simple and disciplined life. I eat very simply, only boiled food without oil or spices, rice and boiled daal (lentil stew) with a couple of green chillies,” he said after a two-hour yoga session in Kolkata recently. Japan’s Jiroemon Kimura, who died in June 2013 aged 116 years and 54 days, is currently listed as the oldest man to have ever lived.
om beginnings Tractor yoga
A cattle and sheep rancher in New South Wales has come up with a novel way to keep fellow farmers fit and well at work – tractor yoga. After completing a 200-hour teacher course in Cambodia, Chris Wills adapted a series of exercises for farmers to do in their tractor cabs, to help keep them physically fit and mentally alert, even though he admits he was “dragged kicking and screaming” to his first ever class. “There was something else in yoga that I couldn’t quite explain. It managed to address my stresses and anxieties and that’s what motivated me to learn more,” he says. “Tractor yoga is my take on making it somewhat user-friendly.”
Yoga has been shown to help relieve stress and boost your mood, according to a new study published in the Journal of Psychophysiology, in which researchers looked at a group of women who reported moderate to high stress levels. The women in the study group who did yoga reported lower levels of psychological distress as well as less perceived stress compared to the women who did not practice yoga. Study author Kaitlin N. Harkess, a PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide and a yoga teacher herself, says she was inspired to do the study after experiencing stress relief from the practice. “Over the years I noticed how practicing yoga regularly helped me balance my own stress levels and find joy through challenging periods,” she says.
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Mindful Hip Openers YOGA @ HOME
Increase the range of motion in your hip joint through releasing tension in the muscles, tendons and connective tissue that surround it
Wind-Relieving Pose (Ardha Apanasana)
Start in savasana, a relaxed supine position. On an exhale, fold your right knee into your chest. Flex the left foot and activate the muscles of the left leg. Exhale, hug the right leg closer to you. Inhale deeply. On the next exhale raise your torso off the floor, engaging your abdominal muscles. Reach the chin towards your right knee. Inhale slowly roll down, one vertebra at a time.
Happy Baby (Half Ananda Balasana)
Draw your right leg up into half happy baby, holding the outside edge of your right foot, keeping the heel directly over the knee. As you exhale, mindfully draw your knee closer to the floor. Hold for a few long slow deep breaths.
Supine Half-Frog Pose (Supta Padangustasana Variation)
Inhale, open your right leg out to your right side into half frog. Check your knee stays directly in line with your hip joint. Place your left hand on top of your left hip and press down, anchoring your hip to the floor. Place the right hand, mid right thigh and press down, gently prising your hips open. Hold for a few long slow deep breaths.
Supine Pigeon (Supta Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 1)
Move the leg across the chest into supine pigeon, drawing it closer to you with both hands. To go a little deeper wrap your arms around the leg and lift it a little higher and hug it a little closer to you. Exhale, lift your torso up off the floor, engaging your abdominal muscles. Reach your chin towards your right ankle. Inhale slowly release, vertebra by vertebra, back to the floor.
Figure Four Pose (Variation of Ardha Apanasana)
Exhale, bend your left knee and place your right ankle above the left knee on your thigh. Thread the right hand through the legs and clasp your hands on your left shin (or thigh, if you are unable to reach the shin comfortably). Exhale, draw the right shin closer to your chest. Use the left elbow to press the left thigh away from you. On the next exhale curl up, chin towards knee, engaging the abdominals. Inhale roll back down slowly.
Supine Star Pose (Supta Tarasana)
Place the soles of the feet together and open the knees wide apart. Clasp the feet with your hands. Exhale, curl up, forehead towards toes. Inhale, slowly release your back to the floor.
Half Supine Star, Half Supine Wide Leg Pose (Ardha Supta Tarasana/Ardha Supta Konasana)
In supine Tarasana, change the handgrip, so you are holding the insteps. Inhale straighten the left leg out to the side. Exhale, bend left knee back to supine Tarasana. Inhale extend the right leg straight, exhale bend the right knee back to supine Tarasana. Repeat two more times each side.
Bound Angle Pose (Baddhakonasana)
Rock up and down three times, massaging your spine on the floor, landing in seated Baddhakonasana. Sit up tall and press both knees towards the ground. If you have any difficulty sitting up straight you may sit on the edge of a folded blanket.
Continue sequence over page >>
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om body 9
Bound Angle Pose with PNF (Baddhakonasana)
Place your right hand behind you on the floor. Place your left hand, mid left thigh and begin facilitated stretching or PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation). Press down firmly on your left thigh and simultaneously resist the pressure down, as if you were trying to bring the knee towards the midline. Apply equal pressure, using 30-50% of your strength. Hold for at least 5 breaths. Stop resisting and then move the left knee closer to the floor, occupying the space you just created in your hip joint. From this new location begin the PNF practice one more time on this side. Repeat, doing two rounds of PNF on the other side. PNF is a useful technique to trick the muscles into lengthening more, thus giving you more flexibility.
Pigeon Forward Fold
Walk the hands forward as far as you can and lay down over your leg. Relax completely and breathe deeply into the right hip joint. Hold for a few long slow deep breaths.
Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 1, modified)
Sweep the left leg back, coming into pigeon with the hands shoulderwidth apart on the floor, just a little in front of your torso. If you are more open in the hips you can place your right shin parallel to the front line of your mat, or to modify place the right heel close to the right inner groin. If your right sitting bone is in the air place a folded blanket or brick under it, for support.
Pigeon Twist with Bind
Move your torso back to centre. Reach your right hand behind you and, if available, bind with your right big toe. Slide your left arm all the way to the right and rest the left side of your head on a folded blanket to pillow it. Soften and relax into this posture, deepening the breath.
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Yogi: Vidya Heisel Video courtesy of: Movement For Modern Life (movementformodernlife.com)
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Slowly unravel the body and come into final resting pose, savasana and allow yourself to relax and let go deeply.
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BWY – for your lifelong journey in yoga
Leo Lourdes Famed for its London skyline yoga classes at The Shard, luxe retreats in the Maldives and a little black book full of celebrity clients, including Elle â€˜The Bodyâ€™ Macpherson, Yogasphere is one of the hottest names in yoga today. Here we talk to one of its co-founders, Leo Lourdes
om body How did you first get into yoga I first got into yoga in my early 20’s. I was drawn to it as it was a way to understand spirituality and I was fascinated by the relationship between yoga and the mind-body. As a British Asian with mixed parentage, I felt a disconnect with both India and the UK and yoga gave me a way to understand some of my origin. What inspired you in those early days Back then it was simply to de-stress. I became a director of my own psychology practice in Harley Street, London at 21 so there was a lot of pressure to run the business. I used to have many clients with all kinds of problems sitting on my therapy couch and yoga was a way for me to find some harmony for myself. Any favourite teachers My first teacher was Maria Santangelo. She taught in a health club called The Third Space. Her teaching was exactly what I needed at that point. Mindful, anatomical and breath-inspired. I recall having a conversation with her after class, where I requested to do more mantras. We started singing mantras and it was a great way of creating a sense of community (sanga) and that really opened my connection to the practice. It came round full circle when in one of my studios an effervescent client called Caroline asked me the same request to sing mantras.
Any transformational yoga moments For me, running a retreat in a Maharaja’s palace 3,000ft in the mountains in the Himalayas was a breakthrough moment. After doing yoga, sitting over breakfast with Oprah Winfrey and discussing the plans for what I wanted to do with my company Yogasphere should have been a high point of my life. That would be a wish for anyone to have an audience and be friends with Oprah or with the Dalai Lama or Barack Obama for that matter. However, it was purely the beginning as well as hugely humbling and taught me that I was not affected by celebrity in any way. Again, like your teachers, they are just guides. Yoga taught me this, not to worry about anyone else and stay connected to me. One highlight was teaching yoga in the Raphael Room at The V&A Museum to over 400 yogis. It is exactly the same size and dimensions as the Sistine Chapel and has original Raphael canvasses on the wall that the Queen owns. It was a majestic feeling to teach there as only a few years back I used to sit in this room and sketch drawings (badly). How would you describe your own teaching style I would say based on what my clients say my teaching is inspiring, mindful, anatomically sound, engaging, poetic and also humorous. I love to make my clients feel great and good in themselves. It’s in my nature as a therapist and individual. I care a lot about my clients and their wellbeing.
WHAT YOGA MEANS TO ME
PHYSICALLY: yoga teaches me to be open and present. To unfold in a way that my body feels it wants to at a point rather than trying to enforce a pose. The word ‘pose’ sounds so static, so stationary, like a statue worthy at most for a selfie on instagram. The pose and asana for me is a dance and a communion between my breath, my body, and its energy pathways. I see my physical practice as living in the question rather than in the answer. There is not celebration when I reach a breakthrough in a pose but an enjoyment of the process. I try to stay out of habit and access a deeper state of mind so I am constantly discovering nuances and creative ways to express and transition in and out of poses. MENTALLY: yoga challenges me and inspires me. We often have interpersonal communication with other people, however yoga helps me tune into my intrapersonal communication with myself. It gives me a chance to meet with my inner voice and work through whatever I am feeling from doubt to relaxation. I have also explored older forms of yoga such as Raja Yoga where I have learned to train my mind to read over 25,000 words per minute on average. Running our business, we are constantly having to learn new things so the mental agility yoga gives me is extraordinary. We are just scratching the surface of human potential and I believe yoga is the living experiment of our times to reach higher states of awareness. I am in talks with with University College London with their PHD research doctors to do a study on yoga and its effects on the mind and the immune system. SPIRITUALLY: yoga has brought me into myself in such a way that I feel more integrated as person. I am more aware of self and the layers. I feel like there is a thread from
the origins of yoga’s history to the times we are living in now. From a spiritual viewpoint, I feel yoga offers a way for people who are not drawn to religion to find their own path to their spirit. That is why I believe yoga has become so popular as it’s exactly what the world needs now at this point. We need to actually be less tolerant, and more accepting. Yoga should be inclusive. I love the fact that in my class you could have a celebrity, an unemployed graduate, a pensioner who has practiced yoga for years and a billionaire on their own mats and they are all here living, breathing doing yoga together. No titles, no labels, no special treatment, all in the moment working through their own practice and challenges.
Leo, Oprah Winfrey and Yogasphere co-founder, Mandy Jhamat
VIPs come in two camps. Some that are elegantly demanding. I have a billionaire client that offered to pay me more than the GDP of a small country for me to live, travel on his private jet and provide yoga for his family all year. I politely refused of course as I cannot be bought. Then there are those VIPs that are so humbled to have an intimate experience of yoga where they can connect to themselves as a way to escape the media frenzy and entourage of people that surround them. One of our Yogasphere clients that is pure and awesome is supermodel Elle Macpherson known to many as ‘The Body’. She has a delicate practice and is an eternal student ready to learn; she loves to be adjusted and found the yoga with us transformational. She loves to practice with us on our Yogasphere shala yoga deck overlooking the Indian Ocean in the Maldives. As our island is the lowest below the equator, there is no chance of the paparazzi catching her or any celebrity there. In fact, Naomi Campbell, British members of the royal family and presidents all come to the island for its secluded paradise. The island is the most stunning place on earth.
How do you want students to feel after a class I have no expectations for them to feel a specific emotion after class. I try not to be attached to how they feel as you do not know what emotional ‘stuff’ people are bringing to their mats. However, if it’s tough stuff then a sense of possibility, courage, trust and openness. If they are in a good space, to be curious, playful and use their practice as a way to extend that good feeling into their environment and spread that good into their world. As a therapist, language is very important to me so I use a technique I have developed called ‘clean language’ in my teaching so as to not project my thought forms on to my clients and to give them the freedom to have their own experiences in my classes and private sessions. How would you reassure a total beginner Take your shoes off, breathe, observe, be curious and give it a go. The rest will happen for you. Stretching is an instinct that all animals (including humans) have. So yoga is your birthright. Bliss is your birthright and bliss is boundless. Don’t worry about the person next to you who has their foot behind the head while on a one finger handstand! Also ignore any teacher who is lecturing at you how to live your life. The truth is only you know what is best for you. Find your own voice and your own practice and peel the layers (koshas) away and find an unbreakable relationship with yourself. In essence, love yourself. Tell us the philosophy behind Yogasphere Yogasphere is a living breathing philosophy and, through the practice, all our clients are co-creating Yogasphere with us. Our mantra is ‘bliss is boundless’. The state of bliss, samadhi and moksha is not an ideal, but
“Enlightenment is not a religious concept. It is a way to escape the trappings of the ego to reach a higher sense of awareness and progression beyond the self.”
om body WHAT IS YOGASPHERE
I founded Yogasphere out of love with my life partner Mandy Jhamat. We love India but felt misguided by the direction yoga was going. On the one hand, yoga grew from a subculture to a massive phenomenon. We were interviewed for a television documentary with Deepak Chopra where we were asked ‘Who owns yoga’; TM used to stand for Transcendental Meditation, now it stands for ‘trademark’ as many try to put their own stake on yoga and appropriate it. On the other hand, there is more of the traditional Bhakti based yoga that is steeped in religion and part of the fabric of India. Yogasphere is the middle path. Like Buddhism, it is your own experience on your own journey. We are not your teachers, we are just your guides. Together we grew Yogasphere with no loans, no overdraft, no savings and no investors. We used every business and personal challenge as a way to become creative. So in terms of the future, Yogasphere is going global. If you are looking to try yoga, then we will continue to be the yoga space of choice for clients looking for personal evolution not just the physical aspect of yoga. Many people in cities are essentially lonely and we provide a space where new friendships can be formed and the self can be re-discovered. At Yogasphere we resist the ‘Californication’ of yoga and the obsession with the physical poses. Yogasphere has given a way for philosophy and personal expression to re-enter the yoga sphere. My parents gave me a lot of freedom to decide as a child and I thank them for it now. Since launching Yogasphere under three years ago, we now have over 14,000 regular clients, run nine international retreats, have moved Yogasphere into The Shard (at the top), have Yogasphere in nine London locations, opened Yogasphere all year round on a private island in the Maldives where Mandy and I live for five months of the year. We send our Yogasphere teachers to live and teach when we are not there. Our plan for the next 10 years is to have our Yogasphere studios in over 100 cities. So we are on the lookout for talented teachers to grow with us. Our clients can travel and use any of our centres during their travels. We are bringing the retreat spa experience to cities as an alternative to ‘the holiday’ where the usual pattern is to enjoy a great time on holiday…until you are back, of course. We are expanding our
range of eco mats and products and also moving further into clothing apparel and lifestyle. Yogasphere will do for yoga what Nike did for running. We will continue to plant more trees. Yogasphere plants 10 trees per person, per class every time they do yoga with us. We plant 50 trees per one-to-one session and for every eco mat purchased and 1,000 trees for each of our retreat guests. Last year we planted enough trees to provide oxygen for 560,000 people for an entire year. We plant a new tree in Africa, Asia and South America every four minutes. I will not rest until we have planted our first billion trees. So, in terms of the future, I would say watch this space. Great things come for those that are ready for something other than the usual unfriendly yoga studios where they do not remember your name or gyms where a sterilised form of yoga is taught. We recently had both the chief executive and also a managing director of Goldman Sachs join us in the Maldives for a retreat and they described us both as ‘bold, visionary and confident’. There is no such thing as ‘no’ in my world. The universe as an operating system does not understand the concept of no. ‘No’ is a man-made linguistic term we have in place to stop us doing something. ‘No’ is a human creation that creates boundaries, sometimes necessary, but it’s the ‘yes’ that we understand in our psyche and in the universe and in what is beyond possible.
an intention that yogis of the past had. Enlightenment is not a religious concept. It is a way to escape the trappings of the ego to reach a higher sense of awareness and progression beyond the self. If we all took care of our own emotional baggage, our impulses would change and therefore our expectations. Then society will be much easier to navigate through when we are more willing to give than take.
to get me to stop talking about philosophy or politics and takes me straight into a state of happiness.
What do you do when you’re not doing yoga When I’m not doing yoga, I think about yoga! I produce music and am currently working on an album called Skylight. I have already recorded my first album Infinity. I also travel a lot with Mandy and we love walking though Regent’s Park. We live in Primrose Hill so when we are in the UK, we make a mug of tea and walk up on the hill and sit and enjoy the panoramic view of London. It reminds me to have gratitude. Only a few years back I would sit on this hill and visualise my company being in The Shard and now we are at the top of it (1,016ft) teaching yoga to our clients on London’s urban mountain. I also like being tickled unexpectedly which still empowers my friends
Any good life hacks for the rest of us Breathe and believe in yourself. I actually did not pass my first yoga exam as apparently I was ‘too confident’ and had ‘too much shakti’. So I found the humility to not be defined by other people’s opinion and re-sat the exam. Then I used my ‘shakti’ to create one of the most successful yoga businesses ever created. Sometimes in life you use your index and middle finger to root the hands in downward facing dog. At other times, you need to stick those two fingers up and never let anyone – and I mean anyone – stop you being who you really are.
What’s your own personal motto It’s a mantra I created myself: “If not now, then when. If not here, then how.”
Find out more about Leo Lourdes at: yogasphere.eu
YOGA ANATOMY: at your fingertips
Welcome to 360˚ yoga, OM’s unique anatomy academy… a fully interactive virtual exploration into the world of yoga asana
his issue marks the launch of the OM 360˚ yoga anatomy experience. Every month in the magazine we’ll be including a detailed look at a single pose with an expert eye from our resident anatomy expert Doctor Yogi (aka Andrew McGonigle). OM readers will enjoy a regular insight into yoga anatomy in every issue of the magazine, but for the full interactive 360˚
MEET DOCTOR YOGI
experience make sure you check out our app version (available on all tech platforms) where the academy will truly come to life. Explore each asana in minute detail by rotating the human figure 360 degrees, so you can see things from every angle. If there’s a part of the body you want to understand in particular detail then just click the link to read more, or to watch one of the additional mini instructional videos included.
Andrew McGonigle (aka Doctor Yogi) is a UK-based yoga instructor, anatomy teacher and massage therapist. After originally training to become a doctor, Andrew moved away from Western medicine to pursue a career as a yoga teacher. He is now the anatomical expert eye behind OM’s 360˚ yoga. Based in London, Andrew has been practicing yoga and meditation for 10 years and teaching strong, grounding, alignment-based classes since 2009. Using his vast experience and anatomical knowledge he has also created his own style of therapeutic deep fibre massage. Andrew combines all of his skills to teach anatomy and physiology on yoga teacher training courses across London and internationally, as well as working with OM. He also hosts yoga retreats and runs private anatomy courses and records videos and asana tutorials for online yoga provider Movement For Modern Life (MovementForModernLife.com). His own teachers include the likes of Hamish Henry, Paul Dallaghan, Eileen Gauthier, Kristin Campbell and Anna Ashby. Find out more about Andrew at his website: doctoryogi.co.uk
om body It’s a fantastic resource for teachers, those in teacher training, aspiring teachers, experienced practitioners or any yoga student keen to understand more about how their body works on (and off) the mat. We’ve included a few screenshots here to give you a flavour of how it works, but there’s so much more to discover, including contraindications and other useful tips and advice. We think it’s a truly unique addition to understanding yoga anatomy and its all freely available for OM readers. Many readers asked for more anatomy to be included in OM magazine so we hope you like it. Do let us know what you think of the new 360˚ yoga anatomy experience.
Get more expert anatomy insight with the App Every month there is EXCLUSIVE EXTRA content on the digital edition of OM Yoga & Lifestyle Magazine
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360Ëš yoga with
An overview of...
Mountain Pose (Tadasana) This asana, which you may know as Samasthiti, can be looked at as your alignment blueprint: once you have fully understood the alignment principles here you can apply these to each yoga asana that you practice.
Detailed alignment cues for Tadasana:
t first glance, Tadasana could be seen as simply a relaxed standing position, but in fact every part of our body is active in this asana and there are lots of subtle alignment cues. With trauma, injury, stress and poor daily postural habits our bodies are constantly taken out of alignment and finding Tadasana can often be quite challenging or uncomfortable. But with practice Tadasana can begin to feel really good in our bodies, creating a sense of space, grounding and stillness.
FOCUS YOUR GAZE l Your focal point (drishti) is towards the tip of your nose l If this doesnâ€™t feel comfortable, soften your gaze and look at a fixed point in front of you
FIRM YOUR LEGS l Gently push your feet into the ground and notice a subtle sense of your legs almost lengthening l Gently draw your knee caps up but keep a micro-bend in your knees to prevent you from locking your knee joints
ACTIVATE YOUR FEET l Engage the inner (medial longitudinal) arches of your feet by lifting your toes off the mat, spreading them and gently lowering them back onto the mat
l Gently draw your outer ankles in to stabilise your ankle joints
FEET HIP DISTANCE APART Find the bony points at the front of your pelvis (these are known as the ASIS, Anterior Superior Iliac Spines) and line these up so that they are directly above the mid-point of each of your ankles. Your hips, knees and ankles are now stacked directly on top of one another
FEET PARALLEL Line the mid-point of each ankle up with the base of your second toe
The benefits of Tadasana
Contraindications to practicing Tadasana
l I nstead of having your hands by your side an option is to have your hands in prayer position (Anjali mudra) with your thumbs touching your breast bone (sternum) or to have the palm of your hands resting against your outer thighs l I nstead of having your feet hip-width apart you can step your feet together so that your big toes touch and your heels are one inch apart l During pregnancy you can take an even wider stance with your feet
l I t is the optimal standing alignment for our bodies helping us to become more aware of and improve our posture l T adasana helps us to find the balance between effort and ease in our practice l It builds strength in our feet and legs l Improves focus and concentration l Closing your eyes helps to develop balance and spatial awareness
l I t is suggested that Tadasana may not be an appropriate asana to practice if you have a headache, insomnia or low blood pressure
STACK YOUR HEAD DIRECTLY ON TOP OF YOUR SPINE l Gently slide the sides of your throat back and then lower your chin a couple of millimetres towards your chest and feel the back of your neck lengthen
Different schools of yoga teach Tadasana in slightly different ways and I like to take a non-dogmatic approach to the practice of yoga. Here are some variations that you may have come across:
Andrew McGonigle is Doctor Yogi, a medically trained yoga teacher based in London who specialises in teaching anatomy applied to yoga. Visit doctoryogi.co.uk
FIND A NEUTRAL PELVIS l Roll your upper, inner thighs back to create space at the back of your pelvis l Stabilise the pelvis by lowering your sacrum (the flat part of your lower spine) and tailbone (coccyx) down towards your heels
FIND A NEUTRAL CHEST l Lengthen up through all four sides of your waist to create more space between your hip bones and your lower ribs l Soften your front, lower ribs towards your spine and breathe into your back lower ribs to create space in the back of your chest
l Avoid ‘tucking’ or ‘scooping’ your sacrum and coccyx under which can lead to a clenching of your gluteal muscles and a hardening of your pelvic area
FIRM YOUR ARMS Gently reach your finger tips towards the ground with your hands by your side and palms pointing forward to encourage the front of your shoulders to stay broad
l Keeping this space, widen across your collar bones (clavicles) to stabilise this space
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YIN YANG INTO YOUR
Stop trying…and try Yin. Hannah Varley says that we could all benefit from the gentle restorative benefits of a blissful Yin yoga practice
n today’s busy world of meetings, traffic jams and constant emails, it’s sometimes easy just to come home from work, flop on the sofa and spend the evening watching TV or catching up with social media. Unfortunately, all this rushing about and constant ‘on the go’ lifestyle is slowly taking its toll on our bodies and minds, but there is something we can do to help ourselves – and this is where Yin yoga comes in. Many of us look at pictures of yogis meditating and wonder how they find the time to look all happy and relaxed. However,
it really isn’t that difficult once you start your Yin yoga journey. People often say, ‘I’m not flexible enough’ or ‘I don’t have time for yoga’ but after just a few classes, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make time for yoga in the past. Research shows that practicing yoga for just an hour a week can have a massive impact on your lifestyle, flexibility and sleep patterns. Slowly but surely, once a week can turn into twice a week and, before you know it, yoga becomes a habit. So what’s the deal with Yin yoga? Well firstly, it’s a passive form of yoga. You don’t tense your muscles and it’s important to
be relaxed. Other forms of yoga, such as Vinyasa or Ashtanga, are known as Yang activities, as they require more energy and involve tensing your muscles. Yin, in contrast, is the opposite. And it’s important for all of us to unwind from time to time. In Yang styles of yoga the primary aim is to stretch out the muscles, whereas in Yin the poses are held for over a minute each, and sometimes up to five minutes. This is because Yin aims to reach the connective tissues (also referred to as fascia) surrounding the muscles and connecting the muscles to joints. Holding poses for a longer
om body period of time in a relaxed way can help get deep into the stretch and strengthen the tissues around the joints. It is thought that Yin yoga helps regenerate the bones, so people with osteoporosis can benefit greatly from a regular practice.
Open to all
Another great thing about Yin yoga is that it’s accessible to almost everyone. With passive poses, mainly on the floor and with easy-to-remember names such as butterfly or sleeping swan, there’s no time for confusion. With all the props available, such as bolsters, blankets, blocks and straps, everyone in the class can reach their goal in one way or another. In my classes, I demonstrate a pose, but not everyone will do it in exactly the same way, as all students
those thoughts of work and your busy day drift away. By holding the poses for 1-5 minutes each, there’s plenty of time for self-reflection and mindfulness. Whether you choose to tune into your thoughts or zone out, it’s totally up to you. It’s your time! Yin yoga is closely connected to Chinese medicine, which promotes the idea that all our bodies contain energy pathways called ‘meridians’. Sitting at a desk or driving, among other things, can block our meridians, and Yin yoga is one way we can release the blockages and begin to self-heal.
BENEFITS OF YIN YOGA
with Sally Parkes BSc Author of ‘The Students Manual of Yoga Anatomy’
Unblocking our meridians during Yin practice can sometimes release deep emotions. Tension in our back and hips is often released during a Yin class, and it’s not
“Yin yoga can also be used as a meditative practice. By tuning in to sights, smells and sounds, there’s plenty to focus on to help those thoughts of work and your busy day drift away.” are different. Therefore each and every student in the class may be stretching the same part of the body but may be in totally different positions and using the props in many different ways. I always reassure students that this is perfectly fine. As long as you are feeling the stretch in the target areas then it doesn’t matter what you look like. Plus, with a beautifully candlelit room, there’s nothing to see apart from flickering flames and the smell of calming lavender, all set to relaxing and soothing music. Bliss! Yin yoga can also be used as a meditative practice. By tuning in to sights, smells and sounds, there’s plenty to focus on to help
200hr Yoga Teacher Training
unusual for participants to feel emotional during a class. This is perfectly normal and a great way to free your mind. The key is to observe, breathe deeply and let those thoughts and emotions pass through. It’s all part of the healing process for your body, mind and soul. So what are you waiting for? If a yoga class involving candles, calming lavender, cosy blankets and soothing music sounds good, drop into a Yin class near you and reap the rewards. Hannah Varley teaches Yin yoga at Yama Yoga Studios, Asas Towers, West Bay, Doha, Qatar
Calms and balances the mind and body Regulates energy in the body Increases mobility in the body, especially the joints and hips Lowers stress levels Increases stamina Better lubrication and protection of joints More flexibility in joints and connective tissue Releases fascia throughout the body Helps you to relax Helps deal with anxiety and stress Improves ability to sit for meditation
• Yoga Asana • Anatomy & Physiology • Subtle Anatomy • Yoga Philosophy • The basics of Ayurveda • Teaching methods & ethics • The business of Yoga • Home study & self-practice Training held in UK & Spain
Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Training Certified by FEDANT and Yoga Alliance US & UK
This 6 day course includes: • Pregnancy Yoga • Post-Natal Yoga • Mother and Baby Yoga Courses in the UK and Dubai
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Tune in to the natural energetics of the body and softly listen to experience your inner power
How easy it is to forget this. With yoga increasingly a fashion, fitness and lifestyle statement we can get caught up in an ideal and perfection. Yoga is not so much a physical discipline as a mental one, expressed physically. When we forget this we end up substituting tension for support, strength for balance and bracing when we need fluidity. In our striving to be more flexible we lose our feeling of openness and we judge success based on our outward shape rather than our inner state. Not all displays of physical flexibility are expressions of opening. Our task is not to sacrifice opening in our striving to be flexible. This isn’t suggesting a complacency, or indifference in our physical practice, far from it but it does suggest a different focus. Most bodies are capable of experiencing the benefits of yoga from the first breath. This door is opened, not with strength, force or striving but with the capacity to listen to how our body feels and how our mind responds.
So how do we learn to listen? Learning the mindfulness skill to body scan develops the capacity to place the mind in the body at will and become familiar with working with distractions. If we can take this to a deeper level and learn ‘soft listening’ it teaches us how to come back into balance in the face of experience. This has an instinctive kindness that takes us away from the impatient inner critic that so often self-sabotages our efforts both mentally and physically, creating a stiffness that is not related to our body’s capability. As we learn the skill of soft listening, we tune into the natural energetics of the body and learn to release our stiffest muscle, the one between our ears. This is where yoga diverges from strengthbased fitness practices.
“...for you know that soft is stronger than hard, water stronger than rock, love stronger than force” Vesadeva to Siddartha, Hermann Hesse
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What is the natural energy of the body? There is a natural energy present in everyone’s body. Its source is deep within our core, an ‘inner core’ and it can provide all the support and structure we need if only we allow it. It is an intuitive centre from which all movement starts. We are constantly impressed by how easily students connect with this centre through the use of Mula bandha and Uddhiyana bandha. This energetic support is easily blocked, but also easily released. Think of it as moving around the body in very thin rubber pipes. When we use strength and effort inappropriately these pipes are easily squeezed closed and the energy is unable to do its work. Soft listening allows us to see this as it occurs and gives us the opportunity to do something different. Working with the bandhas permits unnecessary tension in the mind and body to be released. This in turn relaxes the body, freeing our muscles to articulate and protect our joints, rather than hold our body weight. Because our core is stable, we can release our limbs for what they were intended, to aid balance and express our intent and free the flow of this supportive energy creating an experience that is light, fluid, flexible, and energetically effortless and deeply rewarding. Once we experience this directly, we recognise how in our striving for flexibility and desire to be strong we so often work against ourselves, not just in our yoga practice but also in daily life. By Hugh Poulton (yogaunlimited.co.uk)
t’s that time of year again. The onesie comes out of storage. The blankets get added to the bed. We start eating our own bodyweight in carbohydrates. Nights draw in, days get shorter and the urge to hibernate is almost irresistible. If dragging yourself out of bed for an early morning yoga practice was going to feel impossible at any time – it’s now. I’m sure there are people who feel nothing but joy as they fling the duvet off, feel the cold air rush in around their previously toasty-warm nether regions, and skip their way to their mat. They are obviously weirdos. The normal ones amongst us press ‘snooze’ approximately 17 times before telling ourselves that we’ll practice later/we can’t get up now because the cat looks so comfortable/it won’t do us any harm to have a day off/we might have a headache coming on if we really think hard about it/we just physically can’t get out of bed. As a fully paid-up member of Bed Addicts
Getting yourself out of bed in the mornings when it’s cold outside may not be easy, but it’s worth it, writes Meg Jackson Anonymous, I’ve been there and I’ve used all those excuses (and sometimes still do). But getting up and getting onto your mat really is one of the best ways to start the day for your body and your mind. Plus you get to wear a smug grin all day, and that should never be underestimated as a benefit. Try some of these ideas to help you get from slumbering to sun salutations as painlessly as possible.
Start before you sleep
Commit to your morning practice before you go to bed. If you’re still getting used to early mornings, do yourself a favour and don’t plan to practice after a crazy night out. Obvious but true, getting up is going to be a whole lot harder if you’ve not had enough sleep and are still full from a massive dinner or feeling hungover. So get an early night and eat a light dinner allowing plenty of time for digestion before hitting the hay. Make sure you go to bed hydrated – a tasty mug
of herbal tea will help. And yes, it might make you get up for a wee in the night but I’d rather have to do that than feel all dry and parched when I wake up.
Lay it out
Before you go to bed the night before, set out everything you’re going to need. And I mean everything. If you’re going to need a hot drink before you start, fill the kettle ready to boil and put the tea bag in the cup. Lay your clothes out so you’re not frantically trying to find clean pants or a warm jumper. Roll out your mat and prepare your practice area. (Mine is right next to my bed so it’s waiting for me when I wake up; it’s strangely motivating – seeing it when I pry my eyes open makes me feel like it will be sad if I don’t get up and spend time with it. No. That’s not odd!) Set out any props you’ll need, blankets, cushions, a bottle of water if you need something to sip whilst you practice.
Don’t be alarmed
If I have to get straight up the first time my alarm goes off I feel physically sick. No, really. I need it to go off three times before I’m ready to get vertical. But others just need one little chirp from their phone and they can be up and at ‘em straight away. Know what works for you, but set some rules. If you were going to class you’d make sure you were there in good time for it to start, so approach your own practice with the same respect and diligence. Decide what time you want to be on your mat and stick to it.
Ditch the duvet NOW!
Once you’re awake, it can still feel like actually getting up and out of bed is the equivalent of crossing the Grand Canyon on a pogo stick. You know where you’ve got to go – you might even be able to see it. But you’re warm. And cozy. And you could just…. NO! The only way to do this is like ripping off a sticking plaster. Don’t even take a moment to ask yourself if you want to get up and practice because (unless you’re one of those aforementioned weirdos) the answer is always going to be ‘no’. I have a rule which I have set for myself – once I have counted from one to three I have to get out of bed. Immediately. (Yes, I know it sounds like something you’d do with a small child, but that’s an indication of what it takes to cajole my mind and body into working together.)
“Getting up and getting onto your mat really is one of the best ways to start the day for your body and your mind.” Stick to the plan
Your plan needs to be sticky, just like your mat. We’ve talked about setting yourself up with all the things you need so that they’re ready when you wake, but be aware of the things you don’t need too. I keep my phone on flight mode until I’ve finished practicing so I can’t see if any emails have arrived, and taking a ‘quick’ look at Facebook can’t be an autopilot reaction. Do yourself a favour and don’t put potential distractions in your own way.
Quality not quantity
You’ll be only too aware that the mind can be a tricky little thing, which can flit
between being our best friend and our worst enemy quicker than you can say “I love my pyjamas”. If you’re telling yourself that not only do you have to get up way earlier than you want to, but you’ve also got to do a 90 minute challenging, twisting, folding, backbending, prana-stoking practice, staying in bed is going to feel like the much better option. So whilst you’re getting used to practicing at this time of the day, commit to something that you know you’ll manage – maybe 5 sun salutations, 3 standing postures, 3 seated postures, and some finishing poses. Worst case scenario is you finish feeling great and thinking “ooh I could do a bit more next time”.
Don’t expect exceptional
These straight-out-of-bed practices are highly unlikely to be the most graceful, delicious, bendy and beautiful times you spend on your mat. Your body will be cold and stiff. Your mind will be telling you all sorts of untruths about how tired you are, how this is never going to go well, and that you should give in right now. But as soon as you accept that place where you’re starting from, all will be well. You learn to come to your mat with the body you’ve got in that moment, and to work with no expectations. As long as you maintain a feeling of curiosity then you’ll never leave your mat disappointed – just a little bit enlightened!
Remember why it’s worth it We all know why it’s so good for us to get our asanas up and onto a mat at the start of the day, but it’s very easy to forget when we feel like our duvet has taken us hostage. As you stumble to the mat remember that you’re not alone. Allow the fact that there are literally millions of other yogis across the world who are doing the very same thing to give you a feeling of support. Folks have been doing it for generations before us, and will continue to do so after us. Each and every one of us is getting out of bed and onto a sticky mat to become the happiest and healthiest versions of ourselves – for our own benefit and that of the whole world. Hitting the snooze button will never feel as good as that.
Meg Jackson is founder of Real Life Yoga – a movement to get people to bring a little (or a lot) of yoga into their real lives. Find out more at: reallifeyoga.net.
YOGA THERAPY Insomnia
Practical yoga therapy The Problem The Solution Insomnia (from the Latin ’In’ meaning ‘not’, Insomnia affects the whole being of a person. techniques to start you and ‘Somnus’ meaning ‘sleep’) is most often One area it affects is the autonomic nervous defined by an individual’s report of sleeping system as it over stimulates the sympathetic on the road to health: difficulties. It is most often thought of as both system (your-fight-or-flight mechanism), physically, mentally, a sign and a symptom that can accompany and so can cause stress to you in mind, several sleep, medical, and psychiatric body and spirit. By bringing yoga into your emotionally and spiritually. disorders, characterised by persistent life, you can combat the overstimulation difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep of the sympathetic system by stimulating By Sarah Swindlehurst or sleep of poor quality, typically for a period of weeks or months.
the parasympathetic nervous system (your relaxing mechanism) to bring you into a more harmonic state of being.
om body Janu Sirsasana
Yoga (Janu Sirsasana)
From sitting. Bring one leg up so that the bottom of the foot is on the inside of the leg. Strengthen both legs. Inhale stretch up and then exhale fold forwards and place the hands down where they can comfortably reach. Hold here for three breaths and then inhale back up. Repeat on the other side. Twice on each side. Affirmation: I am safe and secure in every moment of every day (inhale/ exhale).
Yoga Cat Posture (Bidalasana)
Begin on all fours with your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Inhale and curl the spine downwards whilst looking upwards towards your third eye. Then, moving smoothly, exhale and round the spine upwards and look towards the navel. Repeat inhaling looking up and then exhale looking towards the navel. Continue for as many rounds as you wish. Focus internally on your breath. Affirmation: I am calm and relaxed, living in the now (inhale/exhale).
Yoga Reclining Side Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Lying on your back, with the legs out straight. Inhale and raise the right leg up and hold it with the left hand. Now as you exhale, gently guide the knee down toward the left side. Bring your right arm up to shoulder height along the floor and turn your head to the right. Hold the right leg to the left for three breaths. Then inhale and bring the leg up to centre, then exhale lower it straight down to the floor. Repeat on the left. Do this twice on each side. Affirmation: I release and let go of all concerns (exhale) and bring in peace (inhale).
Pranayama An anti-anxiety breath with Jnana Mudra
Start with just breathing normally through the nose and hold your thumb tip and first finger together with the palm of the hands upwards (Jnana Mudra helps to unclutter your head). Rest the backs of our hands on your knees or thighs. Take your awareness to your breath and notice the quality of your breath. Take a long breath in, and then exhale as slowly as you can. After the exhale, hold the breath out (retention) as long as you comfortably can, then when you need to inhale, do so slowly with control and repeat the breathing. Affirmation: I breathe in all I require (inhale), I breathe out all that I don’t (exhale), and I am serene (retention).
Avoid drinking any caffeine after 12 noon (includes green/jasmine tea) and eating foods, especially sugary foods in the evenings after 8pm. Perhaps drink a calming chamomile tea an hour before bed whilst listening to some relaxing music. Eat a wellbalanced diet during the day with plenty of healthy fat and protein. Try to eliminate processed packaged foods and make your meals as freshly as you can. Supplement your diet with a good multivitamin, vitamin D drops and fish oil, and some anti-stress factors.
What your body is saying
So what is your sleeplessness telling you? Close your eyes, ask yourself the question and whatever comes first to your mind is your starting point. Do you have something to do? Have you still to find your true vocation in this life? This is the time to ask yourself some searching questions. Is there anything getting to you, worrying you, or something that you cannot let go of? The insomnia ‘symptom’ is not letting you rest until you face this truth. It’s time to let go and focus on what you want now. Trust your intuition. Have some quality time with yourself whilst you reflect on this and the answer(s) will come. Sarah Swindlehurst is the founder of The Yogic Prescription. If there is a particular ailment or issue you would like covered in OM please e-mail her at email@example.com
X is for X-roads. By Carole Moritz
couple of times I’ve made an epic disaster of my life. Foolish youth, I was either too blind or lazy (or both) to do the necessary inner reflective work that asks the question: “Do you really want to do this?” Most likely it would have been a synthetic affirmative. Mostly to convince myself as a response to any urgency that any change was a good change lest I get pulled into the quicksand of my own inertia. A thousand times a day we are at crossroads…from what colour socks to wear to whether or not to end a relationship. Our curiosity gets piqued wondering if we go over a particular boundary line what would happen with no projected outcome? Sometimes we’re at the same intersection over and over, as if to ask for assurances that what’s out there will match to how I feel in here. We are given crossroads to trust ourselves daily. And that’s why I love yoga. I can humour my goals, hard work and commitment to get into some crazy shape, have a sense of pride in my accomplishment through my shaky breath and achy joints when yoga whispers: “Do you really want to do this?” Yoga meets you wherever you are. We come to that crossroads in every pose to shape shift it into what feels nurturing and supportive. There’s no room for the divisiveness of ‘no pain, no gain’. It’s that kind of corruption that steals from one energy to borrow from another that creates the dreaded impostor syndrome. Yoga gives us permission to be happy and at ease. To hold space in a pose with patience enough to take care of ourselves. Curiosity piqued, taking a leap of faith that we can access that same sense of peace and calm out in the world. In a world that has been making us cry a lot lately, we are at a crossroads in deciding who we want to be. Asking how we can unify sets and subsets of polarising energies that contort us into something we can’t even recognise. To be inspired by ideals and standards yet give ourselves permission to ask the question: “Do we really want to do this?” Then have the courage to change, so we can adapt and create an experience that is in union with the wisest part of ourselves.
WE REACH A CROSSROADS EACH AND EVERY MORNING Here on the pulse of this new day You may have the grace to look up and out And into your sister’s eyes, And into your brother’s face, Your country, And say simply, very simply, With hope Good morning.
On the Pulse of Morning Maya Angelou
OMFM OM FOR MEN
Page 54: My most challenging journey Page 57: Man on the mat
My most challenging journey
During a daunting trip to Thailand for eye surgery to save his vision, yoga instructor Kevin Naidoo had to draw on all his inner reserves gleaned from years of practice on the mat to hold back the fear and invite in healing. Here, he tells his story
s I walked back into my yoga studio from my specialists, processing the fact that I have open angular glaucoma, and will lose the use of my left eye, I instantly react and just want to run. I grab my passport, jump in my car and drive to the airport, wanting to run away and not deal with this. I sat there contemplating for hours, but then deciding that I have to stay and go through this because if I run I will never take care of this. And so, the next six months was spent simply observing and listening and (to be honest) reacting from time-to-time, being scared but allowing fear to come in as I started to see my vision depleting each day more and more. Having to make adjustments in my dayto-day life but also in my practice, having to slow down, having to change my practice, having to stop all inversions, having to really surrender, having to keep my ego in check. Things became scary and very real when I was teaching out in eastern Canada and was walking home at dusk. Realising all of a sudden that I was not able to see a street sign in front of me to get me home, I stopped, took a breath, and reached for my phone to asked SIRI on my iPhone to guide me home, fighting tears along the way. Arriving back home I found myself in a place of fear, of no options, of vulnerability, of giving up, rather than one of sanctuary.
Stem cell treatment
Luckily, my dad is Mr Research (and I love him for it!). He called me and said: “Kevin, I’ve been up for days looking into stem cell treatment for your eyes.” He had even called a hospital in China and asked every question under the rainbow. When he brought this option to me I was unsure as it was a new treatment and I was scared, as fear was now ruling me. But my dad persisted and sent all the information to my doctors and specialists who then gave their full support. So, with that in place, it cleared some of the fear for me, and I surrendered.
The next question was how to make it happen as the treatment cost $30,000, money that I didn’t have. My beautiful partner, Andrea, took it onto herself to start a Go Fund Me page online to raise money for me without my knowledge. It blew me away as people from all the communities I had taught at globally came together and raised the funds in less than a month. Again, it brought more tears; I’ve always really struggled with receiving. Yet here it was. I didn’t have a choice but to let that go and to receive with a grateful heart. It was hard but Andrea said to me that this is your karma and that you give others so much, so there has to be a balance. By allowing yourself to receive you are giving the other person the permission to do their work for you. On April 4 this year I travelled with my parents to Thailand to start a three-week stem cell treatment. From day one, the care of the doctors and the hospital blew me away. It was like being with a family every step of the way – through six injections, two spinal taps, two injections into each eye, and two through intravenous, bandaged off from the world. I was truly learning to receive as my mother had to feed me during the process and my father had to hold my hand and guide me around.
During my stem cell treatment I really had to draw on my yoga experience. My yoga through that time was essentially meditation; it was watching my thoughts, being the observer, without reacting or attachment. This helped me to stay calm and relaxed even through two spinal taps wide awake; as they were injecting my stem cells I would start to chant the Lord Ganesha mantra: Om Gam Ganpataye Namah to keep me safe and protected. It was, without doubt, the most challenging journey of my life but I am grateful for every second of it. My left eye, which was black, has now regained its peripheral vision, and as the stem cells grow (I call them my little angels!) over the next few months we are hopeful that more vision will return. So I continue to nurture and nourish and love
my ‘angels’ each day, grateful for this journey and grateful for this treatment. During this time, my yoga was to sit and to observe, to not react. When you’re shut out from the world and your senses, you have to look inside and be really honest with everything you’ve pushed down and not truly dealt with. This was my time to really connect with my inner child and my soul self, to let go. To clear and to surrender I had to really go inside and it was there where I really saw myself for the first time in my life. And it was only then that I was able to forgive myself from past things and let my past mistakes be my greatest gifts, to really love myself for all of me. Now I am so grateful for this time because this life and all of life is rooted in unconditional love and it starts with us. We are love; the root of all our existence is unconditional love. Cut off from the world, this short prayer resonated in my mind throughout: This practice is my prayer, Where I see myself in the eyes of spirit A moving meditation where I Observe, feel, listen, and allow Connecting to the sacred within Born in South Africa and raised in Canada, Kevin Naidoo’s job as a traveling yoga teacher nourishes his spirit while supporting his endeavour to spread a message of oneness. Find him at: yerramayoga.com
YOGA SAVED MY LIFE
People come to yoga because it brings them healing in some way, either physically, mentally or emotionally. I came to yoga as it healed me emotionally. I used to live a very different life. High school was tough for me. I didn’t know who I was, I wasn’t comfortable with myself. I was just trying to fit in, doing whatever others were doing, even if I knew it was wrong, trying to be the cool kid. This led me to a life of debauchery for 10 years, where I was lost in a world of drugs and alcohol. Yoga came to me when I was living in the Cayman Islands. A friend came to stay and we started practicing, and within three days I was crying non-stop, wondering what was going on. Now I realise that yoga was starting to heal me, but first I had to break. And yoga continued to break me, forcing me to be honest with myself for the first time, looking at all the things I had hidden for years. Yoga made me look at it all and be honest with myself. Then I was able to clear it and invite some space in for myself. This practice saved my life.
MAN ON THE MAT:
FM WITH PETER MAC
Peacock feather pose
(Pincha Mayurasana) also known as Tiger pose Benefits
This posture has many benefits. For instance, it strengthens the shoulders, arms and back, at the same time as stretching the shoulders, lower back and chest. It’s brilliant for improving your sense of balance. It’s also been known to help with mild depression.
From practicing this posture for a while the most common mistakes I have come across are: elbows are wider apart than your shoulder-width, or when you are in the posture, you sink into your shoulders.
n M easure your elbows shoulders-width apart by grabbing them with opposite hands. n Place minimal weight in your head. n S traddle your feet up together until you are in a balanced headstand. n W hen balanced, slowly bring both your legs together over your head to create a slight backbend. n A t this point, lift your head up slowly until it’s completely off the floor. n K eep looking up to you see your feet above your head with your eyes.
Peter Mac, yogangster.co.uk
21, 22, 23 October 2016 Alexandra Palace LONDON Tickets now available at omyogashow.com s to de try clu n in ee e Fr
Free ShOw Guide
Friday: 11am-6pm • Saturday: 10am-6pm • Sunday 10am-5pm 1 day entrance ticket on the door £12, in advance online £10. Concession on the door £10, in advance online £8.
www.omyogashow.com YSL SHOWGUIDE2016.indd 1
FREE show guide available online
Photographer: Claire Sheprow (findorionphoto.com) Model: Eleonora Zampatti (eleonorazampatti.com)
21, 22, 23 October 2016 Alexandra Palace, London N22 7AY
21, 22 & 23 October 2016 Alexandra Palace, London N22 7AY
21, 22 & 23 October 2016 Alexandra Palace, London N22 7AY The OM Yoga Show takes place this month – the biggest and best yoga gathering in Europe! We’re excited to be back at Alexandra Palace for a second year; the beautiful surroundings are the perfect setting for three days of yoga, meditation, shopping, fun, and new experiences. Whether this is your first visit to the show, or you’re a veteran of all 13 London shows, you’ll find no better weekend in the yoga calendar. With seven open class areas offering over 200 free classes, you can plan a weekend of wall-to-wall yoga. Leading teachers from all over the world are on hand to provide their wisdom, assistance and advice, to help you become the yogi you want to be. A children’s yoga studio offers free classes throughout the weekend if you want to encourage your little one onto the mat, and the lecture/demo stage will allow you to sit back and watch, take notes or immerse yourself in the wonderful atmosphere of the show.
New to the OM Yoga Show for 2016 is the Yoga Studio’s Aerial Yoga Class, with specially rigged swings allowing you to try aerial yoga. We can’t wait to share this unique experience with you, and we know that visitors will love the chance to get vertical! Afterwards, grab a fresh juice and explore a showcase of over 250 exhibitors, specially selected to help you live the ultimate yogic lifestyle. Yoga clothing, books, and snacks sit alongside retreats, equipment and other goodies – the perfect, feel good shopping experience. And don’t forget to stop by and see the OM Yoga & Lifestyle team; as ever, we’ll be offering some great freebies when you sign up for a subscription. Once again, we are on the search for a cover star for 2017 – stop by and have your photo taken by a professional photographer to try your luck. So whether you are taking your first steps on your yoga journey, or you have been practicing for years, there is something for you at the OM Yoga Show.
21, 22 & 23 October 2016 Alexandra Palace, London N22 7AY
Who is at this year’s show?
Friday 21st October Panorama Workshop Room 13.15 – 14.45 Energize with Tara Stiles
Strala ENERGIZE is a moving flow that invigorates your body and mind, and approaches challenge in an easy-going way. We’ll move through right-side-up and upside-down balance, with a generous dash of all-over tension relief. You’ll feel awake, energised and super-creative.
Saturday 22nd October Panorama Workshop Room 18.00 – 20.00 Yogangster Presents Benjamin Sears and DJ Goldie
Join Ben and Yogangster founder and yoga enthusiast Goldie as they lead you through a strong Vinyasa focused class with a live DJ set guaranteed to leave you on a musical high. £20
Sunday 23rd October Yoga Studio Equipment Studio 10.45 – 11.45 BeamBlock Yoga with Thierry Giunta
Yoga like you have never seen before! BeamBlock revolutionises the way we do yoga today by providing an elevated platform from which to perform stretches, resulting in increased flexibility and fitness challenges. FREE
Saturday 22nd October Warrior Open Class 17.15 - 17.45 YogaClicks presents Slow Flow with Annabel Chown - Get Powered By Yoga! Balancing fluid movement and intelligent alignment, we’ll open and strengthen, balancing ease and effort. You’ll leave feeling nourished, invigorated and very #PoweredByYoga! FREE
21, 22 & 23 October 2016 Alexandra Palace, London N22 7AY
Book your ticket at www.omyogashow.com
Saturday 22nd October Panorama Workshop Room 12.15 – 13.45 Shimmering Flow to Shake it Off with Claire Missingham
Saturday 22nd October Palace Workshop Room 14.00 – 15.30 Get Lifted – A Rocket Yoga Workshop with Marcus Veda
Sunday 23rd October Palace Workshop Room 10.30 – 12.00 Asana Addict – Breaking the addiction with Michael James Wong and Emily-Clare Hill
Friday 21st October Panorama Workshop Room 11.30 – 13.00 Kung Fu Hips with Adam Husler
A full shimmering flow with the overall intention of a fun yet centred Vinyasa practice that has a steady pace incorporating creative standing postures, arm balances, inversions, hip openers and seated pose sequencing. Aimed at releasing patterns of mental or physical holding, whether that is regret, sadness, emotions or just overwork. A flowing, releasing and truly expressive practice to keep bringing you back to noticing what comes up and allowing you to shake it off. £18
The first step is admitting you’re addicted….but who isn’t? You look great and feel great…but there’s so much more. Join this fun filled workshop where we acknowledge, indulge and explore the physical side to the practice but then go deeper and move past just the postures. £8
A fusion of Larry Schultz’ original dynamic ‘Rocket’ yoga sequences set to a specially mixed soundtrack – syncing breath with movement. Focusing on the importance of the real flow often lost from ‘Vinyasa’ labelled classes, this workshop will not be about breaking down, but lifting up; a non-stop moving meditation stimulating the sympathetic nervous system and tuning into the group energy of a room full of playful prana-heads. You will sweat, smile and get lifted. £12
Take on those hips like never before as we fuse alignment focused, dynamic Vinyasa with dynamic martial arts inspired movements, to float, fly and get so deep in the hips that the post class stairs may be an issue. Adam brings his enthusiasm and knowledge to every session aiming to give you an invigorating, sweaty practice where you’ll encounter some mental and physical obstacles, take them down and then leave with a smile. £10
21, 22 & 23 October 2016 Alexandra Palace, London N22 7AY
Friday 21st October 2016
North West Yoga Workshop
11:30am - 1:00pm Kung Fu Hips with Adam Husler • £10
11:30am - 1:00pm Thai Massage and the Elements with Natasha De Grunwald • £5
1:15pm - 2:45pm Energize with Tara Stiles • £20 3:00pm - 4:30pm Come Fly With Me with Celest Pereira • £10 4:45pm - 5:45pm The Art of Adjusting with Brian Cooper - A Yoga Alliance Professionals sponsored workshop • £10 6:00pm - 8:00pm The YogaBeats Infamous Chocolate Tequila Rave with David Sye • £15
1:15pm - 2:45pm Kundalini Yoga as an Ecstatic Practice with Carolyn Cowan • £10 3:00pm - 4:30pm The Power of Yoga and Ayurveda for Unlocking Your Original Nature with Annie Jones & Shona Sutherland • £5 4:45pm - 5:45pm Yoga for Runners: The Mind-Body Connection • £5 with Rosalind Southward
Palace Workshop 11:30am - 12:30pm Dragon Flow - Yin/Yang with Esther Ekhart • £7 12:45pm - 2:15pm Working with Athletes – Understanding The Body Athletic with Sarah Ramsden • £5 2:30pm - 4:00pm Therapeutic Thai Flying with Sylvia Garcia & Katie Burn • £7 4:15pm - 5:45pm Yoga Tools for Transformation - Upa Yoga with Isha Foundation • £5 62
Book your ticket at www.omyogashow.com
21, 22 & 23 October 2016 Alexandra Palace, London N22 7AY
Saturday 22nd October 2016
North West Yoga Workshop
10:30am - 12:00pm Relax with Tara Stiles • £20
10:45am - 12:15pm Unity Partner Yoga - The Yogi Dance of Connection with Sevanti • £10
12:15pm - 1:45pm Shimmering Flow to Shake it Off with Claire Missingham • £18 2:45pm - 3:30pm The Power Within with Yogi Ashokananda • £15 3:45pm - 5:15pm Healing Begins with Recovery with Cat Alip-Douglas • £15
12:30pm - 2:00pm #Happiness with Louise Palmer-Masterton • £7 2:15pm - 3:45pm Raging Dharma: Meditation and Awakened Living for Modern People with David H Wagner • £12 4:00pm - 5:30pm Yoga Gives Back - Practice|Serve|Love • £5
6:00pm - 8:00pm Yogangster Presents Benjamin Sears and DJ Goldie • £20
Palace Workshop 10:30am - 12:00pm The Art of Balance with Emily-Clare Hill • £8 12:15pm - 1:45pm The Art of AcroYoga with Eugene & Pip • £7 2:00pm - 3:30pm Get Lifted - A Rocket Yoga Workshop with Marcus Veda • £12 3:45pm - 5:15pm Gloga with Estelle Cartlidge • £10
Book your ticket at www.omyogashow.com
21, 22 & 23 October 2016 Alexandra Palace, London N22 7AY
Sunday 23rd October 2016
Londesborough Room Workshop 10:30am - 12:00pm The Soul of Yoga with Katy Appleton • £10 12:15pm - 1:45pm East of Eden Presents Mythical Soulful Vinyasa with Tanja Mickwitz • £7
North West Yoga Workshop 10:30 am - 12:00 pm Everybody is a Yoga Body with Donna Noble • £5 12:15 pm - 1:45 pm Live Life With Fierce Grace with Michele Pernetta • £8 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm BoxingYoga with Kajza Ekberg • £5
2:00pm - 3:30pm Happy Hips Flow with Roberto Milletti • £10 3:45pm - 4:45pm BhaktiYoga Flow with Chetana & Chidanand Thornton • £7
Palace Workshop 10:30am - 12:00pm Asana Addict - Breaking The Addiction with Michael James Wong & Emily-Clare Hill • £8 12:15pm - 1:45pm Gannon Power Vinyasa Yoga – Killer Arm Balances with Michael Gannon • £12 2:00pm - 3:30pm Feel to Heal: How to Find, Enjoy and Maintain Alignment with Dr Elena Voyce • £10 3:45pm - 4:45pm Groovy Funk and Flow with Kathy Ran • £5 64
Book your ticket at www.omyogashow.com
It’s time to get off the mat and into the air! This October, for the first time at the OM Yoga Show, visitors can try an aerial yoga class in Yoga Studio’s Aerial Yoga Class. Swings will be rigged in the open class area, providing hammocks for visitors to try out during classes led by highly qualified teachers. There are some huge health benefits associated with this unusual type of yoga. n Improved flexibility: Hanging in a hammock allows your body to move more freely, with less effort, and tension is released on your bones and muscles. n Spine decompression: For those with back problems, aerial yoga allows your spine to lengthen and decompress, easing tension. n Full body workout: All of your muscles and joints are used during aerial yoga. n Psychological and mental benefits: Putting yourself into such an unusual situation encourages you to become more alert and aware. Not only that, but it’s such good fun that you’ll feel amazing when you come back down to earth! All of the classes taking place in this area are suitable for all levels; no aerial yoga experience is necessary. Classes are free, and places are operated on a first come, first served basis.
our stiffest muscle is between our ears
21, 22 & 23 October 2016 Alexandra Palace, London N22 7AY
Challenge yourself to try something new at this year’s OM Yoga Show!
STAND M9 yogaunlimited teacher training I retreats www.yogaunlimited.co.uk
21, 22 & 23 October 2016 Alexandra Palace, London N22 7AY
ALSO RUNNING OVER ALL 3 DAYS
Club Morgan is an inspirational and educational seasonal holistic programme, with a focus on its ‘Yo-chi’ style exercise and drama for emotional understanding and relaxation. club-morgan.com
Free Open Classes Take part in over 100 FREE classes throughout the 3 days, with a range of abilities from beginners through to master. Come along and join in.
Lecture/Demo Stage From Latin rhythm to sultry sitar, the stage area is a multi-cultural assortment of entertainment. Stay and soak up the atmosphere.
Over 150 Stands
Tree of Life Meditation
Go shopping and treat yourself to something new. There are stands selling everything from clothes to mats, DVD’s to vegan food. Tonnes of goodies for your mind, body and soul.
Find help in attaining a state of conciousness to bring serenity, clarity and bliss to your world.
Yoga Studio’s Aerial Yoga Class New to the show this year is Yoga Studio’s Aerial Yoga Class, with specially rigged swings allowing you to try out the amazing world of aerial yoga. Free ShOw Guide
Fr in ee clu en des try to
21, 22, 23 October 2016 Alexandra Palace, London N22 7AY
This year’s OM Yoga Show London Guide is now available to download. It has full details of the show including Exhibitors, Workshops and Classes. Your essential pocket companion for what promises to be an amazing show.
Visit www.omyogashow.com/london to download a free copy now Show openS:
• Sunday 10am-5pm £8. Friday: 11am-6pm • Saturday: 10am-6pm on the door £10, in advance online £12, in advance online £10. Concession
1 day entrance ticket on the door
15/07/2016 14:10:10 YSL SHOWGUIDE2016.indd
Competition Win tickets to the OM Yoga Show London 2016 We are giving away 30 tickets (3 day pass for 2 people) to the OM Yoga Show London worth £40 each! Each ticket will admit two people for three days into the OM Yoga Show London.
Entry closes on 9th October 2016 – Good Luck!!!
To enter please go to ommagazine.com/ysl2016
21, 22 & 23 October 2016 Alexandra Palace, London
Exhibition Opening Times Friday 21st October 2016: 11am - 6pm Saturday 22nd October 2016: 10am - 6pm Sunday 23nd October 2016: 10am - 5pm Admission Prices One day pass: Adult £12 | Concession £10 Two day pass: Adult £20 | Concession £16 Two day pass: Adult £27 | Concession £22 Children under 16 are free but must be accompanied by a paying adult and be supervised at all times. Concession: OAP (over 60), disabled, unemployed and students in full time education (proof will be required).
21, 22 & 23 October 2016 Alexandra Palace, London N22 7AY
THE FACE OF OM
Our search for a yoga cover star â€“ 2017 Visit the OM Yoga Show in London for your chance to be our next cover star. Official show photographer Luke Ayling will be taking professional pictures of visitors to the OM Magazine stand throughout the weekend. Come along and find out what really happens at a professional yoga shoot. Thereâ€™s also a chance to appear on one of our covers next year. Our lucky winner will win a full photo shoot for one of our 2017 OM Yoga & Lifestyle covers. Imagine seeing yourself on the cover of a magazine on newsstands across the country!
Come and visit stand no A15 for your chance to be the Face of OM Yoga and Lifestyle magazine 2017 #FaceOfOm
21, 22 & 23 October 2016 Alexandra Palace, London N22 7AY
Tea Special 2016
Life’s so much better with a nice cuppa. Sit back and enjoy our 14-page special report into the wonderful world of tea
ick back and unwind with a nice cup of tea, one of life’s true pleasures. Luckily, it’s also one of the most readily available pleasures: just add water to your teabag and away you go. Actually, that’s not entirely true these days. There was a time when having a quick cuppa meant brewing up a pot of English breakfast tea first thing in the morning, multiple times during the day, and then again in the evening. That’s a routine still followed by millions up and down the country, but nowadays there’s so much choice that it can be overwhelming picking your favourite tea, or finding one to suit your mood at different times throughout the day. Apart from water, tea is the mostly widely consumed drink in the world, so it’s little wonder there are so many unique blends and varieties to choose from today. Chamomile has always been a popular choice for those seeking to unwind in the evening, whilst Earl Grey has long been enjoyed as an afternoon tea, perhaps with a nice slice of cake on the side. Unfortunately, we don’t have time here to go into teatime snacks (biscuits, cakes and other guilty pleasures) but we thought we’d flag up a few fabulous teas to whet your appetite so you can get the most from your tea break. And remember: drinking tea is generally considered a healthful pursuit, especially if you can enjoy it quietly and calmly, as a kind of mini break from the rest of your day or routine (read more about the art of tea ceremony on page 75 if you really want to get the most of the experience). Certainly nothing would ever happen in this office without the magic ingredient that is tea! Go on, put the kettle on now…you deserve it.
Tea Special 2016
Healing and healthy So many teas to explore, so little time…
Ayurveda has long been used as a source of inspiration by tea artisans around the world, tapping into the healing power of herbs and spices. InnOrbit’s (innorbit.com) new range of ayurvedic infusions, developed by food technologist Dr Ketan Joshi and The Wise Herb Company, alongside Indian ayurvedic experts and doctors, use only organic, handpicked herbs from the Himalayas known for their health and vitality benefits. “This makes them perfect for anyone with an interest in holistic and alternative medicine, not to mention herbal tea fans keen to try something new,” says Joshi. Four speciality blends for every mood: Up & Go (to energise and boost the immune system), Slim & Fit (to naturally suppress hunger, boost metabolism and burn body fat), Young & Fun (to aid memory and contribute to nerve and brain function) and Calm & Relax (to promote sleep and ease stress and anxiety). The Calm & Relax blend includes holy basil, fennel, wild mint, neem and alma berry plus green tea, to calm the mind and balances the Vata Dosha.
Olive tree tea
Yes, you heard that right. The leaf from the mighty olive tree is now available to drink. Historically, olive leaves were known as a symbol of peace, so it’s not surprising olive leaf tea provides a soothing, mellow herbal brew that evokes a sense of wellbeing. It’s regarded by some as an ideal replacement for normal black tea and is said to contain more antioxidants and vitamin C than green tea. Mirabilia (oleaft.com) makes the tea from the finest hand-picked organic green olive leaves plucked from its olive groves in Abruzzo, Italy. The leaves are quickly dried to maintain their health enhancing properties. The tea can be brewed to your own taste, for either a delicate or more powerful infusion, or sipped cold over ice, while some lemon or honey enhances the flavour. Olive leaf tea leaves can also be added to a marinade, especially for fish, or used in a spice rub to season dishes. And you thought olive trees just produced, er, olives.
GET UP AND GLOW
Let organic herbs awaken your inner glow Discover more at pukkaherbs.com
Tea Special 2016
If you haven’t discovered Yogi Tea yet then now’s the time, and with over 40 different blends available (we love Liquorice Mint, Green Chai, and plenty of others) there’s always something new to try. Each individually wrapped teabag contains an affirmation or positive quote that’ll inspire and uplift your tea break. Enjoy the scent of the ayurvedia-inspired herbal and spice teas, made from the highest quality ingredients from certified organic farming, anytime of the day.
Miss Yoga Chamomile Herbal Tea
Connect to your inner Zen and unwind with this relaxing blend of heavenly chamomile and blissful lavender. Miss Yoga Chamomile Tea is brought to you by Tea and the Gang, a new premium UKbased tea company specialising in both unique blends and some old classics. Backbreaking yoga positions not required.
More tasty teas for the discerning yogi Ed’s choice
Minted-Up Fruit - Joe’s Tea Co Ed’s choice
This tea changed my life. Well, not quite, but it’s pretty darn spectacular nonetheless. It’s not just another mint tea, it’s altogether more zingy than that. Organic peppermint and spearmint, bundled into a bag with hibiscus, strawberry pieces, natural strawberry flavour, natural raspberry flavour, blueberry flavour. Never will mint tea be the same again. Joe, we salute you.
OM Giveaway WIN! One of 250 sample packs of delicious Chai, courtesy of Tea India Chai has been served in India for centuries. Its combination of Assam tea leaves and spices creates a delicious drink that is said to warm the heart and heal the soul. We’re giving you the chance to win a Tea India sample pack and enjoy a delicious range of Chai blends, including spicy Masala Chai, aromatic Cardamom Chai, warming Ginger Chai and creamy Coconut Chai. Sample pack contains: 1 x Masala Chai tea bag (2g), 1 x Cardamom Chai tea bag (2g), 1 x Ginger Chai tea bag (2g), 1 x Coconut Chai tea bag (2g). 250 to be given away. For your chance to win please visit ommagazine.com/teaindia
Chamomile, Vanilla & Manuka Honey - Pukka
A soothing cuppa before bed is a great way to wind down in the evening, once the laptop screen has dimmed. There are lots of great pre-bed teas out there (including Pukka’s own Night Time tea, another favourite of mine) but this one tastes simply divine. Does what it says on the box: a soothing dip in an organic pool of calm. Bliss.
A ritual for the everyday Incorporating a tea ceremony into your daily life can help in the search for stillness and contemplation
s a yogi, one appreciates the vitality of spirit and stillness of mind that comes through a daily practice. The art of tea ceremony â€“ contemporary or traditional â€“ also draws on ancient wisdom to remedy the accelerated pace of modern life. For millennia, tea has been known as a health tonic, the empress herb of Chinese Medicine, and a daily meditative practice for monks, intellectuals and artists alike. Including a tea ceremony as one of your daily rituals is a simple practice, which will nourish both your mind and body. Tea ceremony can be as freeform as infusing a few tea leaves in a bowl and sipping it in silence or as elaborate as Chanoyu (Japanese tea ceremony). It is an art form to be cultivated and developed; it enables one to shift into a contemplative space outside societyâ€™s commodified gaze. The more tools we gather, be it through yoga or tea ceremony, to bring stillness and clarity to our inner world, the more empowered we will be to take altruistic action in our outer world. By Jen, a partner in Jade Spring Teas (jadespringteas.com), who has been sourcing artisan teas and practicing gongfu tea ceremony for over 16 years.
Tea Special 2016
A cup of Joe
OM caught up with artisan tea maker Joe Kinch, creator of Joe’s Tea Co. and a recent first-time father, to ask him how beautiful blends are born
oe Kinch grew up working in the kitchen of his family’s pub and became obsessed with taste and flavours from an early age. His first job was for an organic wholesaler where he learned about why organic is so important alongside the art of buying. After having travelled the world buying tea and loving how the simple cuppa can bring people together, a little seed was sown: to create an ethical, sustainable, contemporary, organic tea company that focused on great quality tea with a no nonsense attitude and cutting the faff out of teatime. Fast forward 10 years and his tea creations have gone on to win 19 Great Taste Awards and admirers far and wide, including the Minted-Up Fruit tea blend (see page 74). “Here at Joe’s Tea Co. we think a great blend of tea is balanced with not too many flavours fighting for centre stage,” he says. After drinking a cuppa he wants drinkers to feel happy and relaxed; safe in the knowledge they’ve just had a quality cup of tea free from chemicals that’s also purchased and produced ethically. “We believe tea shouldn’t be fussy and encourage people to drink it how they like it.” Joe works closely with the Master Taster in Sri Lanka to carefully create his teas and herbal infusions. “Minted-Up Fruit is our most unusual infusion. Blending red berries with spearmint and peppermint it has a lovely fruity aroma with a cool finish to taste. It’s so refreshing and great served hot or cold brewed.”
Ayurvedic Herbal Infusions and Health Supplements from The Wise Herb Company Our new 100% organic Ayurvedic herb and spice infusions are a great replacement for your normal hot or cold beverage. Organic green tea, handpicked Himalayan herbs and spices that have been sun dried, cleaned, hand cut, and blended. The Ayurvedic Infusions are 100% natural and Fairtrade. We are committed to help local Indian communities through buying direct from the families who grow the herbs. Discover our new Ayurvedic dietary supplements in capsules or powder. Available Online and at Revital and leading Health & Wellness outlets.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.innorbit.com
TAKE TIME TO CHILL
We asked Joe for a few tips on how we could spice up our tea time. He said cooling things down a notch or two is a great way to enjoy your favourite drink, especially when the weather’s a bit warmer. “Why not have a go at cold brewing and experience a slightly different flavour profile of tea?” he said. “Add 10g of tea leaves to 2 litres of water and pop in the fridge for a couple of hours. Taste, play around and experiment and work out your perfect cold brew technique.”
Superfood Instant Drinks Created using coconut milk powder, raw crystallised coconut nectar and four fabulous superfoods raw cacao, turmeric, matcha green tea and reishi mushroom. Simply add water for a deliciously frothy and comforting drink.
SEE US AT THE
Delicious recipes to nourish your body and feed your soul
Tea Special 2016
Matcha the day Matcha mania is taking over the world. Richard Foster-Fletcher explains why
atcha green tea, the powerhouse tea full of health-boosting properties, is sweeping everyone off their feet. And there are a whole host of reasons why. In fact, Matcha tea powder is now appearing in baked foods, breakfast smoothies, desserts and savoury dishes. Since it’s a powder, Matcha has made it possible for us to not just drink tea, but now eat it too. Including Matcha in your diet is a conscious health decision and one
of the very best things you can do for your body. Organic Matcha green tea provides the purest, most unprocessed form of tea possible. Matcha mania is real and it’s here to stay. Matcha does all these great things for your body: n Replenishes phytonutrients: Phytonutrients are antioxidant and antiinflammatory rich. Phytonutrients may
“Including Matcha in your diet is a conscious health decision and one of the very best things you can do.”
also enhance immunity and intercellular communication, repair DNA damage from exposure to toxins, detoxify carcinogens and alter estrogen metabolism. The US Department of Agriculture states that consuming a phytonutrient-rich diet can be an “effective strategy” for reducing cancer risk and risk of heart disease. n Takes good care of your skin: Matcha is high in polyphenols and there’s recent evidence that suggests that consuming polyphenols can be a powerful way to protect ageing arteries. n Removes toxins from your body: The incredible amount of chlorophyll in Matcha detoxifies your body of heavy metals and toxins naturally. n Keeps you well-hydrated: Public health nutritionist Dr Carrie Ruxton, of Kings College, London, states that tea rehydrates just as well as water does, but it also has many other health benefits. Water is essentially replacing fluid she writes; tea replaces fluids and contains antioxidants. n Improves your oral health: Matcha reduces the number of streptococcus and lactobacillus in the mouth. From eliminating bad breath to fighting bacterial infection, Matcha prevents cavities and strengthens gums. n Keeps you energised: Coffee and energy drinks give you an energy spike and then the
caffeine crash. The problem is the caffeine in these drinks has an acid effect that impacts the adrenal glands. This causes spikes in adrenaline glucose and insulin levels, which causes the resulting jitters, nervousness, sleeplessness and hunger pangs. The caffeine in Matcha, however, forms a bond with numerous nutrients so that it enters the bloodstream slowly over time, leading to a steady level of energy for up to six hours and most importantly, avoiding the one hour spike and crash. n Helps you to focus: The fact that Matcha promotes energy levels, does not mean that it doesn’t help to calmly focus on the task at
hand. The L-theanine in Matcha promotes a calm, attentive state. n Removes free radicals: The antioxidants in Matcha protect your body from free radical damage, preventing ageing and cellular damage. Matcha is justly recognised as a ‘superfood’. Whether you choose culinary grade Matcha to make a smoothie or latte or choose finest ceremonial grade to drink as a tea, you will be choosing to consume an incredible array of vitamins and nutrients. Richard Foster-Fletcher is the founder of Teaologists (teaologists.co.uk)
A MATCHA MADE IN HEAVEN GET YOUR MARVELLOUS MATCHA FIX HERE Teaologists Japanese Ceremonial Grade Matcha Treat yourself to this finest Japanese ceremonial grade organic Matcha tea powder from Teaologists. Sourced directly from an award winning family owned tea plantation in Uji, Japan, it’s the genuine article. Guaranteed with the Teaologists ‘Love it or your money back’ promise. £19.95 (40g) teaologists.co.uk
Pukka Matcha Range
Pukka Herbs’ Matcha is grown on an organic farm on a volcanic island called Jeju Do, off the South Korean coast. The new tea range includes: Mint Matcha Green, Supreme Matcha Green, Ginseng Matcha Green and Clean Matcha Green. £2.79 pukkaherbs.com
Tea Special 2016
Alternat-teas Man cannot live by tea alone, but fear not, there are plenty of tasty alternative drinks out there
ut I don’t like tea! Don’t worry, there are plenty of other tea-inspired (and coffee-inspired) drinks for you too. We’ve picked a few great tasting alternatives, brought to you via food and drink innovators Sweet Revolution (sweetrevolution.co.uk). The company has created a new range of drinks that uses coconut milk combined with unrefined coconut sugar and various superfoods for a healthier alternative to many of the instant drinks in the marketplace. Plus they’re free from dairy, lactose and refined cane sugar.
You might have seen turmeric lattes being sold in trendy health shops like Planet Organic or Wholefoods. Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in Indian ayurvedic, traditional Chinese and ancient Hindu medicines. Throughout the Orient it has been recognised for its amazing properties and is even used as a component in religious ceremonies. The West is only just beginning to recognise the wonderful properties of this brilliant yellow spice.
In China, the Reishi mushroom is the most widely used symbol of longevity. Its use dates back 2,000 years, making it one of the oldest mushrooms known to have been used medicinally. The ancient kings and emperors all consumed Reishi tea and it has attained a reputation in the East as the ultimate herbal substance.
Matcha is a superhero amongst teas, as it is super concentrated and packed full of goodness. It has been used for hundreds of years by Buddhist monks to keep them alert, focused and calm during meditation. It is prized in Japan and is fast becoming an alternative to coffee in the UK as people discover its unique flavour and remarkable qualities.
If all else fails, there’s always hot chocolate. But don’t just drink any old hot choc. The Sweet Revolution folks have crafted a blend using the best Criollo cacao from the rainforests of Peru, farmed without agrochemicals by cooperative farmers’ groups to support the local economy. The Criollo bean, which represents only 5% of the world’s cacao production, is aromatic and lacking in bitterness. Beans are minimally processed at low temperatures to preserve natural characteristics. Perfect for a winter’s evening.
Competition Enjoy a luxury break in the UK with Forest Holidays
OM Yoga & Lifestyle magazine have teamed up with Forest Holidays to offer one lucky winner and up to 3 guests a fabulous 3-night weekend break in a luxury cabin set in breathtaking British woodland. Accommodation will be in a fully equipped two bedroom Silver Birch cabin on a selfcatering basis, sleeping up to four people. Each cabin comes with soaring windows with dramatic forest views and your own private hot tub from which to stargaze late into the night. Choose from one of 9 stunning locations exclusively on Forestry Commission land, subject to availability. While each location offers something different; from the tranquil lochs in Scotland, to the arresting views over the North York Moors at Cropton or Keldy, down to the invigorating coastal walks in Cornwall, all promise a perfect picture of stunning scenery as you venture on your countryside walk. If you want to relax and unwind you have come to the perfect place. Whether you are travelling as a group of friends, a couple or with family, your cabin is your personal sanctuary in the forest. The freedom, the fresh air and the forest are yours to enjoy at your own pace, the choice is endless and the choice is yours. Get ready for action, choosing archery, kayaking or cycling, or master the art of relaxing, opting for gentle woodland walks, enjoying a sensory spa treatment or simply unwinding in the private comfort of your cabin or hot tub. All Forest Holiday locations have cycle trails and woodland walks, plus a variety of outdoor activities including Forest Ranger activities. Every location has a resident Forest Ranger - an expert in the life of the forest who is ready and eager to share their woodland skills and knowledge with you. Dogs are also welcome in specific pet-friendly accommodation. Visit www.forestholidays.co.uk to find out more
To enter please go to ommagazine.com/forest2016 82
Save 10% on a Forest Holidays cabin Forest Holidays are offering OM Yoga & Lifestyle magazine readers a 10% discount off the price of a Forest Holidays cabin for breaks taken by 28 February 2017. To book enter the promotional code YOGA16 at www.forestholidays.co.uk or telephone 03330 110495 and quote the code. Book by 30 November 2016 * Terms and conditions apply. The prize is a 3 night weekend break in a 2 bedroom Silver Birch cabin. The prize can be taken any time up to 30 June 2017, subject to availability (excluding Christmas, New Year and Easter). The prize is valid for use at any one of nine locations listed above. The prize is non-transferable and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers. The prize can only be used against one booking. The winner is responsible for transport to and from their chosen location. The break is on a self-catering basis; food, travel, organised leisure activities and Forest Ranger walks, and any other additional costs associated with the break are not covered by this prize. No part of the prize is exchangeable for cash or any other prize. Competition is open to UK and RoI residents aged 18 or over. The reader offer must be booked by 30 November 2016 for stays up to 28 February 2017, subject to availability. The reader offer is not available in conjunction with any other offer and the code must be entered at the time of booking. The offer can be withdrawn or amended at any time at the discretion of Forest Holidays. The 10% is off the price of the cabin only. Closing date: 13 October 2016
om mind Meditation of the month
A meditation to help you overcome a yoga plateau, without discouragement. By Jill Lawson
eaching a plateau in yoga can be discouraging. When we first roll out the yoga mat, a rapid swell in our ability gives rise to our motivation to keep practicing. We embrace the cresting wave of progress, but inevitably, the acceleration that pushed us forward will wane and leave us reeling aimlessly on the proverbial yoga plateau. In between the thrill of being on top of the curve, and the dream of overcoming challenges on the mat, there is a pause. This very moment in time is what makes many give up on our aspirations of becoming better yogis. We owe it to ourselves to keep going. First, we must understand that while time may seem to be at a standstill when our practice lags, nothing is ever stagnant. In fact, we are in a continual state of motion. Molecules in our bodies are moving, our hearts keep beating, our blood keeps flowing, and our minds keep thinking. Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, understood this to be true when he said, â€œThe only thing that is constant is change.â€? If you have reached a plateau in your yoga practice, the following meditation will keep you from feeling discouraged by your apparent lack of progress. Practice this meditation when accelerated changes in your mind and body have slowed.
Get right to the point. yogajellies.com
Do it now
Begin in a comfortable position, free from distraction. Take several deep breaths to clear your mind and relax your body. Bring your awareness to the image of an ocean. Notice the dynamic movement of the sea, and let this image settle in your mind. Next, off in the distance, see a swell begin to develop. Watch this swell pick up speed as it reaches its maximum height. Within seconds, see the swell crash and flatten, as it stretches across the shore. While it may seem like nothing is happening as you anticipate the next swell, take a closer look. What do you see? Perhaps you notice a unique pattern of sea foam across the surface of the ocean. Maybe you can hear hundreds of tiny ocean bubbles popping. Whatever you envision, bring all of your attention to the nuances during the plateau before the next swell. Now notice the same subtleties in your body. Become intrigued by the constant changes that are happening moment by moment, and in between the accelerated waves of your progress on the mat. Cherish this time, because the next wave is coming!
Jill Lawson is a writer and yoga teacher in Colorado, USA (jilllawsonyoga.com)
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Feeling overwhelmed? Get out of your head and into your body through grounding. By Stella Tomlinson
here are you living? No, I don’t mean which town, or whether you’re in a house or an apartment. I mean, what space do you occupy? Do you live in your mind or do you inhabit your body? It’s a good question to ask yourself because in our busy lives it can be all too easy just to occupy the top two inches of our body and live in the mind. And when we live in our minds we’re rarely present. We over-analyse the past and fret about the future. We’re at the mercy of the to-do list in our heads. We lose perspective. We might fly off the handle at the merest provocation. We daydream, disappearing into our thought. Occupying the mental plane of existence disconnects us from our body. Our breath becomes shallow and our muscles get tense and tight. We ignore our
body’s needs or stop noticing them at all. When we ignore our body, such as its need for regular movement, rest and relaxation, and good nutrition, we cut ourselves off from our physical foundations. This affects our base chakra – Muladhara. Living in our heads we lose the sense of stability, safety and security a balanced base chakra gives us. And this can manifest as problems with the feet and legs, the skeletal and immune systems, and the lower digestive tract, as well as feelings of fear
“Physically we ground by re-establishing our connection with the earth through our legs and feet.”
and anxiety. So, how can we reassemble our body and mind? Through grounding.
Grounding brings our base chakra back into healthy function. The Sankskrit name for this chakra – Muladhara – means ‘root support’ so when we ground we actively root our awareness into our body, the physical world and the earth. We root our awareness into the here and now – we become present. Physically we ground by re-establishing our connection with the earth through our legs and feet. Mentally we can ground by imagining roots anchoring us to the stability of the earth. The simplest way to ground is to get outside and feel the earth beneath your feet – barefoot ideally. Walk slowly feeling into each step as you lift then place each foot. Connect to the healing vibes of
om mind Breathe deeply. Feel your abdomen pressing against the strong ground as you inhale, and relaxing as you exhale. Simply rest on the ground and allow the anxiety, physical tension and busy thoughts to drain away down into the earth. Repeat to yourself: “I release my worries. I let go of tension. I am becoming calm. I am calm.” Also, Warrior Poses help us to ground by feeling a strong connection to the earth through our legs and feet. Child’s Pose is another gentle way to ground; we can withdraw our senses inwards away from outside stimuli and feel our connection with the earth.
Grounding with meditation
the earth. Or, go and sit or stand by a tree – let its roots become your roots. Feel the tree’s strength and steadiness. We can also use our yoga and meditation practice to ground.
Grounding with yoga
Mountain Pose (Tadasana): stand in stillness, feet hip-width apart. Knees soft, core gently engaged. Feel the inner support of your spine and relax your muscles around that inner support. Feel the soles of your feet in contact with the ground you are standing on. Feel the strength and stability in your legs, rising to your core. Let any excess nervous tension flow away down and out through the soles of your feet into the earth. Move your attention from the frenzy of thoughts and invite a feeling of tranquillity as you stand still in silence. You are as strong and still as a mountain. Crocodile Pose (Makarasana): lie face down, legs and feet wide and let your heels turn in towards each other. Rest your forehead on the backs of your hands.
Sit in a comfortable but upright position. Close your eyes. Take some deep breaths. Notice where your body is in contact with the ground, or with the surface you are sitting upon. Let yourself feel supported. Become aware of the effects of gravity on your body: sensations of being supported, being held. A pleasant heaviness. Feelings of stability and stillness. Feel as if you have deep roots, anchoring you firmly to the strong earth beneath you. Breathe out, down into the ground. Connect to the silent strength and stillness of the earth. And as you become rooted, you become strong and stable. Your body relaxes. Your muscles release tension. Your mind becomes quiet and calm. Rest for as long as feels good, connecting to the earth, connecting to strength and stability. To finish, imagine you can draw up nourishing energy from the earth, through your roots: maybe strength, courage, stillness. Let your body, mind and soul be filled with the energy you need. Then slowly begin to move and carry on with the rest of your day, reenergised through connecting to the infinite support of the earth beneath you.
Know you are supported
So, whenever you feel off balance, get out of your head and come back into your body and feel your feet on the ground. And know that you always have the stillness, rock-solid stability and security of the earth beneath you to tap into when life’s demands are leaving you overwhelmed, confused and frazzled. You are safe. You are secure. You are loved. Let the earth hold you. Stella Tomlinson is a Dru yoga and meditation teacher based in Hampshire (livingyogawithstella.com)
om mind De-Stress: Yoga off the Mat
Yoga = mindfulness Charlotte Watts explains how mindfulness is intrinsically a part of yoga practice
ith mindfulness showing such positive effects for how we can navigate the choppy waters of life, we can feel pressure to be ‘doing that’ as well as our yoga practice. So it’s quite the relief to find that yoga is in essence ‘mindful’. Mindfulness in its more modern, secular (non-religious) form has become popular out of necessity. In a world full of distraction, information, things to want, constant comparison and judgement, to actively choose to simply experience the present moment can save our sanity; it can offer perspective to remember what’s actually important and give us the tools to have a flexible and non-reactive mind. Although most cite the roots of mindfulness in Buddhism, many religions and nature-connected traditions value the awareness and compassion that come together to characterise mindfulness. This is also true within texts used to inform modern yoga practices. The Bhagavad Gita mentions it as: “Clear, discerning, totally voluntary, dynamic participation in one’s life.” “Heightened sensitivity and awareness of all life around us and within us, and an outpour of love in reciprocation with life’s wonder and beauty.” “Intimate connection with the whole universe, with eternal realms even beyond the manifested universe, and with our own being’s endless capacity to love.”
“Mindfulness in its more modern, secular (non-religious) form has become popular out of necessity.” 88
Mindfulness & meditation
This refers to the whole sphere of yoga philosophy, with posture (asana) practice a later addition to support meditation (dhyana). Mindfulness is one technique within meditation and one that works well for the modern brain as it gives us a focus; for many of us, it is habitual now to struggle without constant stimulus. Its focus on the breath and the body helps create the ‘embodied awareness’ that has shown to actively shut down the left-brain chatter that can dominate our internal landscape and show up as constant self-criticism and judgement, ruminating on the past and creating projections for the future. Often, it can seem like we even have a personal voice-over narrating everything we do – no wonder we can struggle with the stillness and quiet of meditation. All of this can be going on during a physical yoga practice and is the reason why many people respond to a ‘moving’ rather than ‘still’ meditative art, particularly when starting out. It is important to make the distinction here that mindfulness is inherent within yoga – without this steadiness of attention, this continually bringing ourselves back to the felt experience of each moment, simply moving through some physical motions or gymnastics is not practicing yoga or ‘union’, as it is translated. Those with busy minds can be drawn to faster practices as there’s less time to be with open space. These can still the mind effectively, but at some point we need to meet ourselves. One way of looking at ‘union’ is that of mind-body. Our Western perspective tends to separate these out and stress can fracture the link further. A focus on our mind occupying our body during practice both quietens the mind and allows us to see the subtle nuances that deepens our practice; how we listen and not respond, not just where we put our foot.
om mind What makes a yoga practice mindful?
n Actually being there: thinking about what to have for dinner or a chat you had earlier means your mind is not in sync with where your body is, right here, right now. Mind and body are separated by our tendencies to follow thoughts and feelings off somewhere else. A mindful practice involves bringing ourselves back to bodily sensations and the rhythm of the breath whenever we notice we’ve wandered – kindly and steadily, as if it’s important, but without harsh words that our heads are so busy. n Slowing down: going too fast can leave us no time or space to actually feel what’s going on within a pose or transition. Like a train going fast, the view out of the window can become a blur. To connect and experience with what is here, true and arising, dare to slow down. Letting go of needing to get lots done or push into postures is a truly advanced practice; one where we meet ourselves, hold what is coming up for us and create a meditative space. n Observing when we’ve separated out mind and body: to be mindful, we have to first notice we’ve gone somewhere else. Of course, when we’re off in a story it’s easy to be just going through the motions physically; being the witness and choosing to come back become easier with practice.
Feel the body
With the mind being as it naturally is – distracted, busy, preoccupied, meandering, avoiding – it needs to be constantly reminded of its purpose in a practice, to stay with whatever is arising whether the body is moving or staying still in a posture. These reminders need to be gentle so as not to activate the often very over developed tendency of the mind to castigate or criticise. When stress can have us living up in our heads and trauma can shut us off from being able to feel neck down, some physical gestures and cues can help guide us back to fully experiencing yoga: n Feel whatever part of your body is meeting the ground and drop your attention down into gravity to feel the weight of your being to know you are here. n This can be most helpful if you’re standing, where dropping attention into your feet on the earth is furthest away from your head, where we can inwardly see our thoughts living. n Touch any part of your body to acknowledge that you are physically present and draw your mind’s attention to that fact; even stroke, hug or press into yourself to illicit a felt sensation in the present. n Move your jaw around to release tension there that can shut us off from sensations below. n Place a hand on your heart to foster the self-compassion that is the seed of awareness that isn’t simply vigilance. Here you can meet what’s arising without the need to run away and distract yourself elsewhere with thoughts. This mindfulness stuff takes courage! n Feel bodily sensations without judgement, so rather than ‘like/dislike’, ‘good/bad’, ‘pleasant/unpleasant’, step away from these dualities and feel as they are; in terms of flavours, colours, temperature, pressure, texture. In this way, we react less and our perceptions to discomfort can change from reactive to interested. n Notice that everything is continually changing - one of the few things we can rely on in life and to be relaxed into as mindfulness seeps out of our practice into our lives. Charlotte Watts is a UK-based yoga instructor and the author of The De-Stress Effect: Rebalance Your Body’s Systems for Vibrant Health and Happiness (charlottewattshealth.com)
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Nourish yourself Raise your vibration with kindness and selflove: the key to quitting over-eating, drinking, smoking and other harmful behaviours
his is a story of self-worth. Perhaps more of a case for cultivating self-worth than a story, but come with me anyhow – let’s take ourselves higher. Because without having met you, I can promise you that you’re worthy of reaching a place of glorious self-esteem, worthy of the freedom it will generously grant to you, and worthy of the nourishment it will bring to every aspect of your beautiful life. Most people have a ‘thing’. That ‘thing’ might be in the form of over-eating, a little too much alcohol consumption, smoking, sugar addiction, or a multitude of other harmful behaviours; something that’s relied on, maybe even enjoyed. Yet if it’s not doing us any good then why do we stay so loyal to it? Why do we hold on to it? Because it’s common practice to punish ourselves. It’s okay, nearly everyone does it. But the key is to grow out of it. I don’t mean grow as in ‘grow up’, the condescending phrase a parent would snap at us. I mean grow gently, grow beautifully, grow towards the light, grow into our potential. Essentially, grow into a place of unconditional love. Because that’s the purpose of life; to learn how to nourish ourselves, to forgive ourselves – to love ourselves no matter what. Because when we love ourselves we care for ourselves; there’s just no other way. FOUR STEPS TO UNDERSTANDING AND APPROACHING SELF-LOVE 1. Understand that the key is a conscious choice to cultivate self-love 2. Recognise that it’s okay not to have full self-love yet – you’re working on it now 3. Know that the very best approach is one of gentleness 4. See that self-love means loving yourself for everything – not just the good but the other stuff too. When we can look in the mirror and love ourselves for where we feel we went wrong too – that’s when we are gaining traction in the journey of setting our beautiful selves free
om mind Be kind to yourself
So if love is the foundation, what’s the other key ingredient? Kindness. We are all so hard on ourselves. We have been conditioned to think that we must be flawless and when we fall short of that (which is inevitable) we beat ourselves up for not being good enough. It’s a burden to carry this guilt, this self-disgust, even if it is buried deep beneath a facade of smiles. But the truth is that you are always good enough, so please be kind to yourself at every twist and turn. Be kind to yourself when you are happy but more importantly when you are stressed, when you get it ‘wrong’, when you say something you wished you hadn’t said, or when your butt isn’t looking its best in that new dress. So how do we get to a place of self-love and self-worth, to raise our self-esteem? We accept that it’s a journey. We tell ourselves that it’s okay that we have low self-respect, that it’s a symptom of our era. Equally, this is the era of learning to self-love. We are pioneers for even being aware of the significance of self-worth. And that’s the best thing: no other generation in our millions of years of existence knew so much about selfesteem; it just wasn’t high on the agenda – survival was! So it’s okay not to know how to love ourselves. And the fact that you’re here reading this now means that you’re ready to up your self-love. Because the truth is that we can always love ourselves more. We’re all still learning really. And when we love ourselves not only do we nourish ourselves, but we come into alignment with the truth – that we are love. We’re divine – we are love coming to know itself. That’s why love feels so good, because
we are aligning with the truth. We resonate peacefully again because what we believe and feel about ourselves reflects what we actually are. And that’s where the beauty is. That’s where we no longer want to consume substances in a way that is unloving. It just doesn’t fit anymore.
Raise the vibration
At the end of the day, it’s all about energy. Love is the highest vibration, so when we love ourselves we are raising our vibration and we automatically shift into a life that is at that frequency. So you see all this is better for you, better for others, and better for the planet. How do you know when you’ve got there? When you look out the window and declare, with gusto, a full love and appreciation for life on a daily basis. When you deeply know how incredible you are and you love yourself with a passion deeper than you have ever loved anyone else with. That’s the goal! It may take weeks, months or years to get there (or less), but it’s so worthwhile. I don’t think there is a more important journey we can take than to say goodbye to harmful, and hello to healthy. You don’t really want to hurt yourself. You want to love yourself. It is the most liberating, rewarding, kindest thing you can ever do for yourself. Set yourself free – you deserve it. Bountologist (bountologist.com) is dedicated to improving self-worth globally and to redefining success as the cultivation of a self-defined, positive and purposeful life for the benefit of the individual and the world as a whole
FOUR TACTICS TO FALLING IN LOVE WITH OURSELVES 1. Every time you find yourself by a mirror, gaze into your eyes so that you are connecting with yourself and tell yourself (silently or out loud) that you love yourself. Keep doing this...forever! It will feel more and more natural as you go along 2. Buy yourself a nice journal and write down regularly (ideally every day) what you love about yourself – capture the whole of you not just the shiny bits! 3. Get into the habit of talking to yourself positively – celebrate yourself for the small stuff as well as the bigger life achievements 4. Have a self-love date with yourself. Do something on your own that would make you really happy. You know the effort and thoughtfulness you put into those who are special to you? Give yourself some of that!
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: Leena Haynes Age: 32 Location: Kelvedon, Essex and London Training: Yoga Alliance and BWY (Dr Elena Voyce of Teach Yoga): Qualifying in 2015 Specialism: Hatha, Vinyasa, partner work and any yoga to support other fitness and sporting pursuits Describe yourself as a colour Without a doubt yellow. I love bright colours - wearing them as well as looking at them. Everything seems better when the sun shines. Best part of the day I am up with the larks and tend to do my yoga practice, gym and personal training in the morning. The evenings for me are for relaxing with a book and a cup of tea, after any teaching that I do. In London, I train where I teach in a small independent martial arts centre called Tokei. It’s a wonderful venue – slightly retro but I jumped at the chance to have a teaching slot there. I also love visiting Indaba in Marylebone, London when time permits. Favourite meal I am spoilt because my mum is a brilliant cook. She follows ayurvedic principles and applies them to her life and particularly her cooking, so she has taught me along the way too. My husband Michael is also a brilliant cook. Mum is totally vegetarian but I like seafood and fish too. When I cook, I go for curries – comfort food. If it’s a restaurant meal then I will choose seafood or fish. Thrills and spills I’m not an adrenaline junkie but I love anything that gets me outdoors, even if it’s going for a walk. I really love open water swimming in rivers and lakes. I’ve swum in the Thames but upriver from London, more towards Surrey. Being on the open water is calming and tranquil, a lovely experience. I enjoy kayaking and last year went paddle boarding at sunset in Richmond – simply beautiful. Favourite film Paddington. Seriously. I know there are some spectacular films out there but Paddington captures my heart. I thought Hugh Bonneville was brilliant in it and the animation and computer-generated characters were technically and visually brilliant. The whole story is heart warming and tender. And I love anything by Jane Austen too.
Favourite book Winnie the Pooh and the anthology of poems by AA Milne, they take pride of place on my bookshelf. A yoga book I repeatedly refer to is Anatomy Trains by Thomas Myers. He puts a different spin on yoga anatomy compared with other authors and my understanding improves each time I return to a paragraph – it evolves with you, so I am always learning. Secret escape Anywhere in France or Italy. I speak French and I love the people, they’re so friendly, and just like in the UK there are so many places to visit. Someone who has inspired you Elena Voyce, my yoga teacher trainer. She has got this way that just makes sense. Students learn in different ways, but she is able to connect with people in a personal way; she gives clarity to yoga. Cannot live without My partner Michael. He’s awesome. We met at work about 10 years ago and got married in July.
om spirit discover our urban oasis
Relax...? A poem by Sharon Browne
I just can’t seem to meditate, My brain just won’t stay still, Half way in my back will ache, And my hips are sooo tight that they kill, I try so hard to let it all go, Drift off to a peaceful place, My thoughts just dwell on my shopping list, And there’s still tension in every place! How do some people do it? Their concentration is so complete, I prefer to lie down in Savasana, So that at least I can grab a quick sleep… (I still keep trying though, practice makes perfect)
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Living in the
urban jungle Quit looking outside for answers, says Chris Nelson. The noisy, restless disconnect of the urban jungle is not ‘out there’ at all, but rather a state of mind within us
ur modern lifestyles are frequently out of balance, with enormous numbers of people experiencing high levels of stress and chronic disease. Many of us have lost our essential connection with Mother Nature and, consequently, our own inner nature. In the last few decades we have created a digital world that is characterised by violence, greed, individualism, breakdown of community, all the while our earthly biosphere is being increasingly ravaged. More than ever before, we are being called to question our purpose here on planet Earth, and the answer can often be elusive. I believe we are living at a fascinating and defining moment in human history. Do we turn left, or do we turn right? Are we part of the solution or are we actually, unwittingly, a part of the problem? Over the last couple of centuries, science has eclipsed both religion and nature. This has heralded an exceptional time in human history, where groundbreaking technological developments have been emerging at an accelerating rate. There has never been such a pantheon of choice available to us, and a richness of life to explore. Yet these are
confusing times too. So much so, that we really have little idea of what the future may hold for us.
If we take an objective look at human beings today, and the way in which so many of us live in vast clusters, or the ‘urban jungle’, we frequently appear obsessed with consuming and acquiring ever more. There is an unspoken belief that something ‘out there’ will magically make us feel happy and fulfilled. This is in spite of the fact that everything about our life experience so far suggests the opposite – nothing ‘out there’ has ever yielded enduring happiness. When we pursue the superficial blip of calm and happiness that results from buying a new sports car, dating an attractive partner, owning more clothes, or indeed realising a previously unattainable yoga posture, we experience what I call the ‘hot bath’ effect. We feel good for a while, but sooner or later, the heat wears off, and we’re back where we started. Everything in the material world is ephemeral. In truth, aren’t we all craving something deeper, some overriding possibility that elicits real fulfilment. Isn’t real success more
to do with peace of mind and a sense of thriving? And surely this has little to do with reaching ever-higher levels on a linear scale of money, possessions, power or postures? My view is that there are three aspects of living in the urban jungle which stand squarely in the way of our health and happiness: n Ignorance: a lack of easily accessible, validated information regarding holistic, natural living n Delegation of responsibility: an assumption that others, or the state – ‘the experts’ – will take care of us n A lack of will power: a tendency to lack the confidence and resolve which enable us to hold true to our deepest desires I believe that many of us are being lulled into a state of helplessness and hopelessness by the prevailing circumstances and our almost sheep-like, status quo mentality. What is required, is the realisation that if we are not taking charge of our own wellbeing – mentally, physically and emotionally – then who is? We are! For sure, self-responsibility requires a level of awareness across the whole of our human lifestyle, but it begins with something far more fundamental.
om spirit Taming the monster
I’d like to share a story with you, ‘Taming The Lake Monster’, about a restless monster that disturbs the waters of a beautiful lake. The monster is a representation of the human mind, and how it tends to seduce us into being lost in unsolicited thought. He’s not a bad monster though, just one who is poorly educated. So the message of the story is that we learn to ‘tame our lake monster’ our unruly mind. Because of our monster’s habit of swimming about randomly, it’s often the case that we can’t see our own inner beauty; and, whether you believe it or not, the beauty is there within us all. The fact that this is sometimes not evident in certain people, is merely a reflection of how busy and distracting their lake monster is. When the monster is allowed to behave in his normal, bothersome way, we are not very happy. Since happiness and health go hand in hand, when we’re not very happy we tend not to be very healthy either. So the biggest problem that we face in life today is not global warming, challenging relationships, or having less money than we would ideally like to have, but rather that our mind is racing out of control. I would like to suggest, however, that this is a huge and magnificent opportunity, since if we can tame our own lake monster - and we can - then we become the masters of our own health and happiness. Unfortunately for much of the time, we give most of our attention to this monster, allowing him to disturb the calm waters of our being. This is what we might call the ‘normal’ state. Yet this is not our natural human state.
Our natural state is to be vibrantly alive, neither stressed nor causing stress to others. It’s natural to take good care of ourselves and therefore want to give of ourselves to others. But due to life’s circumstances, many of us have, to a greater or lesser extent, been programmed into the ‘normal’ state, where we’re frequently lost in thought, are prone to shallow breathing, and are careless with the needs of our body. Because of our own inner unease, or stress, we tend to be less compassionate towards others. Your life experience, and every aspect of your wellbeing, begins with your quality of mind (normal or natural), and this begins with your predominant thoughts. Whatever you focus your mind on, you enliven it with your life force, and generate a vibration that is transmitted throughout your being, and out into the world. So if you continually believe that the programmed thoughts and emotions that arise in your body-mind are ‘who you are’, then you attract and gradually become their likeness. Remember: the mind is everything. What we think we become.
Quality of mind
Your quality of mind is king, in that it determines how you see the world and what you attract towards you, and therefore also who you become. So your predominant thoughts, and your resulting quality of mind, consequently determine the quality of your life. With this in mind, perhaps you begin to see that you have a magical opportunity with this human life that has been given to you. You can become the master of your own wellbeing.
Not only this, but since everything in life is merely energy vibrating at a given frequency, you are literally sending out a vibration into the world around you, which is a mirror of how you are feeling inwardly. It must therefore be true that if you intentionally choose to vibrate with a positive and loving frequency, then this is the impact that you will be having upon the rest of humanity. Through consistently inviting your natural quality of your mind, you will inspire others to do the same, and together we can positively transform the world. Your wellbeing is about making the most of your compelling possibility, rather than believing that you are the victim of your genetic programming and the harshness of life. You have the magical capacity to unleash your creative fire at will, so that you live in the natural realm of magic, and not the normal realm of projecting a conditioned story onto the screen of life. So, my question to you is this: are you turning left, or are you turning right? Are you in your ‘natural’, or your ‘normal’ quality of mind? Moreover, can you perhaps see that the ‘urban jungle’ is not ‘out there’ at all, but rather a state of mind within your own being? Chris Nelson is the founder of Ashiyana Yoga Retreat Village (ashiyana-yoga-goa.com), author of the new book ‘Wake Up and SOAR’ (available on amazon) and creator of the SOAR App (soar-app.com)
om spirit Vidya Jacqueline Heisel considers the obstacles to enlightenment as outlined in the Yoga Sutras, one of yoga’s greatest classical texts
s well as compiling the Eight Limbed Path of Yoga – the journey to help us awaken – in the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali also makes us aware of the five main obstacles on the path, known as Kleshas in Sanskrit.
Avidya is the main culprit, from which all of the other kleshas are generated. In yoga, ignorance is considered to be a lack of knowledge of the true nature of things. We can only be ignorant until the knowledge of who we really are is imparted to us. Once we have heard the truth, we no longer have an excuse to act out of ignorance. Until then, ignorance is just a condition, not a fault. However, once we have heard the truth - and studying the Yoga Sutras is undoubtedly one way in which the truth can be revealed to us - if we do not live from that knowledge, we are stealing from ourselves, meaning that we are knowingly not living up to our highest truth, which ultimately will create samskaras, or mental impressions, which can influence our future actions negatively. The wisdom or knowledge (vidya) that is revealed in the first few verses of the Yoga Sutras is that we are wrongly identified with a separate sense of self (the ‘me’ or ‘I’ that we take ourselves to be) and that who we are, in reality, is divine consciousness or the Seer itself (Sutra 1:3 Tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam).
Fundamental ignorance of who we really are gives birth to Asmita or ego. The ego is a false persona that we have strongly identified with. It is made up of memories, conditionings, concepts, ideas, neurosis, fears and desires. It is always very limited and contracted. It is never a positive thing. The ego leads to all manner of selfishness and destructiveness. It wants to defend itself, protect its perceived territory, and it always wants to be right. Everything that is wrong with the world arises out of ego. The ego is fuelled by fear and desire, the next two kleshas.
Raga, Attraction and Dwesha, Aversion
These two kleshas can be seen as two sides of one coin. Sometimes we may feel indifferent towards other people and events,
but more commonly we have emotional reactions to things. Raga is being attracted to, deriving pleasure from, and desiring more of a certain person, thing or event. On the other hand, dwesha is the experience of dislike, repulsion, and a desire to avoid a person or an event. Either way we are trapped, as we bounce between these two opposing emotions, either craving things or trying to push them away. Human beings, understandably, constantly seek pleasure and try to avoid pain. However, when we do this, we are basing our happiness on external events. This is a recipe for unhappiness, since we have no ultimate control over external events. So if we are truly practicing yoga, we come to understand the futility of raga and dwesha; that they only bring about suffering, as we get caught up in the resulting emotional roller coaster. Instead, we can choose to wisely step back and become the witness, watching our desires and aversions arise and fall away, and not allowing ourselves to be caught up in them. In time, everything arises and everything falls away. The wise man knows this and lives his life accordingly.
Yoga Show Stand M-04
Abhinivesha, Clinging To Bodily Life
We cling to life because of ignorance and a strong identification with, and attachment to, the ego or separate sense of self. We think we are this body, that was born and will die, and we fear that who we are will disappear with it. In yoga it is known that who we truly are was never born and cannot die, because we are the eternal, changeless self. Once we know this and identify only with our essence or true self, we will no longer fear death. We understand that although the physical body will perish, our spirit or soul is eternal. Vidya Jacqueline Heisel is the director of Frog Lotus Yoga International Yoga Teacher Training Programmes (FrogLotusYogaInternational.com) and director of Suryalila Retreat Centre in Andalusia, Spain (Suryalila.com)
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THE 5 KLESHAS Avidya: Ignorance Asmita: Ego Raga: Attraction Dwesha: Aversion Abhinivesha: Clinging To Bodily Life
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Going beyond to achieve your true potential. Karen Farhat explores the world of transpersonal counselling, a psychology rooted in science but drawing on spirit
n today’s fast paced and demanding world, we all grapple with stress and face challenges. Some daily issues are easy to manage through the practice of yoga and mindfulness, but others prove to be more of a struggle. Professional therapies that can make a difference are nothing new, but there’s one particular therapeutic approach which is not especially well known but is definitely worth looking into: transpersonal counselling (also known as transpersonal psychology). In basic terms, transpersonal means ‘beyond the person’. And so in transpersonal counselling both human experience and a spiritual framework (that lies beyond human experience) are treated. This relatively new field of counselling is geared to helping people discover their full potential as it addresses things comprehensively from different angles.
Purpose and meaning
In transpersonal counselling life is not seen as a series of random events. On the contrary, the events in our lives are full of purpose and meaning. Realising this helps us get through hard times. Instead of trying to ‘fix’ the problems encountered in life, transpersonal counselling turns things around and transforms these problems into opportunities to unlock greater internal potential. This points the way to healing and growth in our lives. It is interesting to note that in transpersonal counselling, there are no ‘one size fits all’ methods or ‘go to’ tools. Rather, it focuses on intervention that is rooted in intention. Relationships are key since naturally we, as humans, are part of something larger and more profound. This is reflected in how we interact with others and how the trained therapist relates to clients. Even the role of the therapist
is fresh and extremely beneficial since he or she plays the role of a facilitator rather than an expert, guiding the client towards greener pastures. It is the individual client who discovers his or her own truth. Transpersonal counselling is also liberating since there is no judgement involved, ensuring clients can speak freely without fear. Most importantly, it is not a trend or fad or mumbo jumbo. It is a legitimate approach which was pioneered by well-known psychologists such as Carl Jung, Abraham Maslow and William James, although it wasn’t really until the 1960s when it came into its own: “with the purpose of creating a new psychology that would honour the entire spectrum of human experience, including various non-ordinary states of consciousness” (Stanislav Grof).
Unique and insightful
So what makes transpersonal counselling unique and impactful? Unlike many other approaches, it includes life’s spiritual dimension, something which is often overlooked. It revolves around the belief that our character and traits are not rigidly defined and are nothing more than an outer façade. Our real self, or true essence, is what truly warrants attention. It also acknowledges different states of consciousness (from emotions to dreams), equally addressing our spiritual, social, intellectual, emotional, physical and creative sides. When these inner aspects are improved, then long-term change is achievable. Practically anyone can reap the benefits of transpersonal counselling, especially people who are more open to exploring their spiritual side. Since the ‘spiritual’ in this form of counselling is not tied to any religion, it works well with people of all faiths. Three key areas are typically integrated into transpersonal counselling: beyond ego (ego-transcended) psychology, transformative psychology and integrative/holistic psychology. And yet nothing is really engrained in stone. It is all about what is best for the individual client.
This is why a diverse selection of techniques are used in transpersonal counselling sessions, including meditation, guided visualisations, altered states of consciousness (such as hypnosis), breath-work, body awareness and movement, goal-setting, journal writing, inner child healing, yoga therapy, dream work, regression therapy, assertive training, symbolic art work and more. All this is geared towards guiding the client along the path to selfactualisation and self-realisation. Through this approach, individuals and groups (e.g. families and work colleagues) can uncover a heightened understanding of themselves, their relationships and their abilities. And this in turn empowers them with the means to be in better control and to live life to the fullest. If you want to address issues at their spiritual root and transform your life through positivity, then transpersonal counselling might be a catalyst for change for you. There are many respected names in the world of wellness that offer transpersonal counselling, so be sure to do a little research to find professionals with the right training and adequate experience. Karen Farhat is the founder of the Body Mind Consultancy (BMC) which offers Transpersonal Counselling via its branches in London and Beirut as well as personalised online sessions accessible anywhere (bodymindconsultancy.co.uk)
Sweet and simple vegan-friendly recipes that are great for any time of the day
Sweet and smoky tempeh strips Makes: 18 to 20 pieces
Ingredients • • • • • • • • • • • •
1 block (8 ounces, or 227 g) plain soy tempeh ¼ cup (60 ml) maple syrup 2 tablespoons (30 ml) liquid smoke 2 tablespoons (30 ml) mild-flavored vegetable oil, optional 2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce 1 tablespoon (14 g) packed brown sugar 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste ½ teaspoon black pepper ½ teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon onion powder ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
“This bacon is perfect for making in big batches and keeping on hand in the fridge. Eat the strips cold; reheat in a toaster oven or microwave; or pan fry in a bit of oil to get ’em nice and crispy.”
Beans not on toast Makes: 4 or 8 sandwiches
Ingredients FOR THE WAFFLES: • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) sesame oil • 1 tablespoon (21 g) agave nectar • 1 cup (235 ml) plain nondairy milk, lukewarm • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice • 1 teaspoon salt • Scant 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
FOR THE BEANS: • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
Steam or simmer the tempeh for 20 minutes to reduce bitterness, if desired. 2. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, including the oil, if using, to make the marinade. 3. Slice the tempeh into thin strips. In a shallow dish, combine the tempeh and marinade. Allow to marinate for at least 1 hour in the fridge. 4. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Arrange the tempeh in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Pour any excess marinade over the tempeh. Bake for 15 minutes, flip, and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the tempeh is a rich chocolate-brown color, dry but still flexible. 5. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
2. 3. 4. 5.
6. 7. 8. 9.
• • • • • • • • •
4 large tomatoes, diced small ¼3 cup (50 g) minced shallot 6 cloves garlic, minced ¼ cup (60 ml) apple cider vinegar ¼ cup (66 g) tomato paste 2 teaspoons vegan Worcestershire sauce 2 cans (15 ounces, or 425 g each) pinto beans, drained and rinsed ½ teaspoon smoked sea salt, to taste ¼ teaspoon black pepper, to taste
FOR THE SANDWICHES: • Nondairy butter, for serving • Chopped fresh parsley, for serving
To make the waffles: In a large bowl, combine the oil, agave, milk, juice, and salt. Add the flour and yeast. Stir for a few minutes, stabbing the dough with a spatula to knead it. Cover and let rise for 2 hours, or until doubled in size. Punch down the dough. Divide it into 4 or 8 equal portions. (The dough will be sticky, so moisten your hands if needed.) Use a heaping ½ cup (155 g) dough for 4 portions or ¼ cup (78 g) for 8 portions. Place the portions on parchment and let rest for 15 minutes. Place one (if using a standard waffle iron) or two (if using a large and wide Belgian waffle iron) portions of dough on the iron and press closed for a few seconds to spread the dough. Bake for 8 minutes, or until golden brown and the edges of the waffles aren’t doughy. Cool waffles on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining dough. To make the beans: In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook the tomatoes, shallot, and garlic for 2 minutes, or until the tomatoes get saucy. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, paste, and Worcestershire. Add to the skillet. Cook for 1 minute. Add the beans, salt, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. To assemble the sandwiches: Spread butter on each waffle. Divide the bean mixture among the waffles. Sprinkle with parsley.
om living “If eating granola promotes peace on Earth, free love, and happiness, well, then, pour another bowl, man!”
Groovy Granola Makes: 1 pound (454 g)
Ingredients • • • • • • • • •
2 cups (164 g) old-fashioned rolled oats ½ cup (45 g) sliced almonds ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon salt ½ cup (120 ml) agave nectar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ¼ cup (56 g) nondairy butter, melted 1 cup (14 g) freeze-dried blueberries
Preheat the oven to 300F (150C, or gas mark 2). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. 2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, cinnamon, and salt. 3. In a small bowl, combine the agave, vanilla, and butter. 4. Add to the oat mixture and toss to coat. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet and spread in a single layer. Bake for 30 minutes, turning with a spatula every 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. 5. Return the mixture to the bowl and mix in the blueberries, breaking up any large clumps.
The Little Vegan Cookbook: 500 Best Vegan Recipes Ever, compiled by the Editors of Fair Winds Press (Fair Winds Press, £11.99), is out now.
eatdrinkyoga Healthy eating goodies
Nutribix Cereal Bars
Nutribix is a gluten, dairy, egg, soya and nut-free cereal made from wholegrain sorghum, the latest super grain. Containing fibre, proteins and vitamins, it’s the ideal breakfast product for health conscious shoppers or those with coeliac disease. Contains just 1g of sugar in every serving. Available from Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Ocado. £3.79 per pack (24 inside) nutribix.co.uk
The Heart of Nature Seeded Bread
Pure grain bread, packed with super seeds and grains including quinoa and chia in each loaf. It’s super healthy, incredibly delicious and can be eaten by everyone including vegans and those with wheat intolerance. It’s in Wholefoods and going down an absolute storm. £3.99 smakosztraditio.com
Nuva Spring Water
Flavoured water from the Loire Valley in France that’s free of sugar, preservatives and artificial sweeteners. Three flavours: Spring Water with a Kiss of Cucumber & Garden Mint; Spring Water with a Kiss of Ginger & Lemon; and Spring Water with a Kiss of Melon & Jasmine. Available from selected Waitrose, Boots and other stores. nuva.co.uk
The Foraging Fox Beetroot Ketchup
The Foraging Fox has added Smoked Beetroot Ketchup to its range of healthy beetroot ketchups. 100% natural, with no artificial flavours, colours or sweeteners, the beetroot ketchups are a tasty alternative to traditional sauces. Gluten free, allergen free and good for veggies and vegans. £3.49 foragingfox.com
Ombar Centres Coconut & Vanilla
A mouth-watering coconut and vanilla centre encased in a 60% raw chocolate shell made with coconut mylk and coconut sugar. All gently produced at low temperatures to preserve the natural goodness. £1.99 ombar.co.uk
om living Nutrition Zone:
Good enough to eat Does your make up pass the munch test? How to make cosmetics that are so pure you could consume them
e live in a world that has provided us with an incredible array of natural foods, herbs and flowers, which can be used in ways that are healing for both the body and spirit. Natural ingredients are absorbed easily by our bodies, which isn’t always the case with synthetically produced products. That’s not rocket science to most yogis who readily embrace the concept of natural and organic living, but it’s an idea being taken to the next level by two authors, Karin Berndl and Nici Hofer. In their new book, All Natural Beauty: Organic and Homemade Beauty Ingredients, the pair explore the world of herbs, fruits, seeds and natural oils to bring together a collection of homemade recipes that will nourish the skin - and even taste good too. The idea of being able to actually consume your cosmetics might sound strange but it makes perfect sense if the ingredients are as pure as the foods you put in your belly at dinnertime. Wake up with the early birds with an Energy-Boosting Coffee Body Scrub or indulge in the evening with a Chocolate Mousse Body Cream. Treat your locks to a Shiny Mane Rosemary Hair Rinse or bring back the glow in your face with a Nourishing
Chickpea and Turmeric Face Mask. Berndl, a photographer, and Hofer, an art director, have worked together on many high profile advertising campaigns for the likes of John Lewis, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason. While the goal is not to get people to actually eat their beauty products, it’s reassuring to know that there’s nothing in them that would cause you harm if ingested. “In modern society, we buy our food in supermarkets and our remedies in pharmacies. This disassociation seems entirely normal to us today, but is devastating in truth,” says Berndl in the book’s introduction. “Our plant world has bestowed on us an amazing array of natural foods, herbs and flowers, which can be used both internally and externally in ways that are healing for the body and spirit.” In the book, the pair use herbs, fruits, seeds and natural oils to nourish the skin and body with the same care as if you were preparing food for dinner - you can even taste the mixtures as you make or use them. “We don’t blame you,” says Hofer, “but try and only use the ones in the book to feed your skin externally!” All Natural Beauty: Organic and Homemade Beauty Ingredients by Karin Berndl and Nici Hofer (Hardie Grant, £12.99)
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Show oNgoiNg couRSESOM iN lYoga oNdoN Stand E16 StARt oct/Nov 2014
RYS200 & RYS500 FOUNDATION & ADVANCED VINYASA FLOW TEACHER TRAINING with ALESSANDRA PECORELLA. SYT
200hrs Nov to June 300hrs ongoing Elements of Classical and Modern Yoga, devotional and scientific approach all come together in this course to offer you a highly Elements of Classical and Modern Yoga, experiential, cutting edge program. devotional and scientific approach all come together thisIntegrate course to the offerfull you spectrum a highly Learn howin to experiential, cutting edge program. of ancient techniques of Yoga into our contemporary living. Learn how to Integrate the full spectrum
of ancient techniques of Yoga into our in Develop your own Teaching Style contemporary living. a stimulating environment as a way of Expressing your Creative Self. Develop your own Teaching Style in a
environment as a way ofstudy Enjoystimulating a fantastic Sangha (teaching Expressing your Creative Self.of fellow community), the support network Yogis and Mentors. For dates and fees please Enjoy a fantastic study checkSangha online(teaching at: community), the support network of fellow Yogis and Mentors. www.adityayogaschool.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org www.AdityAyogASchool.co.uk AlESSANdRA@AdityAyogASchool.co.uk
stillness in the home
How to create peace and stillness when there is none. By Siri Arti
ast year, I made a decision that affected my familyâ€™s quality of life. I chose to change the way we live, and choose alternative private education for my two children. To afford this choice, we moved into a small cottage where we were to share personal space. Not only did we change schools, we moved across the world to a strange and foreign continent. We have spent the last 10 months breathing the same air, sharing one bedroom, and attempting to be each otherâ€™s best friends, because we left all of ours behind. It has been a challenge, but we have learnt a lot about ourselves and what it means to be a family. We have simplified our needs, deepened our communication and really learned to share. We have also learned to laugh a lot, a powerful healing tool for sure. I have one noisy child, and one quiet one. Both of them play
plug-in guitars, sing constantly and have a record player that spins vinyl any chance it gets. There is nowhere to hide. I discovered that I could lose myself under the shower, pretending I was in a subtropical rain storm, but then we started having water restrictions due to severe drought and the game was over. I went to see a homeopath. He told me to find stillness. I laughed out loud and then tried to explain. There is nowhere to hide I said.
So, for the past month, I have been seeking stillness in the mayhem. At first I had no idea how to do this, but I was open to an opportunity to learn something â€“ that it was more about my mind than my physical space, that I can in fact choose stillness, in moments where there is none.
om family It was me who made the decision to downscale in order to pay for a better education, where my children’s individuality would be celebrated. Now it was time to find a way to celebrate this myself, in the craziness that has become our home, and the stillness that my mind is learning to master. Life as a conscious parent is never going to be quiet. We don’t lean on television, or hand out iPads to our children in public places. We don’t encourage six hours of Xbox play on Sunday mornings to guarantee a lie in. Instead, we want to hear what our children have to say. We choose to be involved in their perpetually changing days. So, when there is no water to take a long shower, and no spare room to offer solace from the madness, let us conscious parents learn to take a deep breath, sit in the middle of it all, and simply count our blessings. My personal explorations into these strange parental places allow me golden opportunities to find solutions. Here are a few tips on how to find stillness in your family home, no matter how big (or small) your house is: n The first step is to pause. Learn to catch yourself before you fall. In a Montessori classroom, I was taught to stand back and observe in order to learn. This advice has remained with me. Step back, observe and take a few deep breaths. Bring yourself into the present moment by focusing on the sound of your breath. You can also sit down wherever you are, or even lie on the floor. However you do it, just pause and breathe, pray for stillness and allow the release. n Always sit around a table for your evening meal. This is a wonderful time to gather, laugh, connect and share. Take a moment to pause here too. If it’s done right, this can be like a deep relaxation after a yoga class, where the family winds down to recalibrate after a busy day. This is where the magic happens, and it is the parents role to hold that space. n Don’t be too busy doing chores to join in the activities. Be mindful of how much you separate from your children. Where appropriate, pick up an instrument, a paintbrush, or another deck of cards and share the joy. This is called surrender. Try it and see how it brings a kind of stillness that can quickly replace feelings of despair. n Waking before your children is the most effective way to start the day. Optimally, you would roll out your yoga mat and indulge in a silent stretch session before the family day begins. But equally beneficial is to simply sit in silence, empty your mind and observe your breath. This can also be done sipping your favourite cup of tea in the quiet of the dawn, observing life and expressing silent thanks for all you have. n Remember, the stillness that you seek is inside each one of you. It takes a seeker to find it, and the discipline to maintain it. Explore just one of the above and you will come closer to calmness. And, as always, be sure to enjoy the journey. Siri Arti is the creator of Starchild Yoga Teacher Training. This is also known as a conscious parenting course as it offers volumes of wisdom to adults who spend time with children; every adult on the course becomes a better parent/carer. To explore the world of childhood and how we can improve our role within it or to view upcoming yoga teacher training courses and events visit: starchildyoga.org
Know thyself Sarah Tucker discusses the importance of self-esteem in our young, and how parents may unwittingly be to blame for the lack of it
o you know yourself? Do you know who you are? I teach yoga to children from nursery through to teenage level and one week last month when I was teaching in an infant and junior school
(ages 4-11) about the Manipura chakra, the core, where we nurture our sense of self, self-esteem, self-worth, self-identity, our instinct, I asked that question: “Do you know who you are?” Some of the children told me their name.
Many added their age, and where they lived. Some told me what they enjoyed: “I am a footballer, and I’m good at it.” Others were more imaginative. “I am a unicorn. I am a rainbow. I am creative.” And “I am anything I want to be.” That came up a lot.
om family Why self-esteem is important
Having a sense of self is fundamental to wellbeing. When you know who you are, you become the quintessential free spirit, observing rather than judging the events and people around you. You have a sense of purpose and direction, you have a clear value set, and above all, you realise you are enough; you realise everything you need is within, and you live in the moment. You live to be, rather than to do. You also attract in your life people who have a strong sense of self, both in personal and professional relationships, and you quickly identify those who do not, those who project their emotional baggage onto you and try to get you to carry it for them. When you do not know who you are, you are the opposite. You are easily manipulated and attract people who are the same. You project onto others what you believe them to be, judging them, rather than observing who they are. You are insecure, afraid, and needy. You are transactional in your relationships and attract people who are also transactional. You love conditionally. To be blunt, you are not only problematic to be with, you are problematic to know. “Lack of self-esteem is also key to many anger management issues, as well as depression,” claims Edward de Bono, the acclaimed psychologist and inventor of lateral thinking. When you know who you are, you are open to hearing everything but having the confidence to choose and say no. You are not afraid. You rise above fear, you are not afraid to question and challenge, but you are always open to the new. You have a keen sense of what is valuable, because you know that you are. Just by being you. Just by drawing breath. That doesn’t mean life owes you something. It just means you enjoy and carpe diem (seize the day) it more. The same week I asked the question to the teenagers at a secondary school I also teach at, and the grown ups I teach in fitness clubs. The teenagers gave me two or more answers, and were openly conflicted by the question as though they wanted to say one thing but felt they should say another. Many of them did. They gave their name, their passion, and then either what they were going to do when they grew up, or what they were going to own when they grew up; almost as if the first answer wasn’t enough. The adults answered, without exception: “I don’t know.” Or, “I’m still searching.”
The great disconnect
Children do this innately, until they are taught not to. They live in the moment. But what do we do? We teach children what to think, but not how to think, and it is the how to think that enables us to filter out what we hear around us. We tell them who they are. We define them by comparing them and making them compete and judging them because we tell them this is the real world. We teach them to complain and catastrophise through our media. We teach them what to think, not how to think, as they do in China (all Chinese schools have ‘thinking classes’).
My direct experience with children and yoga goes one step further. I agree with Edward De Bono in that our education system does limit children into telling them what to think rather than how to think (in the UK anyway) and in doing so gives them a label or a grouping in which they feel – and note the use of the word ‘feel’ – totally alien. How can it be that as children we have such a defined sense of self, whether it be in the simplicity of our names, but have a stronger realisation that what you ‘are’ is a combination of what you aspire to be, your passion in life and just ‘being’? What happens between childhood and adulthood that dissolves this sense of self?
Blame the parents
According to my research when writing my novel The Playground Mafia, (Arrow Books) about highly competitive parents, who are financially functional but emotionally dysfunctional, children lack self-esteem because their parents lack self-esteem. An increasing focus on external things at the expense of inner wellness and wholeness, the need to repress feelings, conditional relationships and a primary, all encompassing emphasis on achieving and acquiring wealth, status, reputation are at the core of many a damaged family miasma within (usually) the female line for three or more generations. With this generation it has to stop. With children it happens in different ways at different times. In my own case, it was an accumulation of things, as with all children. It happened when I was five, nine and 11, and my experience is very common. As parents become more desperate for their children to achieve – for whatever reason, either enjoying the success by proxy or to be competitive with their peers - the results are devastating and long lasting.
First hand experience
I have first hand experience. When I was five, my mother was in a constantly distracted state (she was having an affair), making me believe I was not enough to hold attention or approval and I had to in some way perform to get any form of attention from my mother. At nine, I learnt relationships were difficult, up and down, volatile, absent and my mother wholesale dumped this impression of relationships onto me. At 11, having absorbed many expressions of conditional love, this is the point at which all self-esteem about who I was became entirely about what I could achieve, pleasing high achieving, high status individuals and
om family giving them power to appraise me - and taking on the insistent imperative to create pleasing externals in my life, at the expense of a happy, fulfilled interior life. I have until recently always attracted conditional and transactional relationships because that is what I was brought up to believe made me of value. It wasn’t enough to simply be, I had to achieve to be of value. And society, the media, the education system, echoes the same doctrine. I see the same pattern being repeated in many families, which look on the surface functional, but scratch the surface and the same pressures to achieve on the children will deliver the same results. These children will grow up to know not who they are.
So, what is the solution?
The focus on parenting has always been on highlighting the two extremes: either focusing on the negative – the either emotionally and/or physically absent parent or the selfobsessed parent - or focusing on perfect parenting, which is impossible. There is no such thing as perfect parenting. 1. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN COURAGE RATHER THAN SHOWING THEM FEAR Realise your children are listening to absolutely everything you say. Especially the stuff you don’t want them to hear. They are watching your body language, the way you breathe, and the way you move. Yes, that
closely. Become more self-aware and less self-absorbed. When you are self-aware, you become aware of your self and how your body reacts to people and events around you. When you are self-absorbed, you analyse the people and events around you and pre-judge them. Your children will watch you and do the same. 2. DON’T TEACH THEM TO VALUE EXTERNALS You lead by example with this. So, if you value your stuff, no matter what you say they will look at what you do and how you behave. If you give more time to your work and your car and your house than you do to your family and to your holidays they will value the externals whatever you say to them. Show, don’t tell. They will learn from that. 3. LOVE THEM UNCONDITIONALLY Don’t love them more if they do well at school or less if they don’t. Encourage them, nurture them, praise them for being them and their true selves will shine. See what they are good at from an early age. Good at adding up. Good at balancing, Good at writing things down. Good at running. Good at making Lego. Watch them like they watch you. Each child has a talent or many talents but as parents observe what they are good at. Observe them don’t judge them. They do not judge you. They love you.
4. GIVE THEM BARRIERS WHICH ALLOW THEM TO BE THEMSELVES Show them how to think not what to think. Find out about the thinking classes that are available in China (the kids love them there) and suggest it to the head teachers. It teaches the children lateral thinking and integrates the thinking process into listening to and working with the instinct more closely than just telling the children what to think. It strengthens the child’s ability to observe rather than judge and opens them up to learning and distilling, rather than limits and intimidates them into making the correct or incorrect answer and not asking questions. 5. DO NOT DUMP YOUR EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE It is yours to deal with. It is your lack of self-esteem and your lack of self-worth and your lack of self-identity. Do not dump your issues on them. They are yours. Do not blame. You deal with them and begin to value yourself. When you value yourself, this is the best way to nurture your children to value themselves. As more women are having children at a later age, they hit menopause as their children hit puberty and both enter a stage of transition and questioning. Rather than this being a tsunami, make it perfect synchronicity. Use it as an opportunity to understand and connect with your children, knowing they are challenging what they have been
om family told, just as you are questioning what you have believed is your worth. Do not make the same mistakes your parents made with you. You will know if you were loved conditionally. You were only given hugs if you did well. You were given time and eye contact only when they wanted to give it, not when you needed it. 6. THROW AWAY YOUR EGO In yoga, as well as in many philosophies, we are told the ego is a very small part of who you are. However we give the intellect so much kudos and respect in our culture. In fact, the Western world gives externals and intellect incredible kudos. In Eastern culture, wisdom, enlightenment and the inner self is given more reverence. The ego feeds off fear and greed. Most balancing postures in yoga focus on ‘rising above the ego’ and yet ironically of all the places I’ve worked in (including TV and the City) there is as much ego in the yoga world as there is in other industries better known for their hedonism. With regard to children and ego, here is an example of parents who have too much ego and lack self-esteem. I work with a police liaison officer and he told me a tale of two meetings. In both meetings, boys had to be disciplined for bad behaviour. They were in two separate schools and the parents showed a lack of self-esteem in front of their sons. At one meeting in a school, where a teenage boy had been behaving badly, the parents came in and the father was very dismissive of what the head teacher told him, saying that it was unimportant; that if there were criminal charges he would easily be able to afford the best barrister. He said this in front of his son. In the other meeting, the boy showed up but the parents did not. Both sets of parents lacked self-worth and the message to their sons was in different ways telling them that their behaviour didn’t matter. That in the first case, their behaviour wasn’t worth getting a reprimand for, and in the second, wasn’t worth turning up for. 7. TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR OWN CHILDHOOD Your lack of self-esteem will stem from your own parenting. Your parents, if still alive, will not be able to tell you the truth or apologise for the way they treated you, and they will probably dwell on the blame game of events around them, which is understandable. By observing how you grew up and lessons you learnt through your own childhood, you will see now what you did not see then as a child. In schools in certain areas there is now something called ‘Early Intervention’,
“We teach children fear instead of showing them courage. That is the key to self-esteem. Teach them they are enough and everything they need is within them.” getting to the kids early enough to stop them ‘turning bad’. In my opinion, the early intervention does not start early enough. It is not the lack of self-esteem of the parents, but the parents’ parents, and that generation before. Three generations back, when fear of what war could do led to people reevaluating their selves. That they had to belong and have belongings. Ask a child what they most fear and they will tell you not being able to be with their friends, and bullying and the dark. Fear of the unknown. They will copy the courage of their parents if their parents show it. There is nothing to fear in life. Nothing. Only fear itself. We teach children fear instead of showing them courage. That is the key to self-esteem. Teach them they are enough and everything they need is within them. Tell them to trust their instinct and to challenge hierarchy. There is nothing like the tyranny of reputation to show you how self-identity is quickly whittled away. All this will help them, talking in yogic terms, to enrich the yoke, not thicken the shell. Sarah Tucker’s books, The Book Of Brilliant Balances, The Book of Terrific Twists, and The Book of Super Stretches (New Generation Publishing) are available on amazon and all good book shops. £6.99 each
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Tick the bucket Make those dreams come true before you kick the bucket. Meet two young entrepreneurs who are bringing people together to make it all happen
ucket lists are a big deal these days, both for those of a certain age and among the younger crowd. It’s a great way to focus on your dreams and drive you on to realising them, whatever your aspirations might be. There are even popular apps available now where you can compile your wish list on your smartphone, whether that’s swimming with dolphins or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Now, two young entrepreneurs are taking it one step further, by bringing people together to turn their dreams into reality. Ben Swanson and Oska Zapete-Keene set up TickTheBucket to do just that, hosting events to help motivate people into achieving their bucket lists. And guess what? Becoming a yoga instructor was named as one of the top 10 items on peoples’ wish lists during their first ever event held in London earlier in the summer. The pair first met at LeeFest, a music festival in Bromley, back in 2014, in the midst of making their travel plans, where they both started talking about business ideas. “I was travelling around music festivals in Europe and Ben was about to embark on a round-the-world trip starting from London, heading east, then back through Iceland and then across to America,” says Zapete-Keene. His own entrepreneurial venture at the time was starting a live music collective called FAUST, while Swanson’s was a nutritional bar called Tasty-Vite. Suffice to say, neither developed as they’d hoped. It was actually in the midst of their travels that the TickTheBucket idea really started to take shape. LeeFest was actually Swanson’s first taste of life on the road. Prior
Ben Swanson and Oska Zapete-Keene
to this, he had quit a job in organising international pharmaceutical conferences and had found a sudden impetus to leave it all behind and take to the road. Calling excitedly from a party in Philadelphia in the United States, he urged his future business partner to meet him in London the following week to talk plans, shouting ‘bucket list’ down the phone. The rationale behind the idea was simple, says Zapete-Keene. “What if we could give people that same spark of inspiration that drove Ben to quit his job and travel round the world? What if we could create an engine that turns people’s lists of hopes and dreams into reality? It sounded a little cringey when we said it out loud, but it also made sense.” The pair focused on bringing people together for sheer happiness and to make bucket list dreams come true. At that moment TickTheBucket was born. “TickTheBucket was created to combat the ever-growing list of lost hopes and dreams we all accumulate over our lives,” says Swanson. “We bring people together to enable them to collaborate, inspire, inform and motivate each other into ticking items off each other’s bucket lists.” Since its formation, the boys have arranged meet-ups with world record breakers, ultra marathon runners and lots of other remarkable characters introducing many of them to their events. There are plans to go for their own world record attempt soon, putting 3,000 people together on space hoppers. “We’ve already brought to reality the aspirations of a budding stand-up comedian, started the journey of a cocktail mixologist, got people speaking Spanish and set someone off on their first marathon…it won’t be long until we start sending people to the moon!” One of the objectives is to create a community of likeminded people who want to inspire each other and drive each other on – to write that first novel, learn Japanese, or jet off to Bali to become a yoga teacher. “The reality is there are a lot of people out there who feel the same way as us, especially so in a big city like London. People can often feel trapped in their work or their lives and start to believe that they can’t make these things happen. We’re here to tell them that they can do it, it’s all possible – it’s time to tick that bucket list starting from now.” Find out more at: tickthebucket.org
Teacher zone A deeper understanding of yoga... for teachers, by teachers
Yoga standards Paul Fox highlights proposals by Skills Active, the sector skills council for active leisure, learning and wellbeing, to develop National Occupational Standards for Yoga
he announcement that National Occupational Standards for Yoga are being developed and due to be rolled out in the second half of next year has caused a ripple of concern and head scratching in the UK yoga community. Why is this being done? And by whom? The sector skills council for active leisure, learning and wellbeing – Skills Active – began the initiative in June. Skills Active has no expert knowledge of yoga, but it knows a great deal about drawing up National Occupational Standards, or NOS. They provide a baseline and a benchmark on which minimum standards of training can be based. We believe it would be a good thing for there to be an agreed national minimum standard for yoga teaching in order to reassure the public and to help them choose well-trained yoga teachers, from whichever school they may have qualified with. However, the contents of the NOS will not be up to any one organisation. Every yoga school, group and enthusiast in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is being invited to participate in the standards process. The reason why experts believe that NOS will work for yoga is that most Hatha classes in this country involve some or all of the following elements:
Basic breathing or pranayama The mobilisation of key joints and activation of major muscle groups Specific preparation for “peak” posture or sequence Counter-pose and winding down Inversion Relaxation (and perhaps also meditation). In order to teach these elements of a Hatha yoga class, we all might expect a teacher to have:
HAVE YOUR SAY
The British Wheel of Yoga encourages all yoga teachers, groups, schools and other relevant agencies and organisations to have their input during this important time. To have your say, visit the Skills Active website: skillsactive.com
n Knowledge and understanding of how the body works so that postures can be modified for the less able and for a range of common conditions, such as arthritis, high blood pressure or lower back pain. n Knowledge and understanding of a good range of asanas and their benefits and effects on the body. Postures to include: forward bends, back-bends, side bends, twists, balances and inversions. n Knowledge and understanding of relaxation, its effects on the mind and nervous system, and relaxation techniques to use in class. n Knowledge and understanding of pranayama techniques, simple hasta mudras, bandhas and practices for concentration/meditation n Knowledge and understanding of the theory and philosophy underlying yoga, such as Patanjali’s sutras and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika If yoga teachers were trained in these areas (as many already are) it wouldn’t mean that all yoga classes would be the same. There is still infinite scope for breadth and variety of tradition.
Rosalie e’Silva offers some insight and tips on how to create a great yoga class every time
o you know that euphoric feeling you get at the end of a great yoga class? Empowered, you float out of the studio, ready to take on the world. It’s an amazing state of being and one of the true gifts of yoga. But have you wondered what elevated that particular class to this high vibrational, super state of awesome-ness? As a yoga teacher, wouldn’t you love to inject every class with that special, magic ingredient? I’ve come to realise that it’s a combination of a few things that elevates a class from ‘good’ to ‘great’. These are my personal tried and tested favourites for creating a truly exceptional class.
brings everyone together. Laughter completely changes the energy of the room – so seize any opportunity to laugh, whether it’s at yourself or at something someone says! I’ve found approaching everything in this light-hearted and easygoing way also produces some really surprising results. When everyone knows they’re not striving for perfection, they’re willing to try things they might not otherwise attempt. They stop focusing on achieving a certain result and just have a play. Chances are they’ll surprise themselves and sometimes even fall into a state of flow. An incredible state where things just unfold effortlessly and time ceases to exist.
1. Invite a sense of lightness and fun
2. Make it challenging, but achievable
Every student that walks into your class arrives with his or her own luggage. They’ve been carrying around a suitcase full of worries and storylines - whether it’s about work, a relationship, health, or something else. I encourage my students to leave their luggage at the door and have a bit of fun. That means not taking anything too seriously. To flow, sweat, move with the breath, and maybe make some shapes they haven’t made before. But to keep it light, to approach everything they do with a sense of play and curiosity. By doing this, you’re creating a mood that inspires laughter and
As a teacher, I love taking students to their edges, helping them do things they once thought was impossible. Coming into the full expression of a pose for the first time is an amazing feeling - and helping a student get there is incredibly rewarding. But it’s important to make sure you’re teaching at the right level for the students in your class (and giving lots of options). Challenge your students, show them ways to push themselves further, but make sure what you’re inviting them to do is within their reach. This will help make sure your students leave your class feeling accomplished by what they can do, rather than deflated by what they can’t do.
Teacher zone 3. Be relaxed and present when teaching
I still remember teaching my first big class. I was nervous and kept ‘rehearsing’ my sequence in my head. I felt that I had to stick to it precisely or everything would fall apart! I was holding on tight, gripping to my ‘script’ and everything I was going to say and do. But with every class I’ve taught since, that grip has loosened more and more. I’ve discovered that the secret is to breathe, to relax, and to feel completely present. Try to clear your mind and meditate for at least a few minutes before your class starts. I also have a little ritual I do before a class, which includes connecting to a higher source. Remember all you have to do to get some help ‘from above’ is to ask for it! All these things help you to teach in the moment. They help you tune into and feel the energy of the room and adapt your class accordingly. I know it’s easier said than done, but try it…. relax. Let go of the gripping. Let go of the fear. Let things flow. Be yourself. Breathe. Be fully present. And just enjoy sharing your love of yoga.
4. Connect with each and every student
Everyone who walks into your class has made an effort to get there – perhaps they’ve had to sort out childcare, rush after work or make another sort of arrangement to devote those 60-90 minutes to be in your class. Make them feel welcomed as soon as they walk into the room – either by having a little chat, visually acknowledging them with a smile, or simply by placing your hand on their shoulder. This is even more important if someone is new to your class. Acknowledge the effort they have made to be there and the contribution they are making to the collective energy of the group. Continue this throughout the class – walk around and connect with your students either through eye contact, a subtle touch or by calling out someone’s name. We all know how motivating it is to be singled out and acknowledged for doing something well (or at least for trying!). Make every student feel special.
5. End on a high note
I have a ritual that I do at the end of every class – it brings us to the end of a journey that we’ve all taken together. It’s something that just evolved very naturally and all my regular students know it well.
“As a yoga teacher, wouldn’t you love to inject every class with that special, magic ingredient?” If you don’t already have a ritual, think about ways of closing your class on a high note. Here are just a few ideas: n W ith their hands placed over their heart space, ask everyone to think about all the things they’re grateful for and just bask in the feeling of gratitude for a few moments. n A sk your students to let go of all the stuff that no longer serves them and leave it behind on their yoga mats. n I nstruct your students to fill themselves up with all the goodness of their practice and offer it up to someone they love. However you choose to close your class, make sure it brings the whole group back together as one. And then send everyone on their way feeling lighter and happier than when they first walked in.
Rosalie e’Silva is a Strala guide and also leads Vinyasa Flow and Yoga Nidra classes on the Channel Island of Jersey (RosalieYoga.com) Photos: Tiffany Lang (tiffanynikitalang.com) Location: Ayush Wellness Spa (ayushspa.com)
Teacher zone Teacher’s Tales:
What kind of yoga is THAT ?
What’s in a name anyway? This is MY kind of yoga. By Paula Hines
get asked this question regularly at the end of asana classes I teach by people who have either not been to my class before or have been a couple of times or so and it’s the first time they have approached me after class. I was recently asked this question by a lady from the United States who was visiting London and wanted to know what style of yoga I had just taught so that she could seek out a similar class when she got home. The class in question is described as ‘Yoga Flow’ on the studio’s timetable. Though, as we know, what a yoga flow entails depends entirely on the teacher. Anyhow, my response was something along the lines of, “It’s a mix of styles,” explaining that I have practiced and studied a range of yoga styles over the years. I could see that my lack of a definitive response was probably not so helpful. I don’t have a definitive response because I don’t teach a particular ‘style’ as such. I did not come through one particular lineage such as Ashtanga or Iyengar (though I have some experience of both as a student). In truth, my real answer would be quite lengthy. My teaching
‘style’, for want of a better expression, really is influenced by my past 15 years of practice (not just asana), combined with study and training and being in a body that has experienced injury and chronic stress and has short arms and has been a range of sizes…I could go on. But I am aware this is not what the questioner wants. Hence the, “it’s a mix of styles” answer. Or I may add that it’s ‘Hatha flow’, with the caveat that it’s a good idea to try different teachers in order to find the ones they feel most comfortable with. Similarly, when I meet someone new and they discover that I teach yoga, “What kind of yoga?’ tends to be the next sentence in the conversation. I understand. There is a desire to label. In a way, labelling can make it easier for us to differentiate one thing from the other. Yet, I don’t have a clear label for how I teach. It’s just…how I teach, influenced by my experiences so far, continuously shifting and evolving. It’s that kind of yoga. Paula Hines is a London-based yoga teacher and writer (ucanyoga.co.uk)
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Yoga is for every body Your pictures. Your community Claire and Yvonne outside Vatican City
Emma Conally-Barklem and pals in Crete
Crab on the beach! Kathryn Fitzpatrick
Two of us: Annika and friend
Beach life: missmollyam
Julia Coombes at the summit of Mt Toubkal
Jess Hawker Meadley in Loweswater in the Lake District
om actions Natasha Palmer and Noah, 3
Tree pose: Nicola, bluebells and...trees!
Sari Grandstaff in Cold Spring, New York, USA
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Send us happy shots, fun pics, great asana (or bad asana!), big smiley faces, anything at all â€“ and see them in OM Magazine. It doesnâ€™t have to be you doing a yoga pose either. We want to see your yoga life: a pre-class group hug, a cup of tea after class, what you got up to at the weekend, send them all via email to: email@example.com
Awe-inspiring retreats and ideas for yoga explorers
Aloha yoga Happiness is…yoga in Hawaii For those of you looking for a quick getaway to remember this month (and with some cash in the bank for the airfare) head for Hawaii. The fourth annual Hawaii Yoga Festival takes place from October 11-16, a non-profit showcase for yogis of all skill levels. The Kalani retreat centre (kalani.com) will host the 2016 event on its 120-acre yoga campus set in the lush jungle of east Hawaii. Naturally, the show opens with a Hawaiian hula dance. After that, enjoy a roster of diverse classes and lectures throughout the week with some of the island’s top teachers, plus excursions and the chance to volunteer on a local service project. “Many individuals come to our centre in search of balance and for a break from the hectic pace of life,” says Joel Tan, Kalani’s executive director. “This year’s Hawaii Yoga Festival is dedicated to that intention; finding balance between work and play, effort and release, connection and solitude. We hope our guests will leave feeling restored, and take away new strategies for creating balance at home.” For festival details visit: HawaiiYogaFestival.com
om travel Cornish coaster Head to Cornwall for a refreshing November yoga break Cornwall is a great place to go anytime and for any reason. However, when you’re setting off for a weekend yoga break by the sea then you know you’re in for a truly amazing time. Next month, the Carbis Bay Hotel, Spa & Estate, St Ives, will be hosting a weekend yoga retreat where you’ll get to stretch out on the mat and then be blissed out in the gorgeous C Bay Spa. Enjoy four great yoga sessions and then soak up the seaside ambience on the private sandy beach. FACT FILE Two nights stay, bed and full Cornish breakfast. Four Hatha yoga sessions. One dinner at award-winning Rosetted restaurant. Unlimited use of spa facilities, plus one 45-minute treatment included. November 25-27, 2016. £399 per person. Visit: carbisbayhotel.co.uk
Photos: Will Purcell
Let’s get this party started Get your morning off to a flying start with a Daybreaker disco It sounds like the stuff of a big Saturday night out but the Daybreaker – a boat cruise along the Thames featuring dancing, live music, yoga, complimentary massages and breakfast treats – all takes place before 9am! It’s the perfect way to get your day going before you head off to work. And there’s no booze in sight so you’ll make it to the office refreshed, relaxed and sober. For future dates and events check out: daybreaker.com
MIRACLES & CRAZY WISDOM Anne Jablonski recounts the unlikely convergence of seekers, yogis, healers, and artists at a Montana ranch over 40 years ago that would lead to the creation of the Feathered Pipe, one of America’s great retreat getaways
ife happened to India Supera when she was busy – as Allen Saunders wrote and John Lennon later sang – making other plans. On every cultural and political front, 1965 was a turbulent and memorable year in America. Bob Dylan ‘went electric’ and was booed off the stage at the Newport Folk Festival. Martin Luther King led thousands of marchers from Selma to Montgomery. US bombings ramped up in North Vietnam, Sandy Koufax took the LA Dodgers over the Minnesota Twins in the World Series and President Lyndon Johnson unveiled his agenda for A Great Society. Meanwhile, a deep craving for answers sent a young and unhappy southern Californian seeker named India Supera in 1965 on a world journey in search of a spiritual teacher. She fell gravely ill with hepatitis in Pakistan, came close to death, and recovered enough to
continue travelling on foot for another year and a half around India, hoping to find a guru to give her life direction. But she could not find her teacher. Her hopes dashed and spirit weak, the discouraged young woman made plans to abandon her quest for a guru. She came within a hair’s breadth of returning to the US and, in her words, “settling into oblivion at a job with the phone company.”
Fate, Supera recalls, had other ideas. She continued her trek and walked to southern India. There she met a 44-year-old Indian holy man named Sathya Sai Baba, who invited her and her sister to stay at his Bangalore home. “He turned out to be the perfect teacher for me,” she recalls. She remained with Sai Baba for over two years, working in one of his hospitals. Confident that she’d found her new home, Supera began to settle into the quiet life of a penniless devotee at his ashram. Soon, however, agonising dental pain sent her back to the US for medical care. Divine providence and an invitation from fellow Sai Baba devotee and friend Jermaine Duncan intervened, leading Supera to an unexpected setting – a 110-acre ranch outside of Helena, Montana that Duncan had recently purchased from the industrialist Rheem family. Duncan had dreams of starting a conscious living and healing centre at ‘the old Rheem Ranch’ – renamed the Feathered Pipe Ranch. A few months later, her medical issues resolved, Supera set sights on returning to her teacher’s Indian ashram. Fate, again, had other plans. Duncan’s terminal cancer diagnosis led her to stay on to nurse her friend through her illness, just as the Feathered Pipe Ranch began its steady morph into an unlikely spiritual salon in the heart of the American west.
om travel Just before her death, Duncan summoned Supera to her side and told her that she was leaving the Ranch to her. Supera protested. Duncan insisted.
Birth of a retreat centre
Following Duncan’s death, Supera was torn. “I didn’t know what to do. I thought I should just sell the place,” she recalled. “I was stuck with this white elephant. I never even had a chequebook or any money, and here I was with this place which, at the time, cost about $20,000 a year to maintain,” said Supera. She slapped a fire-sale price tag on the property and waited for offers that never came. She shared her plans with Sai Baba to sell the ranch, donate the money, and return to India as his follower. The holy man, however, had other ideas. “There are already too many followers in the world,” Sai Baba told Supera. He urged the devotee to keep the ranch and create an educational centre to train spiritual leaders. Months later, during a sweat lodge ceremony, Supera and friends witnessed what she describes as a profound visionary experience, seeing that the property was meant to be an educational centre. The following day, a wealthy tycoon “driving a black Lincoln with a bar in the back seat” offered $500,000 in cash to take the white elephant off her back. “If you don’t think your visions are tested, you should be standing there when someone opens up a briefcase and offers you a half a million dollars.” Supera declined the offer and set about creating a retreat centre with zero operating capital and a whole lot of help from her friends.
She later recalled the string of unlikely miracles that enabled the ranch to blossom into one of North America’s first centres for conscious living. Supera and friends began cobbling together a loose administrative infrastructure. Soon, the talent to host yoga workshops - a new idea for its time - gravitated to Montana. “In those days,” recalled yoga teaching legend Judith Hanson Lasater, “Montana was a lot more ‘exotic.’ And a ‘yoga workshop’ was just plain weird.” Supera adds: “Fortunately, there are such things as miracles, crazy wisdom, and the greatness that comes from not realising you are trying to do the impossible.” She and friends hosted the ranch’s inaugural, three-week yoga workshop in 1975, with Lasater teaching. “Everyone involved simply pitched in with whatever skill they had,” says Supera. Forty-one years later, Feathered Pipe’s status as a flagship for North American householder yoga is the stuff of legend. Many of today’s foremost voices on yoga, meditation, art, wellness and health have passed through the ranch’s gates. Joseph Campbell, Dr Andrew Weil, Lilias Folan, Dr Bernard Jensen, Angela Farmer, Rodney Yee, Patricia Walden, Erich Schiffmann, Seane Corn, John Schumacher and world-renowned Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai - to name a handful - are all Feathered Pipe alumni.
know, exactly, but students who make annual summer pilgrimages to Montana describe an enigmatic alchemy that magnetically draws them to return each year. “‘The Pipe’ is more than just a special place. It is a magical place,” explains Lasater. “But most importantly, the magic of the Pipe is that it simply changes lives.” Others point to how the Big Sky setting and mountain vistas nudge their senses back to life again. Some credit the tender reverence for the Native American spirit that the land’s stewards embrace as the root of its endurance. Supera says Feathered Pipe’s perseverance can only be explained by the ineffable “something higher” that O’Gallagher told her was at work at Feathered Pipe decades earlier. It continues, she says, “by the grace of God.” Find out more at: featheredpipe.com
Humanitarian and socially relevant work remains at the core of Feathered Pipe’s seva (service) mission and programmes. From incubating the Tibetan Children’s Education Foundation and the Veterans Yoga Project to hosting free healing retreats for military veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress, the foundation focuses its offerings on pressing issues of our time. Last year, the foundation launched The Mindful Unplug, a homegrown initiative applying thousands of years of yogic wisdom into workshops offering practical tools and techniques to stay healthy and grounded in our digitally saturated lives. The work continues.
The magic of the pipe
The name ‘Feathered Pipe’ was the brainchild of avant-garde artist Liam O’Gallagher and his life partner, Bob Rheem, son of the wealthy industrialist. The moniker pays homage to the Native American land on which the ranch sits. One legend holds that when a tribe sought Spirit’s guidance on what direction to take, a feathered pipe was hung from a tripod. The pipe pointed the way. How has Feathered Pipe sustained a retreat centre so far away from a population centre for over four decades? No one seems to
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soup Who knew that learning to make a good soup in the kitchen could yield wonders on the yoga mat? By Victoria Jackson
’ve always been intimidated by my friends who make their own soup. Doesn’t it take hours of simmering on the stove, not to mention the hassle of chopping all those veggies up so finely? How do you figure out what ingredients go well together? And what about variable cooking times of the veg? I was sure I’d end up with some gloopy overcooked mush in which some half-raw lumps floated. But after enough times of throwing away (yes, I know…!) those floppy veggies that were left over from the weekly veg box, I decided I needed to take action. To start, I followed a few recipes slavishly. And then I had a small culinary eureka moment – I knew how to make soup! I understood the fundamental recipe from which all other fancy or fashionable recipes were created. All I needed to do was soften an onion or something similar as the base, chop up whatever veg were lurking unloved in the bottom of the fridge, add stock, and finally throw in some rice or pasta if I wanted to make it more hearty. Yes, there was some fancy stuff with seasoning and a decision about whether to blend smooth or not, but they were just details to decide at whim. And so it is with the recipe of yoga. I’m going to push this analogy from the start and compare going to class with following a recipe in contrast to home practice where the real creative cooking comes in. I reckon for many of us home yoga practice is a bit like my initial fear about soup-making – it starts off as an intimidating jumble of poses, lacking structure and a rhythm, and something you’re sure you don’t really have time for. It’s something other more talented folk do, perhaps. Then my on the mat eureka moment came when I saw past the confusing multiplicity of possible yoga ingredients and realised that poses could easily be classified into groups and that each group had its place (give or take) in the practice. Just like the soup-making, once I’d grasped this I could figure it out more intuitively, experimenting with what combinations worked best for me, or what I had the taste for on any particular day. The base of the practice is warming up and surya namaskar variations, followed by a sprinkling of whatever ingredients I fancy on the day – standing postures, balances, backbends, inversions – finished with some twists and folds before garnishing with savasana. And on the really creative days I might season the practice with pranayama, mantra, and meditation. Soup and yoga – both nourishing and both easier to do at home than you might think!
Victoria Jackson will forever be a beginner yogini
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